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Happy Saturday! Smart Brevity™ count: 936 words ... < 4 minutes.

🎬 Tomorrow on "Axios on HBO": Caitlin Owens visits Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla ... Jonathan Swan confronts Sen. Lindsey Graham about Republican climate denial (Watch a preview) ... Sen. Joe Manchin gives me his specific demands for the next big Biden package ... and Dan Primack presses Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple, one of the most valuable cryptocurrency companies.

  • Catch the season finale tomorrow at 6 p.m. ET/PT on all HBO platforms.
1 big thing: Why Cuban Americans politically outshine Mexican Americans
Data: Pew Research Center, Census Bureau. Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Mexican Americans make up the nation's largest Latino group but are politically outshined by Cuban Americans — who are newer arrivals, and far fewer, Axios race and justice reporter Russell Contreras writes.

  • Why it matters: Disparities in political power between Mexican Americans and Cuban Americans reflect racial, historical, geographical and economic differences within Latino cultures.

For the first time in U.S. history, the Senate includes three Mexican Americans — Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), and Alex Padilla, (D-Calif.) — as the Mexican American population overall nears 37 million people.

  • Cuban Americans, who number just 2 million, are also represented by three Cuban American senators: Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).

The majority of Mexican Americans live either in deep-blue California or reliably red Texas. Neither state attracts many presidential candidates campaigning for the general election.

  • The political core of Cuban Americans is swing-state Florida, making them more attractive to presidential candidates, who often visit and play to the anti-communist passions of Cubans and Venezuelans.
  • Cubans, many from elite, wealthy families, started arriving in the 1960s after Fidel Castro overthrew dictator Fulgencio Batista.

The bottom line: Mexican Americans' concentration in non-swing states, and weak political fundraising, put them at a disadvantage to gain political power that reflects their numbers, said Las Vegas-based Mexican American political consultant Eli Magaña.

2. Vaccine passports have long journey

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccine passports could become available soon to help people resume their lives but they face numerous scientific, ethical and operational barriers to being accepted, Bryan Walsh writes in Axios Future.

  • Why it matters: Reliable accessible proof you've had a COVID vaccine -induced protection (on an app or via CLEAR) could speed international travel and reopening of stadiums and casinos.

But here are the hurdles:

  • Scientific: Until we know vaccination prevents transmission, there's a limit to how useful any vaccine passport can be for public health — especially if emerging variants render some vaccines less protective.
  • Ethical: A vax-passport system for international travel risks locking out billions of people who are unable or unwilling to get jabbed. The EU has discussed a vaccine passport, with tourism-dependent Greece leading the charge. But Germany and France — where vaccine rollout has been low and hesitancy high — have reservations.
  • Operational: Passports for international travel have decades of history behind them. But there's no such unified system for vaccine passports, which are being introduced by governments and businesses with different standards, making them a target for fraud.

The bottom line: None of these obstacles are insurmountable on their own. But as we saw with the failures of digital contact tracing, just because a technological solution exists doesn't mean it'll catch on.

🔮 Sign up here for Bryan Walsh's twice weekly Axios Future.

3. Pope appeals for interfaith peace
Photo: Vatican Media via AP

In this image for the ages, Pope Francis, 84, meets today with Iraq's leading Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, 90, in Najaf, Iraq.

Below, the papal motorcade (His Holiness in black car) arrives near the archaeological area of the Sumerian city-state Ur — revered as the birthplace of Abraham, the prophet common to Muslims, Christians and Jews.

Photo: Andrew Medichini/AP

📷 See more photos from the Pope's Iraq trip.

4. Pictures of America: NYC cinemas reopen

Photo: Mary Altaffer/AP

Movie theaters in New York City reopened after almost a year, returning film titles to Manhattan marquees that had for the last 12 months carried messages like "Wear a mask" and "We'll be back soon," AP reports.

  • The IFC Center in Greenwich Village is hosting a four-week "What'd We Miss?" series of movies the theater couldn't play over the last 12 months, including "First Cow" and "MLK/FBI."
  • Less than half of theaters are open nationwide. L.A. theaters remain closed, but some Southern California cinemas are expected to reopen over the next few weeks.

In New York, cinemas are operating at only 25% capacity, with a maximum of 50 per auditorium. Mask wearing is mandatory, seats are blocked out and air filters have been upgraded.

A patron looks at his smartphone during previews at IFC Center in New York yesterday. Photo: Mary Altaffer/AP

🎥 Coming attractions: Universal Pictures pushed the "Fast & Furious" sequel "F9" from late May to late June. Sony will release "Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway" in May. Paramount's "A Quiet Place II" moved to the May 28 date vacated by "F9." Disney's "Black Widow" remains slated for May 7.

5. New climate books increase 22x in a decade

Climate-themed books at a Barnes & Noble in Brooklyn. Photo: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

"Trees in Trouble" and "How We’re F—ing Up Our Planet" scream out from Barnes & Noble's nature and wildlife section, between reassuring tomes on hummingbirds and wildflowers, Reuters' Ned Parker writes.

  • As the warming world faces raging forest fires, rising seas and increasingly erratic weather, the annual number of new U.S. climate titles grew from 19 in 2010 to 434 in 2020, according to NPD Group.
  • Teen activist Greta Thunberg and Hollywood star Jane Fonda offer tips for pressuring the powerful into action. Journalists Rachel Maddow and Nathaniel Rich grapple with explaining how humanity orchestrated this trouble in the first place.

Climate change "trickled down to very concrete life decisions," said Simon & Schuster's Priscilla Painton, who commissioned David Pogue's "How to Prepare for Climate Change: A Practical Guide."

6. 📺 That's the way it was ... 40 years ago tonight
Walter Cronkite at the anchor desk on his last day. Photo: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

The late Walter Cronkite's last broadcast as anchor of the "CBS Evening News" was 40 years ago tonight, Michael Beschloss reminds us.

  • Cronkite's final sign-off, at age 64: "This is but a transition — a passing of the baton. ... And that's the way it is — Friday, March 6, 1981. I'll be away on assignment and Dan Rather will be sitting in here for the next few years. Good night." YouTube.

Below: On his last day, Cronkite times a segment with a stopwatch.

Photo: CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

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