AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott
For more than 50 years, WAQI Radio Mambí has been the voice of Cuban exiles. The relatively small station’s positioning in Miami meant it could broadcast directly into Communist Cuba throughout the Cold War, and WAQI has become one of the most trusted news outlets for Cuban Americans and a reliable critic of the Cuban regime. But now, a new George Soros-backed venture could change that forever.
Last month, Univision announced that it had sold 18 radio stations in 10 separate markets, including WAQI, to a new entity called the Latino Media Network (LMN). Almost every radio station sold has a talk radio format and is located in a U.S. city with a large Hispanic population. In a press release, LMN states that its mission is “to help Latinos make sense of the world and their place in it by inspiring, informing, and celebrating Hispanics through an audio-focused multimedia network.” In an op-ed published to coincide with the launch, LMN executives reassured listeners that they “do not intend to change the spirit or character of what has made it popular and profitable.”
Nonetheless, the listed board members, investors, and advisors for LMN immediately drew scrutiny from conservatives. Several high-level executives at LMN have an extensive history as Democratic Party operatives, and have served as field organizers for Democratic presidential candidates. Co-founder Stephanie Valencia served on the Biden-Harris transition team, while fellow co-founder Jess Morales Rocketto founded a left-wing activist group called “Coven,” which worked extensively with Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. The most prominent supposed conservative on the board is Al Cárdenas, husband of ardent anti-Trump “Republican” and CNN commentator Ana Navarro, and himself a self-described “reluctant” Trump supporter.
But the real red flag for conservatives is the involvement in the acquisition of Lakestar Finance, LLC, a close affiliate of Soros Fund Management. While George Soros has denied that he will be involved in how the radio stations are run – or what type of content they disseminate – Soros’s active involvement in other areas of American politics, like funding far-left prosecutors in cities throughout the country, has left many conservatives skeptical.
As if to confirm those suspicions, just a few weeks after the purchase, Valencia and Rocketto hinted in comments to the New Yorker that they are indeed aiming to turn the radio stations into little more than mouthpieces for the Democratic Party. They described how the new mission of the stations would be to counter “right-wing disinformation,” calling concerns among Hispanics that Democrats support socialist policies a “modern red scare.” Rocketto further told the New Yorker that media stations should be about creating “safe spaces” and a “sense of belonging” – both buzzwords for left-wing identity politics.
In other words, to hear Valencia and Rocketto tell it, it’s not Democrats who are out of touch with Latino voters, but Latino voters who are out of touch with Democrats. The implication is that if Hispanic communities are simply force-fed a heavy diet of Democratic Party talking points, they will abandon their rightward shift.
But the appetite among Hispanics for conservative news and analysis only appears to be growing, a trend that this Soros-backed effort is unlikely to reverse. Earlier this year saw the launch of another new media group, Americano, targeting conservative Hispanics with Spanish-language content. Following the launch of the network, Americano founder Ivan Garcia-Hidalgo said Democrats are “scared” and “they should be… Democrats took Hispanics for granted for too long, and no one thought to create a home for us in conservative media. There is an appetite for this. You see it on social media. You see it in elections.” Meanwhile, Fernand Amandi, a Miami-based consultant who oversaw Barack Obama’s successful national Hispanic outreach, called the launch of Americano a “Defcon 1” moment.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, three of WAQI’s most prominent hosts, Dania Alexandrino, Lourdes Ubieta, and Nelson Rubio, have already resigned in protest rather than work under the new management at their station. In a recent interview, Ubieta told the Daily Signal that the LMN deal is “stab in the heart of the community,” and a blatant attempt to push left-wing propaganda to Latino voters. “These people from the left, these Democrats, they believe that [by] buying these 18 radio stations, somehow, they can control the opinion they deliver [to] the Hispanic community,” Ubieta said.
Progressive activists and left-wing billionaires may think that they can win back the support of Hispanic Americans by simply seizing control of their information centers and silencing conservative viewpoints. But after decades in which liberal policies have failed Latino communities, such efforts are unlikely to stop the mass exodus of Hispanic voters out of the Democratic Party.
Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.
We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...
Support AMAC Action. Our 501 (C)(4) advances initiatives on Capitol Hill, in the state legislatures, and at the local level to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, and the rule of law.Donate Now