Nothing says "Third World country" like collapsing infrastructure. In the "Capital of Latin America
," a pedestrian bridge collapsed near Florida International University in Miami, killing several people.
The bridge gave way suddenly while the traffic light for motorists on Tamiami Trail was red and the concrete span flattened a row of at least eight stopped vehicles. Police on the scene said at least six people could be dead but the exact number of victims remained unconfirmed.Motorists scrambled out of their cars to help. At least one woman, Katrina Collazo, escaped from a half-crushed car, pulled out unscathed by rescuers.“Thank God ... my daughter is alive,” said her mother, Ada Collazo, in Spanish, after rushing to the scene. “I thought my granddaughter was in the car, but she wasn’t. She’s in school.”[FIU pedestrian bridge collapses days after installation; police say multiple deaths, cars trapped, by Andres Viglucci, Monique Madan, Douglas Hanks, and Daniel Chang, Miami Herald, March 15, 2018]
How could this have happened? Well, the firm which built the bridge is a construction company owned by a "prominent Cuban-American family" which has won a number of government contracts, despite being cited for shoddy workmanship in the past.
MCM has worked on major government contracts in South Florida, Texas and Panama, including the $128 million expansion of Terminal 4 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, PortMiami’s Terminal F, and the widening and reconstruction of State Road 821. Other projects include the bridges of the Isles of Las Olas and Miami Beach’s South Pointe Park. MCM was involved in construction litigation tied to the 19-acre park that resulted in a $478,100 judgment against the firm in 2015.Records show MCM was sued earlier this month in Miami-Dade Circuit Court for alleged shoddy construction of a makeshift bridge it built at the Fort Lauderdale airport. Jose Perez sued the general contractor after he fell when the bridge “broke under the weight of the plaintiff, causing him to slip forward, fall to the floor, striking his elbow,” according to the suit, which was filed March 5.[Here's what we know about MCM, the builder of the FIU bridge that collapsed, by Ina Cordle, Katherine Kallergis, and Amanda Rabines, The Real Deal, March 15, 2018]
How does such a company repeatedly obtain such great government contracts? Simple. As a press release boasting about doing construction work at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base makes clear, MCM is "certified as a minority-owned firm with the Southern Florida Minority Supplier Development Council." [Munilla Construction Management (MCM) wins $66M Contract to Build School at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Construction Dive,
July 27, 2016] Interestingly, when MCM landed this contract, board member Pedro Munilla rhapsodized about getting to work in "our homeland," by which he meant Cuba, not the United States.
Certified Minority-Owned businesses have considerable advantages in obtaining government contracts in many cases. President Trump is pushing for a new infrastructure plan. Hopefully, someone in the administration can connect the dots, and push for the elimination of affirmative action in government contracting. Spending billions of dollars to build new bridges and roads is worse than useless if the safety of Americans is subordinated to "diversity."