Argument

Miami’s Spanish-Language Media Is Overrun With Trumpist Conspiracies

Right-wing Cuban Americans believe they’re fighting U.S. communism.

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump in Miami
Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump attend an "Anticommunist Caravan" in Miami on Oct. 10, 2020. Gaston De Cardenas/AFP via Getty Images

In the aftermath of the deadly overtake of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, Spanish-language radio in Miami remained abuzz with conspiracy theories and unfounded election fraud claims. Blame for the outbreak of violence was largely aimed at the imagined presence of Black Lives Matter and antifa.

To be sure, there was a shared sense of shame that crossed party lines, with widespread condemnation of the destruction and the five deaths that resulted after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol to disrupt formal proceedings to certify election results in favor of President-elect Joe Biden.

But Trumpism remained firm among many supporters—including Cuban American voters who provided a boost for the Republican Party during the November 2020 presidential elections as well as those who traveled to Washington to take part in the pro-Trump rally that preceded the Capitol mayhem. The Cuban flag has been present at many pro-Trump rallies, and flags from other countries with a strong right-wing element among the American diaspora were present on Jan. 6 as well.

Social media influencers with large followings such as Cuban American YouTube celebrity Alexander Otaola argued there is a tendency among far-left liberals to “criminalize” Trumpism and warned “the opposition” that Democrats now have “absolute power,” which he characterized as “dangerous.”

Otaola told his followers that the United States has entered an era of censorship and pre-communism. Trump, like other Republican politicians, has promoted a hard-right, anti-socialist agenda that resonates with right-wing Cuban Americans. Coming from a country where speech critical of the government can mean jail time, the Facebook and Twitter bans against Trump, for example, are viewed as censorship. Issues such as universal health care feel like government takeover of private enterprise.

“It’s communism, it’s socialism, it’s everything that we don’t want in this country,” Otaola said on his YouTube broadcast “Hola! Ota-Ola,” urging viewers not to fall victim to the Trump defeat but rather refocus their energy to continue the battle.

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Nancy San Martín is a freelance journalist with 30 years of experience that includes extensive coverage in countries across Latin America as a reporter and editor.
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