The first person to hug Marco Rubio as he stepped away from the cameras at the Miami Freedom Tower, having announced his intention to run for president of the United States, was Big Sugar billionaire Julio Fanjul. Here is a photo taken from TV coverage of the event:
|"Florida used to be the state where everything that was not nailed down was for sale. Today it is a state where everything that is nailed down is also for sale."|
CNN once called The Fanjul family of Palm Beach and Coral Gables, "The First Family of Corporate Welfare". That serves the GOP and Democratic Parties just fine, because both parties are addicted to political contributions by Big Sugar.
Julio Fanjul covers the Republican side of the family politics. Alfie, his brother, covers the Democratic side. (Alfie has been a golfing partner and confidante of Bill Clinton for decades.)
To understand how cynical the Rubio/Fanjul marriage of convenience is, consider: Rubio has planted his flag against the Obama White House thawing of relations with Cuba. Who was one of the first billionaires to travel to Cuba? Julio's brother, Alfie. ("Cuba: Here comes Miami, ready or not!")
Rubio owes his political career to Big Sugar. He was an ambitious local Miami politician, with no credentials other than serving as Jeb Bush's chief lieutenant in the state legislature until then Gov. Charlie Crist made a deal with US Sugar to acquire its lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area. The Fanjuls -- the other half of the Big Sugar cartel -- poured money into Rubio's 2010 senate campaign, propelling him to the stage this week at the Freedom Tower.
Jeb Bush has already blessed Marco Rubio's participation in the GOP presidential primary. And why wouldn't he? As governor, Jeb was the driver of the 2003 change to state water quality law in Tallahassee. At the time, Big Sugar flooded the hallways of the state capitol with lobbyists. There were more lobbyists than state senators plying their program to undermine federal law, changing the Everglades Forever Act that intended to regulate Big Sugar's pollution of the dying River of Grass, to the "Everglades Whenever Act".
Everglades water quality protections -- and costly provisions to enforce them -- were delayed at least a decade while environmental plaintiffs and the Bush EPA sorted things out in federal court. (Big Sugar is still appealing in the 3rd District Court in Atlanta.) The point: the same Big Sugar money flowing to Marco Rubio will also find its way into Jeb Bush's primary campaign.
With Citizens United -- the horrid decision by the Bush Supreme Court -- there is no way to track exactly how much money flows to political candidates. Florida used to be the state where everything that was not nailed down was for sale. Today it is a state where everything that is nailed down is also for sale.
When it comes to Big Sugar and politics, there is no favorite son. It's just business, and if you are Big Sugar billionaire, presidential primaries are your personal ATM.