FL GOP fights sale of Cuban radio station Miami-Dade to Dems

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Brigade 2506 President Rafael Montalvo sits next to Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez, as she joined leaders of the Cuban community in exile at a press conference to announce their opposition to the sale of Radio Mambi and WQBA, La Cubanisima, at the new Latino Media Network.

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An informed community – a community that not only flaunts the word “freedom”, but actually practices its most basic component, freedom of expression – should pose no threat to anyone.

Still, Florida’s GOP and its Cuban-American supporters are worried the sale of two iconic Miami news radio stations will open to debate the Republican-monopolized political conversation on the airwaves in Spanish. County.

What are they afraid of, losing fake news?

Because with the announcement of the sale of legacy stations Radio Mambi and WQBA to the new Latino Media Network, Florida Republicans appear to be losing the most important spokespersons they have used to spread misinformation among loyal Cuban- Americans and Hispanics from Miami-Dade. voters.

READ MORE: New radio network tied to National Democrats buys Miami radio stations

Goodbye misinformation, hello debate?

True information has been difficult to find on Cuban radio.

Even pro-Trump media, for example, recanted lies about the nature of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and the 2020 election results. Not Cuban Radio Miami, where a host kept blaming the Black Lives Matter movement and hammering out the lie, without any evidence, that Donald Trump won the election and that the Democrats committed voter fraud.

Cuban radio hosts consistently portray Democratic candidates — and anyone with opposing views — as a socialist and a communist. Their out-of-control, unaccountable broadcasters are also transmitting misinformation about the pandemic, falling down the rabbit hole of right-wing conspiracy theories. They are a danger to their listeners.

Americans might be tempted to ask, “Who cares? False information is also disseminated in the English-language media.

The difference is that while sources of information are plentiful in English, for many voters who live in an island world and get information primarily in Spanish, radio is what they rely on, and broadcasters fear, without question, that the United States becomes what it left behind.

For decades, the biggest names in Cuban radio have wielded considerable influence in local, state and congressional elections, helping politicians like Senator Marco Rubio build a profile from the ground up. They keep him and others in power no matter how they vote on social issues that go against the best interests of voters.

The obfuscation has been a winning strategy for Republicans, who would rather talk about Cuba’s freedom than reveal to seniors that their votes in Congress or the Florida House and Senate are the reason for the Medicaid cuts.

Democracy for Cuba and Miami

An openness to more professional journalism — and an in-depth discussion of the issues — can only be a plus for Miami.

“The more sources of information there are, the more informed our community will be,” said longtime Cuban-American civic activist Rafael Peñalver. “We should not be afraid of differing points of view. On the contrary, it will strengthen us as a community.

Peñalver, a lawyer from Coral Gables, added, “Isn’t that what we want for Cuba? Have freedom of expression and multiple sources of information. Isn’t that what we’ve always been asking for, that there’s no monolith? The concept of freedom of expression is what we advocate for Cuba. So how can we have a monolithic point of view here [in U.S. politics]?”

Selling the stations to a group made up mostly of Democrats — including billionaire philanthropist George Soros and two former Obama administration officials, as well as Latin broadcast legend Maria Elena Salinas and some disenchanted “Never Trump” Republicans — could a game changer for local, state and even national politics.

That’s why Governor Ron DeSantis in Tallahassee, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez in Miami, and the national right-wing media apparatus echoed Cuban exile group leaders who held a press conference Wednesday at the headquarters of Brigade 2506, where they demonized the sale.

“Election manipulation funded by Soros,” Fox News said.

This, from the party that staged the first coup attempt in American history – and is still trying to cover it up. This, from the party that planted fictitious candidates in Florida Senate races.

READ MORE: Cuban exiles vow to boycott if Radio Mambí is ‘silenced’

Nothing to do with the freedom of Cuba

In Miami, the rallying cry against the sale is sounding like a matter of Cuba’s freedom — as if that lofty goal is the purview of Republicans alone. It is evident that Cuba is, once again, being used to deflect uncomfortable truths about the GOP on domestic issues.

Some exiles protesting the sale are longtime fighters for Cuban democracy who have forgotten that the cause has historically been a bipartisan pursuit. When they use racist DeSantis jargon, like attacking “woke” at a press conference, it’s an indication that the last thing on their minds is a pluralistic Cuba.

Buyers say the purchase of 18 stations nationwide is an attempt to reach a national Hispanic community too often overlooked. It’s about giving communities a forum, a spokesperson told me, not pushing a single point of view.

The Republicans, who turned everything into a partisan brawl, have only themselves to blame.

They launched the lie-as-truth industry in Florida. They have moved away from democracy, preferring to fight culture wars rather than real problems, and pass laws nullifying free speech from the classroom to the boardroom.

Cuban radio has been their echo chamber, effective in smearing reputations, dividing and radicalizing Miami. It’s taken Democrats too long to wake up, but it looks like they’re finally up to the challenge of tackling misinformation.

For the first time in decades, Republicans appear to be on the losing side of the Cuban radio wars in Miami-Dade.

That’s what it’s about. It has nothing to do with the freedom of Cuba.

If so, they would also be on the side of democracy in Miami.

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This story was originally published June 10, 2022 10:48 a.m.

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