After Republicans increased their share of the Hispanic vote in 2020, Congressional Democrats are clamoring to use the force of government to prevent Latinos from hearing conservative ideas.
Multiple members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), including Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), the chair of its political arm, want the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to block the sale of a Miami Spanish-language radio station to a company they believe will move its programming from a left-wing to a right-wing slant.
America CV, a Spanish-language media company, announced that it was buying Caracol 1260 AM this month. Soon after, it said it would change the station’s name to America Radio and replaced Raul Martinez, a liberal talk show host and former government official, Newsweek reported.
Marcell Felipe, cofounder of the company, told The Daily Wire, “America Teve is being accused of being conservative because it is anti-Castro. We will not apologize for promoting democracy and opposing the Castro regime because we represent a community who are victims of that regime.”
Gallego lamented that Hispanics might vote Republican since those who preferred to consume media in the Spanish language did not watch CNN.
“For a lot of these communities this is the only source they watch, a lot of them aren’t crossing over and watching other media like CNN, so they end up being siloed in terms of the information they get. They only go to the trusted source so when that source gets corrupted, you essentially have a population getting one point of view,” he told Newsweek.
The two best-known sources of Spanish-language news, Univision and Telemundo, already provide a notoriously leftist viewpoint. Univision this month described moves towards Democrats’ scorched-earth plan to pack the supreme court as Joe Biden “keeping his campaign promise to unite a divided nation.”
Gallego asked the broader CHC to support his bid to ask the FCC to block the transfer. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) told Newsweek it would be “wise” for the FCC to look at the sale.
But Jorge Bonilla, director of MRC Latino, a watchdog group that focuses on Hispanic media, said the use of government powers to silence dissenting voices would likely backfire.
“What better way to reassure Hispanics in South Florida that Democrats are totally not like the regimes they fled than to summon the full power of the federal government against a privately-held opposition media outlet? Hugo Chávez would be proud,” he told The Daily Wire.
Rep. Darren Soto, a Florida Democrat, implied that Hispanics voted Republican because they had been tricked by Spanish-language media, telling Newsweek the sale “could further make South Florida vulnerable to the sophisticated Spanish-language misinformation campaigns perpetrated during the 2020 election. The ‘Big Lie’ about the 2020 elections, which was amplified on similar stations, has damaged this country severely already.”
“The FCC should scrutinize this sale,” he said.
Florida is a swing state with an electorate that is approximately 19% Hispanic. Cuban-Americans, many of whom saw the effects of far-left politics first-hand under the Fidel Castro regime, have long been a strong conservative presence.
Many voters from Latin American countries beyond Cuba increasingly appear to agree with conservative policies. NBC exit polls found that about half of Florida Hispanics who were not Cuban or Puerto Rican voted for Trump in 2020.
Those include Americans with heritage in Nicaragua, which was the site of the Sandanista revolution; Venezuela, whose economy has cratered under socialism; and Colombia, which is a conservative-leaning country that endured Marxist guerrillas for decades.
Miami-Dade County, which is 69% Hispanic, voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton by 30 points in 2016 but went for Democrat Joe Biden by a margin of only 7 points in 2020.
Martinez, the talk show host who was a reliable voice for progressive messages and who was fired, had a trail of allegations that might feel familiar to those fleeing corrupt countries.
As mayor of the city of Hialeah, a heavily Hispanic blue-collar municipality outside of Miami, in the 1980s and 1990s, Martinez’s campaign workers “recruited mentally incapacitated people to cast absentee ballots,” the Sun-Sentinel reported. He was convicted of racketeering and extortion in 1991, but the convictions were later overturned.
In 1999, television cameras captured Martinez “pummeling” a demonstrator who was advocating for Cuban exiles “with boxer-like blows to the body” as a police officer restrained the mayor, the Sun-Sentinel reported. Prosecutors dropped charges.
Though Hispanics are America’s largest minority group and come from countries with a wide variety of cultures and beliefs, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), a nominally nonpartisan group for lawmakers of that ethnic background, consists of only Democrats.
In 2017, the CHC refused to allow Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Miami-area lawmaker who was the son of Cuban exiles and “advocated on behalf of undocumented immigrant youth,” to join. Curbelo is a Republican.
The CHC said at the time that it “isn’t just an organization for Hispanics; it is a caucus that represents certain values. This vote reflects the position of many of our members that Rep. Curbelo and his record are not consistent with those values.”
Curbelo replied, “I will not allow their bigotry and discrimination and penchant for segregation to hurt the young people they claim they want to help and I certainly want to help.”
CHC spokesperson Alex Sarabia did not immediately return questions from The Daily Wire on its current criteria for membership, and how an all-Democrat Hispanic Caucus can faithfully represent Hispanic-Americans with diverse beliefs. She also did not reply to a question about whether the group will press the FCC to block the sale.
A mismatch between ethnic groups and the megaphones that purport to speak for them has increasingly been on display.
In California in 2020, prominent nonprofits ostensibly representing Hispanics backed Proposition 16, a ballot initiative that would legalize affirmative action, even as polling showed that most individual Hispanics did not support it. All of California’s majority-Hispanic counties ultimately voted against it at the ballot box, and the measure failed.
The same tension has been evidenced with Asians. A group called Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) aggressively promoted Proposition 16 even though Asians could be the primary losers of such a measure, with their admission to prestigious universities being sharply curtailed.
Polling showed that Asian voters helped defeat the proposition. An anti-Prop 16 activist, Wenyuan Wu, likened CAA to an astroturf group that “advances the ideological agenda of the groups behind the initiative.”