An independent Florida? No way, people say


AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME?: Not everyone is behind the idea of the Sunshine State becoming the Sunshine Nation.

By Marianela Toledo | Florida Watchdog

MIAMI — After Florida Today newspaper opinion writer Matt Reed playfully posited the possibility that Florida should be an independent nation, we took to the streets to ask Floridians what they thought of the idea.

“No way, good Lord!” said Silvia Núñez, a Cuban immigrant who has lived in the United States for more than 50 years. “You’ve got to be joking.”

That pretty much sums up the opinion of several people we approached, though Gabriel Prado did admit Florida has its own brand of weirdness.

“Although it seems like we are in our own world down here in South Florida, I don’t think it would be a good idea.”

“What are we going to do? Make Nicaraguans, Hondurans and Cubans bosses here while leaving the Americans up there?” Manuel Martinez asked. “We are the foreigners here.”

Even Florida’s real natives wanted to stay out of the fray.

The Seminole Indian Tribe wouldn’t comment or even take a position on the question of Florida independence. The Miccosukee Indian tribe didn’t return our phone calls.

So where did all this talk of indepence come from? Let’s call it the “Scotland copycat effect.” Scotland, you may have heard, voted last week to stay a part of the United Kingdom instead of breaking off to form an indpendent nation.

And it’s not just in Florida where the copycats are popping up. Oh, no. Texas wants in on the act, too.

Daniel Miller, president of the Texas Nationalist Movement and a sixth generation Texan who has been involved in Texas independence advocacy since 1996, wrote in a CNBC commentary that “Texas independence sentiment has been steadily rising over the last decade.”

“This was highlighted in a recent Reuters poll. The question was asked, ‘Do you support or oppose the idea of your state peacefully withdrawing from the USA and the federal government?’ In Texas, the numbers were surprising to some. In a state where the majority of the electorate is comprised of Republicans and Independents, among those groups, 51 percent support the independence of Texas.”

Contrary to popular belief, Texas has no more right to secede than any other state. But its 1845 annexation agreement does permit its division into as many as five states without federal approval.

Florida Today’s Reed wrote that last year 30,000 Floridians signed a petition for independence, but nothing came of it.