The Atlantic magazine referred to Ted Cruz as the “most hated man in Washington,” but his shock win in the Iowa caucuses—gaining 28 percent of the vote to Donald Trump's 24 percent—suggests he's not so unpopular with the people.
Nor is Marco Rubio, another Republican of Latin American heritage, who gained a surprisingly high 23 percent with many now believing him to be the favorite.
However, despíte their backgrounds the conservative lawmakers have strong and hostile views toward Latin America.
Cruz is of Cuban descent and from a family that reportedly backed the Cuban Revolution—his father allegedly was a member of Fidel Castro's July 26 Movement—but Cruz, like many of his Republican contemporaries, opposes the Obama administration's effort at improving relations with Cuba.
More worrisome was Cruz's support for violent right-wing protests in Venezuela in 2014 that aimed to topple the government of President Nicolas Maduro.