Cubans in Miami oppose Democrats’ Spanish-language radio deal

MIAMI – A major Democratic effort to reclaim lost ground among Hispanics by buying Spanish-language radio stations is provoking opposition in Miami, where Cuban exiles describe it as an attempt to stifle conservative voices.

The Latino Media Network, a startup founded by two political strategists who worked for President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, has reached a $ 60 million deal to acquire Televisa / Univision’s 18 AM and FM stations in ten cities. Americans. The agreement announced on June 3 still needs the approval of the Federal Communications Commission.

These markets are diverse: Hispanics with roots all over Latin America listen to stations in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, Chicago, Dallas, San Antonio, McAllen, Fresno, and Las Vegas. The network said it “will focus on creating content that addresses the different cultural and political nuances that affect different types of Latinos.”


But the deal is not going well in Miami, where Radio Mambi is popular with Cuban exiles.

“We would have to be deaf and blind not to understand the reasons for this purchase,” said Irina Vilariño, co-owner of a chain of Cuban restaurants in South Florida, at a press conference held by the coalition called the Cuban Assembly. Resistance.

The chain has raised a total of $ 80 million from high-profile investors such as actress Eva Longoria, who is also a Democratic political activist, and former Florida Republican Party chairman Al Cardenas, now a critic of former President Donald Trump. The debt involved is funded by Lakestar Finance LLC, a company affiliated with Democratic megadocker George Soros.

The deal has been harshly criticized by Florida Republicans, from the Cuban-American House of Representatives delegation to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Ron DeSantis. Coalition members said they are exploring legal ways to challenge the acquisition.


Democrats pointed to some programs on Radio Mambi and other Spanish-language radio stations when they expressed concern about the misinformation, especially after the January 6 uprising at the U.S. Capitol. Republicans say those allegations are used to distract Democrats’ mediocre performance among Hispanic voters in South Florida in the 2020 election.

Stephanie Valencia, who helped lead Obama’s White House Office of Public Engagement, co-founded the Latino Media Network. She learned four or five months ago that TelevisaUnivision had plans to sell radio stations. TelevisaUnivision did not respond to a request for comment on how the deal occurred.

“We didn’t want to miss that opportunity to get such a large number at once and keep them in Latin hands,” Valencia told The Associated Press, adding that other stakeholders did not appear to have Latin programming.


Valencia have said they want to ensure a smooth transition.

“Let’s look at this from a business perspective. How do we maintain the spirit of what these stations are? How do we balance journalistic integrity and ensure that we build spaces for freedom of expression?” She said.

One of the most popular commentators, Ninoska Perez, a staunch supporter of Trump, assured listeners that they were told there would be no major changes.

Martha Flores, who presents a nightly program on Radio Mambi, is not sure. He attended the press conference but declined to speak.

“Look at this,” Flores said, pointing to her teary eyes. “I know I would just cry.”

Radio Mambi began in the 1980s with the support of the Reagan administration and has long received federal funding to broadcast Radio Martí’s anti-communist content to Cuba for an hour after midnight each morning. Cuba, meanwhile, is trying to stop the station’s signal from reaching the island.


Cubans in Miami remember growing up listening to the station in the kitchen or in the car. Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Núñez shared in the press conference that as a child she heard so much that she was upset with her father.

“Why do I have to hear this?” Nunez said he would tell his father while he took her to school. “He insisted. He would never let me change the dial,” Núñez said, adding that he later followed the same tradition with his own daughter.

The group has yet to file with the FCC to transfer the broadcast licenses. A public comment period will follow. If approved, the startup would take full ownership by the end of 2023, after a one-year transition period.

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Cubans in Miami oppose Democrats’ Spanish-language radio deal

Source link Cubans in Miami oppose Democrats’ Spanish-language radio deal

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