Castro Rodríguez, The Radio Mambí sale in Miami

So the “freedom fighters” aren’t for THAT MUCH liberty, like freedom of the press in Miami. A mostly Democratic group of investors, with some Republicans too, wants to buy a far-right Spanish-language radio station that Univsion is selling in Miami. The Trumpsters are livid.

Radio Mambí is a leader in disinformation targeted at Miami’s Latino communities

by Manuel Castro-Rodríguez

TelevisaUnivision is selling 18 Spanish-language radio stations in 10 cities — including Miami’s ultraconservative Radio Mambí. A long string of Latinos are investors in the purchase — which still requires Federal Communications Commission approval — including Cuban American Al Cárdenas, who is a former Republican Party chair in Florida and a critic of former President Donald Trump.

But Miami’s GOP Members of Congress — María Elvira Salazar, Carlos Giménez, Mario Díaz-Balart, and Marco Rubio — and Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Núñez oppose this business transaction because they want to continue with disinformation culture in Spanish-language radio in South Florida, which reminds me of Castro’s Cuba.

Although disinformation, which is “false information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumors) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth,” has spread to Latino communities across the USA, South Florida in particular is a hotbed for false information. Radio Mambí and Actualidad Radio are doing a disservice to our democracy by spreading false information and embraced conspiracy theories.

For instance, Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar and her affirmation that in Pennsylvania in the 2020 election there were “200,000 more votes” cast than there were registered voters is typical of communists and fascists.

Miami’s GOP Members of Congress understood the power of repeating untruthful statements. “Socialism” was the magical word that Congresswoman Salazar and Congressman Carlos Giménez used to come to Federal Congress in the 2020 general election. The message no doubt resonated among voters in two districts that are home to a sizable population of Cuban Americans who are sensitive to such charges. “When you say the word socialism in my district,” María Elvira Salazar said, “people run the other way.”

In March 2021, during an interview about immigration on Actualidad Radio, Republican Representative Carlos Giménez, didn’t push back when hosts claimed that the Biden administration is letting in thousands of unauthorized immigrants as part of a “Machiavellian plan” to turn them into Democratic voters. Instead, as WLRN reported, he replied “no te lo dudo,” which translates to “I don’t doubt it.”

In spite of right to information is not only a human right, but an essential tool that empowers citizens to demand accountability from governments and private sector, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and many Republicans leaders like María Elvira Salazar, Carlos Giménez, Mario Díaz-Balart, and Marco Rubio can be successful in sending any of his lies to Hispanic who live in Miami-Dade, because Spanish-language disinformation continues.

Where were Miami’s GOP Members of Congress and Florida Lieutenant Governor when Gov DeSantis refused to denounce Florida Nazis? Where are they when Gov DeSantis violates the rights of the LGBTQ community? Where were they when Gov DeSantis significantly distorts the map in favor of Republicans?

The right to vote, and the federal Voting Rights Act, are “under siege,” a federal judge said on March 31 in throwing out parts of a Florida voting law passed in the wake of the 2020 election. Where were Miami’s GOP members of Congress and Florida’s Lieutenant Governor when this occurred?

Convinced, it seems, that he can do whatever he wants in Florida, Governo Ron DeSantis seems to be taking his dictatorial cues from Putin or Viktor Orbán, who just won a fourth consecutive term as Hungary’s prime minister and extends his autocratic rule in Hungary.

Miami’s GOP Members of Congress and Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Núñez are Cuban Americans. The evidence shows that if María Elvira Salazar, Carlos Giménez, Mario Díaz-Balart, Marco Rubio, and Jeanette Núñez had lived in Castro’s Cuba they have been apparatchiks of the Communist Party. They are enemies of democracy in the United States.

On May 3, for the World Press Freedom Day, Reporters Without Borders published their annual World Press Freedom Index. Why have not journalists in South Florida talked on this yet? RSF’s 2022 World Press Freedom Index ranks 180 countries and territories; the United States occupies the position 42, a mere two-place increase from its 2021 ranking, with a press freedom index of 72.74 points, while Cuba ranks 173 with 27.32 points, being one of the 8 worst countries for press freedom in the world. According to RSF’s 2022 World Press Freedom Index:

In the United States, once considered a model for press freedom and free speech, press freedom violations are increasing at a troubling rate…. According to recent studies, there are unprecedented levels of distrust in the American media. The disinformation affecting American society has created an atmosphere where citizens no longer know who to trust.

From the publication in 1690 of the first American newspaper, Publick Occurrences, the news has been disseminated to inform its audience about what is going on in the world. But Floridians who don’t have internet service don’t even know what is happening in their country currently. Florida reminds me of Castro’s Cuba.

Why have not the journalists in South Florida talked about DeSantis is turning Florida into his own mini-autocracy? Where are the journalists in South Florida who are not reporting these serious attacks on our democracy? They should follow the example of the independent journalism in Cuba.

Donald Trump’s corrosive impact on our politics continues. What does misinformation on Spanish talk radio in South Florida mean for democracy in our country? Can liberal democracy survive if journalists don’t do their job well?

Cuba native Manuel Castro-Rodríguez lives in and writes from the Miami area.




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