Miami Cubans oppose Democrat-backed Spanish radio deal

Jun 8, 2022, 10:09 PM | Updated: Jun 11, 2022, 8:16 am
Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez, left, speaks at a news conference along with Cuban exiles, of thei...

Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez, left, speaks at a news conference along with Cuban exiles, of their concern of the sale of two local Spanish language radio stations, Wednesday, June 8, 2022, at the Bay of Pigs Museum and Brigade 2506 headquarters in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood. Cuban exiles describe it as a clear attempt by Democrats to stifle conservative and anti-Communist voices in a Hispanic community where they've lost ground. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

MIAMI (AP) — A major effort backed by Democratic fundraisers to purchase Spanish-language radio stations is stirring up opposition in Miami, where Cuban exiles describe it as an attempt to stifle conservative voices in markets where Democrats have lost ground.

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

These markets are diverse — Hispanics with roots all over Latin America listen to the stations in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, Chicago, Dallas, San Antonio, McAllen, Fresno and Las Vegas, including some Hispanic communities where Democrats have lost ground to Republicans.

The network said it “will focus on creating content that addresses the different cultural and political nuances that impact different types of Latinos.”

But the deal isn’t going over well in Miami, where Radio Mambi is popular among hardline Cuban exiles.

“We would need to be deaf and blind not to understand the motives behind this buyout,” Irina Vilariño, who co-owns a chain of Cuban restaurants in South Florida, said at a news conference held by a coalition called the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance.

The network 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 financed by Lakestar Finance LLC, a company affiliated with Democratic mega-donor George Soros.

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

Democrats have pointed to some shows on Radio Mambi and other Spanish-language radio stations when raising concerns about disinformation, especially following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Republicans say those accusations are used to distract from the Democrats’ lackluster performance among Hispanic voters in South Florida and Texas in the 2020 election.

Stephanie Valencia, who helped lead Obama’s White House Office of Public Engagement, co-founded the Latino Media Network. The Latina strategist heard about four or five months ago that TelevisaUnivision had plans to sell radio stations. TelevisaUnivision said in a statement it met with dozens of potential buyers.

“We did not want to miss that opportunity to obtain such a large number all at once and keep them in Latino hands,” Valencia told The Associated Press, adding that other interested parties did not appear to have Latino programming.

Valencia said she wants to ensure a smooth transition.

“We are going to be looking 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 we build spaces for free speech?” she said.

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

Radio Mambi got its start in the 1980s with support from the Reagan administration and has long received federal funding to beam Radio Marti’s anti-communist content into Cuba for an hour after midnight each morning. Cuba, in turn, tries to jam the station’s signal from reaching the island.

Cubans in Miami recall growing up listening to the station in the kitchen or while in the car. Lieutenant Gov. Jeanette Nunez shared at the news conference that as a girl she would she would hear it so much that she get annoyed with her father.

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

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

______ This story was first published on June 9, 2022. It was updated on June 11, 2022 to remove comments erroneously attributed to Martha Flores, former host of a show on Radio Mambi in Miami, one of the stations in the proposed deal. Flores died in 2020. The comments were made by another woman. This version of the story removes those comments.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Germany’s CureVac files suit against vaccine rival BioNTech

BERLIN (AP) — German biotech company CureVac said Tuesday it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against rival BioNTech for work that it says contributed to the development of the BioNTech-Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. BioNTech said its work is original and it would “vigorously” contest the claim. CureVac last year reported disappointing results from late-stage testing […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

76 million-year-old dinosaur skeleton to be auctioned in NYC

NEW YORK (AP) — The fossilized skeleton of a T. rex relative that roamed the earth about 76 million years ago will be auctioned in New York this month, Sotheby’s announced Tuesday. The Gorgosaurus skeleton will highlight Sotheby’s natural history auction on July 28, the auction house said. The Gorgosaurus was an apex carnivore that […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Hurricane Bonnie drives westward off Mexico’s Pacific coast

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hurricane Bonnie strengthened while moving roughly parallel to Mexico’s Pacific coast Tuesday after crossing over Central America from the Caribbean and dropping heavy rain, contributing to at least two deaths. Forecasters said they expected the hurricane, now a Category 2 storm, to pose no threat to land as it headed generally […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Many won’t rely on virtual options after COVID: AP-NORC poll

WASHINGTON (AP) — Many Americans don’t expect to rely on the digital services that became commonplace during the pandemic after COVID-19 subsides, according to a new poll, even as many think it’s a good thing if those options remain available in the future. Close to half or more of U.S. adults say they are not […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Many won’t rely on virtual options after COVID: AP-NORC poll

WASHINGTON (AP) — Many Americans don’t expect to rely on the digital services that became commonplace during the pandemic after COVID-19 subsides, according to a new poll, even as many think it’s a good thing if those options remain available in the future. Close to half or more of U.S. adults say they are not […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Greek PM criticizes ‘constant aggressive behavior’ of Turkey

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s prime minister said Tuesday that Russia’s war in Ukraine is a “turning point” in the course of Europe, stressing that any type of outcome that could embolden aggression by other nations on the continent must be avoided. Greece, which has long-standing disputes with far larger neighbor Turkey that brought them […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Miami Cubans oppose Democrat-backed Spanish radio deal