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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Radio Loco: A Miami reporter’s journal

Longtime Radio Mambi mid-afternoon host Ninoska Perez-Castellón at work on Friday. Photo: Radio Mambi

By Kirk Nielsen, FloridaBulldog.org

In early June, Latino Media Network, a New Mexico-based startup committed to freedom of speech and balanced, fact-based journalism, announced its purchase of Spanish-language Radio Mambí (WAQI-AM 710) the most listened to AM station in South Florida. The seller: TelevisaUnivision, under whose ownership Radio Mambí has remained a beacon of inflammatory, often malicious expression – especially if it is anti-Democrat, anti-Biden, pro-Trump and spreads beliefs that Democrats stole the 2020 election and are conspiring to steal the 2022 midterms and the 2024 presidential election.

Some Radio Mambí hosts and listeners have gone so far as to praise the militant far-right Proud Boys and speak favorably about violence as a way to combat “a looming Democratic Party dictatorship.

The sale comes amid intensified scrutiny by media watchdogs of the role AM radio stations across the United States are playing to sow mistrust in the U.S. electoral system and spread politically biased, malevolent disinformation.

For decades, Radio Mambí has maintained sizable hourly audiences—about 125,000 listeners, according to the latest ratings—making it a lucrative if controversial property for Univision, which merged with Televisa in 2021. Otherwise, the Spanish-language media giant, with pro forma revenues of $4.2 billion last year, has a radio portfolio consisting mostly of FM music stations and its national television news programs exemplify the same evidence-based journalism as their English-language counterparts at CBS, NBC, and ABC.

TelevisaUnivision executives ignored several requests for comment on the lack of such ethical journalistic practices at Radio Mambí.

Many South Floridians who don’t speak Spanish, and many who do, are unaware of this potentially dangerous undercurrent of hate, amplified by Spanish-language radio, that flows through their communities. For those who are aware, the purchase of Radio Mambí could mark a turning point in countering mass disinformation, if only on Spanish language AM radio in Florida.

LT. GOV. NUNEZ AND RADIO MAMBÍ

But it won’t be without a struggle. Although in reality the political voices of Cuban exiles are various, in promos Radio Mambí proclaims itself “the Voice of el Exilio Cubano.” (Mambí is a term for a Cuban guerrilla soldier who fought against Spanish colonizers in the 19th Century.)  In that spirit, Florida Lt. Governor Jeanettte Nunez appeared at the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association headquarters in Little Havana on June 8 with a cluster of small Cuban exile groups purporting to speak for all Cuban exiles. Latino Media Network is attempting “to silence us,” they declared.

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Lt. Gov. Jeannette Nunez

Nunez accused Mambí’s new owners of “trying to convert Radio Mambí into Radio Soros,” referring to billionaire investor George Soros, one of whose companies is involved in financing the $60 million purchase of Mambí and 17 other TelevisaUnivision-owned AM and FM stations across the country. Nunez falsely accused Soros of backing “extremist causes” then declared, “This effort to take over our beloved Radio Mambí station is something that we are not going to stand idly by,” referring to herself and Gov. Ron DeSantis.

GOP Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and the Miami area’s three Cuban-American Republican U.S. House reps – Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Gimenez, and Maria Elvira Salazar – also got into the act. They sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission suggesting the agency stop the sale, asserting the buy is a move by “elite progressives” to “claw back support from Hispanic voters, who have rightly turned their backs on Democrats and their socialist priorities.” “We are concerned that far-left ideologues are attempting to consolidate and expand their control over the media, so they can flood the airwaves with propaganda with the hopes of fooling listeners,” the lawmakers wrote.

The letter contends Radio Mambí is a pillar of the local community and “serves a vital role in South Florida, offering listeners critical coverage of the dictatorship in Cuba and local news reporting.” The letter does not note that Rubio, Scott, Diaz-Balart, Salazar, and Gimenez regularly appear on the station for interviews to belittle and berate, unopposed, President Biden and other Democrats.

In truth, many news outlets in South Florida offer “critical coverage” of the dictatorial regime in Havana, and Radio Mambí offers hardly any “local news reporting.” So exactly what kind of talk on these public airwaves are we talking about?

Recent media coverage of the sale hasn’t really done it justice. Some highlights from Radio Mambí’s inflammatory output since the November 2020 presidential election is instructive. What follows is a distillation of talk gleaned from countless hours of listening, recording, note-taking, and translating by this reporter, who has been a Radio Mambí listener, on and off, since the late 1990s.

THE SPECTER OF AUGUSTO PINOCHET

October 2020. In the weeks before the November 3 presidential election, Radio Mambí hosts and callers are loathing Democrats less for their supposed cahoots with the regimen castrista than for the belief that Democrats want to establish a one-party communist regime of their own in the United States, in league with federal intelligence agencies and the U.S judicial system. One hears nothing but loyalty to Trump and enraged consensus that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris either belong to a corrupt global communist cabal or sympathize with it. The diversity of opinion regarding the Democratic ticket ranges from 1970s Latin American-style fascistic to QAnonesque.

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Dr. Gustavo Leon

On the Sunday before Election Day, an apoplectic woman exclaims to Radio Mambí weekend show host Dr. Gustavo León that Democrats are among “esa gente”—“those people”— who want to “dominate the world,” “who eat children,” “who want to pass laws so that adults can have sex with children,” that these evils resulted from of a lack of “love of God” and “because we are thinking about stupidities!” León lets the caller rant for another minute until the connection is lost, then notes how emotional she was.

A male caller, while considering with the host the “correct” response to the Democratic Party-led globalist communist agenda, gushes: “I give so much thanks to a gentleman named Augusto Pinochet, who ripped communism out from the roots!” The host enthusiastically concurs.

There is no mention of the deaths of more than 2100 people, according to an official count of the anti-communist persecution that followed General Pinochet’s 1973 violent overthrow of democratically elected socialist president Salvador Allende. No mention of the 1976 assassination by car bomb in Washington, D.C. of Allende’s U.S. ambassador Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt, his American colleague at the Institute for Policy Studies, nor of how the FBI implicated Cuban exiles from the terrorist Omega 7 group in the attack.

November 2020. During an Election Day interview with Radio Mambi’s longtime midafternoon host Ninoska Perez-Castellón, Sen. Marco Rubio concedes that Biden and Harris aren’t socialists but must “stay quiet or cooperate with socialists inside their party,” and would certainly have “compassion” for “leftist” entities around the world if elected. Biden plans to enter negotiations with socialist regimes in Havana and Caracas, Rubio assures, and leftist “elements” of the “Democratic coalition” in the United States “have been burning cities for weeks and months.” His words mesh cleverly with the global communist conspiracy story, though (as will become clear in coming months) he loses points among some listeners for not outrightly denouncing Biden and Harris as communists.

TRUMP LOSES, THE BIG LIE BEGINS

After Trump’s loss, Mambí hosts begin blasting his astounding stolen election lie to their listeners across South Florida and bolstering other delusional beliefs, for instance, that communists controlling the U.S. news media have been suppressing the true election results.

“I’m an elderly person, and this time it’s the most similar to when Castro triumphed in Cuba, when they eliminated communication, all the newspapers were censored and closed,” a female caller exclaims to Perez-Castellón on her show a week after the election.

President Trump on election night 2020. Photo: ABC News

The host replies, “This is the part that is the most difficult for the average American and above all the Cuban-American to understand: Why is there censorship?”

“Exactly!” the caller shouts. “Even the television is saying that Biden is winning for president!”

Perez-Castellón and other hosts also encourage notions about extrajudicial options if Trump’s legal challenges don’t prevail. On November 13, a male caller attests, “We’re here supporting our president, and we veterans are here prepared for anything.” Perez-Castellón enthusiastically thanks the veteran for his call and takes the next one.

December 2020. Perez-Castellón and other hosts continue to indulge listener hysteria over Trump’s loss and fuel hopes that if not Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell then certainly the U.S. Supreme Court will deliver Trump a second term in office.

‘DOG WHISTLE TALK’

January 2021. Weeks of anti-Democrat bluster from Trump, Republican members of Congress, pro-Trump militant groups (and media outlets such as Fox News and Radio Mambí) culminate at the January 6 Stop the Steal rally, then morph into deadly mob violence at the U.S. Capitol by several thousand aggrieved Trump fans. Among the Capital attackers are former and active military members, including a retired Army captain from Miami.

Hosts and callers on Radio Mambí suggest—some are certain—that “antifa” and Black Lives Matter adherents, not pro-Trump groups, were behind the riot at the U.S. Capitol. Callers and hosts concur that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Capitol police must have conspired to create the riot in a scheme to impugn and impeach Trump.

The New York Times reports that an executive vice president at Cumulus Media, which operates about 400 English-talk radio stations across the country, sent a memo to its broadcast staff instructing them to refrain from “dog-whistle talk about ‘stolen election’ or ‘civil war’ or any other language that infers violent public disobedience is warranted, “ever” and to urge “peace and order.” Meanwhile, hosts at Mambí, with the help of a seemingly endless queue of aggrieved callers, amp up the anti-Democrat rage and fail to dispel talk promoting violence.

February 2021. With Biden and Harris now occupying the White House, the torrent of fantastical claims and insults on Radio Mambi intensifies. Donald Trump “won by a wide margin.” “Barack Hussein Obama” engineered the stolen election. “The Dominion voting machines falsified the vote count.” “We have to eliminate voting machines!” The FBI and U.S. Justice Department “have no credibility on election integrity or anything else.” “The U.S. intelligence agencies are the biggest traitors of all.” “The American press is communist” and manipulated information about the election results. The press hid the true cause of George Floyd’s death: covid-19 and narcotics. Or: Anarchists colluding with Democrats planned Floyd’s murder in order to “destroy the United States.” “Racism against blacks no longer exists.” Concern about such racism is a Democratic Party ploy “to win votes from gullible people.” Biden has “mental problems.”

“How long do we have to be putting up with these communists? Because you have to call them communists. Forget Democrat. Comunista! Like that, nice and clear,” a male caller sneers to Lourdes D’Kendall, host of Radio Mamb’ís midmorning show “En mi opinión” in early February 2021.

“Yes, but we also have to be careful. Not all who are Democrats are communists,” the host replies. “Some are, but not all.”

A few days later, Perez-Castellón assuages a calmer listener, “No one is going to change your mind that you feel that the election was fraudulent.”

SATAN’S ‘REIGN’ OF BLOOD

March 15. “The Constitution says clearly in the Second Amendment that you can defend yourself from a government that is becoming a dictatorship,” D’Kendall promises listeners. “Because the day that this converts to a dictatorship, the promised land is finished.” The dictatorship isn’t here yet but “almost,” she adds.                                                                       

Lourdes D’Kendall

May 10. Police allowed the mob into the Capitol on January 6 as part of a “farce” engineered by the forces of “globalismo,” a female caller explains to D’Kendall. “Yes, Satan promised to reign with blood and penetrate institutions that are sacred for us, like the FBI, the CIA, the Army and Navy, and the governments!” the caller says, yelling. “But those of us with the Lord’s faith can march and show our discontent. I have no doubt in my heart that the Lord is with all of us who love the truth and defend freedom, and we’re going to achieve it. Yes, with blood!”

D’Kendall thanks her for the call.

May 21. Echoing other listeners, a frustrated caller reiterates to D’Kendall that Miami’s three Cuban-American U.S. House members (Diaz-Balart, Gimenez, and Salazar) are “traitors” for voting twice with Democrats in February—to remove Trump ally Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments and to retain Trump critic Liz Cheney in her GOP leadership post. “If only we could clone Marjorie Taylor Greene!” says Lourdes D’Kendall.

June 2. The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald publicize “Disinformation in Miami After the Capitol Insurrection” a study by several public interest groups of baseless claims aired by Radio Mambí and another Spanish-language AM station in the week after the January 6 pro-Trump riot at the Capitol. Univision spokespersons ignore the Herald’s requests for comment. On the air, Radio Mambí hosts slam the report as an effort by Democrats “to silence us.”

A ‘HERO’ KILLER’S RETURN

June 25. The Miami homecoming of Eduardo Arocena, the ailing 77-year-old founder of the long defunct Omega 7 anti-Castro group, prompts a wave of listeners to call and express their joy on the air. Federal prison authorities freed Arocena from a life term for the 1979 machine-gun murder in New Jersey of Eulalio Jose Negrin, director of a Weehauken refugee center and member of the Committee of 75, an exile group led by banker Bernardo Benes that negotiated with the Castro regime and won the release of some 3,000 political prisoners in Cuba in 1978; for a botched car bomb attempt in Manhattan on Cuba’s U.N. ambassador followed by the machine-gun murder in Queens of Felix Garcia Rodriguez, an attaché at Cuba’s U.N. mission in 1980; and for dozens of terrorist bombings around New York City (Avery Fischer Hall, Madison Square Garden, JFK International Airport) targeting musicians and dancers from Cuba and air commerce with the island. At his trial in 1984, Arocena testified that communists should be “executed.”

Eduardo Arocena meeting his wife after his release on June 26, 2021. Photo: Twitter

“He’s a hero,” a female caller says to Nelson Rubio, host of Radio Mambí’s “Línea Directa” (“Direct Line”), a morning call-in show. Rubio conducts a telephone interview with Arocena’s wife Miriam who speaks emotionally about how grateful she is to have her husband home. When the host suggests she must be angry at someone, Miriam Arocena replies, “I don’t have rancor towards anyone.”

After the interview, Nelson Rubio quickly shifts the tone. “There has to be rancor,” he proclaims and launches into a jumbled rant hinting that retribution against someone is in order. “As a Cuban, I know who my enemies are,” he says then vaguely blames the “injustice” that sent “Eduardo” to prison on “cowards” who had “remained silent.” “There are things that can’t be pardoned,” he concludes. Unmentioned by Rubio: other exile militants testified against Arocena, and Arocena confessed to FBI agents.

July 2021. Radio Mambí’s response to the Sunday July 11, 2021 mass street demonstrations across Cuba – a mostly peaceful explosion of frustration over political repression, blackouts, inflation, shortages of food, basic goods, and covid-19 vaccines, and other failings of the socialist economy – is saturated with vengeful fantasies of violence. While the protests in Cuba are mostly nonviolent, journalists report that some protesters looted food stores, vandalized of police cars, and attacked a police station, where one protester is killed. According to news reports, pro-government civilians joined police in assaulting peaceful marchers. 

Mambí hosts rush to their studios, preempting Sunday evening music programming, and marvel at the extent of the protests. They denounce the “stupidity” and “foolishness” of the “murderers” in the Havana regime. They interview demonstrators in Cuba by phone and promote local demonstrations in Miami to express solidarity with protesters on the island.

HOST NELSON RUBIO WHIPS ‘EM UP

July 13. Nelson Rubio drops anti-Biden canards into his rants about the police crackdown against protesters in Cuba, drawing parallels between Biden and Fidel Castro. The host asks listeners to imagine how the uprising would have transpired if the demonstrators carried guns. “If the Cuban people had weapons, it would be different,” he notes, then maintains that “the first thing” the Castro regime did in 1959 was confiscate guns. He adds that “many Democrats, including Biden” are using “this invention about crime or whatever” to “get rid of the Second Amendment and take weapons away from people.”

All week furious callers demand military action against Cuba, some hosts concurring, others merely thanking them for their calls. Some callers propose specific strategies, such as setting up a naval and air blockade, bombing Cuban military installations from U.S. warships, staging a full-on offensive with land forces. Hosts and callers repeatedly invoke President Kennedy’s “betrayal” of the exile soldiers of Brigade 2506 by withholding air cover during their catastrophic attempt to overthrow the Castro-led government in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.

Radio Mambi host Nelson Rubio outside the White House on July 18, 2021. Photo: Twitter

July 17. Radio Mambí has set up a live remote from Lafayette Park across from the White House to cover demonstrators demanding U.S. military intervention in Cuba. Around 1:00 p.m. Nelson Rubio puts a microphone on a male protester who is shouting through a loudspeaker. “The head of the snake has to be cut off so that communism in our region dies!” the protester declares in Spanish, then shifts to English: “President Biden, the Cuban people needs [sic] your help. We need help. We are suffering. They are killing our countrymen in Cuba! Our countrymen are in Cuba fighting the police with sticks and stones! They are killing our people. They are kidnapping children out of their homes!”

Amnesty International later reported that “Cuban authorities arbitrarily detained hundreds of people” for involvement in the July 11 protests, including “some children.” Credible news agencies have put the number of deaths at one—a protester who died in a clash with police.

Nelson Rubio reports live that the crowd of “hundreds” is now chanting “Intervención!” then deftly ad libs a promotional plug that “Radio Mambí is the station of the Cuban exile, the station of the people of Miami.” Moments later another chant is heard – ASESINO! ASESINO! ASESINO! (MURDERER! MURDERER! MURDERER!) – this one directed toward Cuba’s president, Miguel Diaz-Canel.

At 5 p.m., Nelson Rubio is ad-libbing from Lafayette Park, interviewing excited protesters. A young woman tells him in Spanish, “We are here to support the Cuban people. We are one. We are united. They don’t need vaccines, they don’t need food. They need freedom. Freedom now! And military intervention!”

NELSON RUBIO’S MORBID COUNSEL

July 19. Nelson Rubio offers some morbid advice regarding the fight ahead for the “young people” protesting the dictatorial regime in Havana. “You have to destroy things where it hurts them!” he explains. “They aren’t going to be able to kill all the people. They aren’t going to be able to kill a whole country. And there’s a reality. Lamentably, there are going to be victims. The same if there were an intervention—there are going to be victims. There are going to be. Because you would have to have them in order to take that country, to be able to do everything.”

During the show Rubio endorses beating up suspected collaborators of the Cuban government who have have infiltrated Miami. “The dictatorship has attacked my person, the dictatorship has snuck in these snitches that are hiding here among the people,” he booms. “Because they know that before jokes people are going to give them two good kicks right there, and then you can imagine what else.”

July 31. “INTERVENCION! INTERVENCION! INTERVENCION!” Nelson Rubio shouts into a wireless microphone on stage, leading a chanting crowd of about two thousand attending “ABAJO CADENAS!” (“DOWN WITH CHAINS!”) at Bayfront Park on downtown Miami’s waterfront. Many people in the crowd wear Cuban flags like capes, some clutching homemade signs referring to Cuban president Diaz-Canel as an “ASESINO” (MURDERER), a “SAGAO” (sucker), a perpetrator of “GENOCIDIO” (genocide). Other signage demands INTERVENCION MILITAR! and “S.O.S.” One has the word PAREDON! (FIRING SQUAD!) above a list of names: Raul Castro, Diaz-Canel, Nicolas Maduro, Daniel Ortega, and Vladimir Putin. One group is gathered beneath a large flag reading “FUCK BIDEN!” 

Planned and funded by the City of Miami and sponsored by Univision Radio, the event is billed as a “call for freedom of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.” The show is a five-hour marathon of fiery speeches interspersed with short live music performances.

August 2021. After “Down With Chains!” enthusiasm for free Cuba or invade Cuba rallies fizzles in Miami and on the Radio Mambí airwaves. Mambí callers and hosts return to pre-July targets: corrupt Democrats, communist Democrats, their corrupt or leftist collaborators in the news media, Biden’s endless treachery or incompetence. The Democrats are trying to destroy the country. Biden must be court-martialed for the chaotic U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan. Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio is “un prisionero político”— a political prisoner.

“Who is going to take to the streets to say that Enrique Tarrio is a hero, the same as they did with the criminal George Floyd?” a female caller angrily exclaims to the “Línea Directa” host Nelson Rubio in late August. (Tarrio was then serving five months jail sentence for burning a D.C. church’s Black Lives Matter flag and remains in jail awaiting trial on conspiracy and sedition charges for the January 6 Capitol insurrection).

“Good point,” Nelson Rubio emphasizes.

REP. DIAZ-BALART CALLS BIDEN ‘DANGEROUS’

September 1. Rep. Diaz-Balart, a frequent telephone interviewee, tells Perez-Castellon that President Biden “is dangerous” and that “the decision of this man” to withdraw from Afghanistan will cause the deaths of “thousands of Afghans” and suffering of Afghan girls and women. “Either he did it to help the terrorists or he is highly subnormal,” Diaz-Balart says. The congressman claims that the exile community “has never been confused,” “never makes a mistake,” and must help “wake up the rest of the nation” that “socialism is destructive.” “That nightmare entered Venezuela through a democratic process! And because of that, those who think it [socialism] can’t happen here have to wake up!”

September 8. A male caller tells Perez-Castellón, “It’s a shame, because on November 4 we needed the military,” referring to the day after the 2020 election, which he is sure Trump won. She tells the caller the U.S. Constitution doesn’t allow for the U.S. military to take over the civilian government, but the host remains mum on the caller’s belief that communist Democrats had orchestrated massive election fraud.

Ninoska Perez-Castellon

Over the next several months, enthusiasm continues among some Radio Mambí callers for violent remedies to their grievances. “Hay que hacer algo! (“Something must be done!”) is a common refrain, as are these: Biden’s vaccine mandates prove he has dictatorial, Marxist tendencies. Biden and the Democrats are hypocrites because freedom to refuse a covid vaccine is the same as freedom to undergo an abortion. Not a single governmental action has been constitutional since the fraudulent presidential election. Democrats are corrupt liars who used the coronavirus pandemic and other shenanigans to steal the 2020 presidential election with ultimate help from a now worthless U.S. Supreme Court. They’re working to turn the United States into a one-party communist regime to be led in the near future by Kamala Harris. They now control all three branches of the U.S. government. The American system of checks and balances is gone. The electoral system is totally fraudulent. Biden is an “imbecile” who wants to “disarm the country” and “eliminate the Second Amendment.”

2022

With the November 2022 midterms on the horizon, candidate appearances on Radio Mambí increase in frequency, inflammatory attacks on Democrats intensify.

March 9. Rep. Salazar tells Línea Directa co-host Rodrigo Duran via telephone that “inside the Democratic Party there are very Marxist people who detest the United States, who consider that there has to be a radical change in how this country has been in the last 300 [sic] years.” She falsely claims President Biden hasn’t sent weapons to Ukraine and that he “thought Putin wasn’t so bad” because “in the State Department and in the White House there are people who think very close to the Marxists.”

Duran changes the subject, asking “on behalf of listeners” why she and her two Cuban-American Republican counterparts in the House haven’t defended Governor Ron DeSantis more. 

DIAZ-BALART OFF THE RAILS

May 17. Rep. Diaz-Balart tells midafternoon host Ninoska Perez-Castellón in a telephone interview that the Biden Administration’s Cuba policy has “only one objective—to help the regime in Havana.”

U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart

“The enemies of the United States, the enemies of democracy, the enemies of freedom, the enemies of liberty are being helped, assisted, and financed by President Biden and those who surround him. It’s not a surprise. We warned of it before the elections that this could happen by these self-titled progressives, communists, or socialists, and they are doing it,” he says.

Perez-Castellón asks the congressman why the midterm elections in November are important. Diaz-Balart replies, “The extreme, extreme left controls all the power in Washington, all the decisions. We see what that means. We see inflation, we see the price of gasoline, we see scarcity in supermarkets, we see what socialism achieves. That’s what socialism has always achieved, what this country is achieving. Because one party controls everything. And this isn’t the traditional Democratic Party. This isn’t the voters in the streets that are Democrats. This is the extreme, extreme left. They self-title as progressives or socialists. We can call them communists.”

May 24. Dania Alexandrino, a newly hired host filling the midmorning slot formerly held by Lourdes D’Kendall (who died of cancer in October 2021), explains that Biden began his term with “a series of cancellations” of the petroleum industry and did so “to create a crisis in order to obligate every American citizen to buy an electric car….Because the Democrats are experts in creating a crisis in order to then sell you a solution.”

Democrats, she continues, are “creating the border crisis with malevolent, Machiavellian intention to change the face of the American citizen over the long term and eliminate the white majority that the Democrats detest so much.”

Thursday June 2. During her show, Alexandrino says “the national press and Democrats are trying to take advantage of the tragedy in Uvalde” but “none of them talk about the more than 50 wounded and nine killed this past weekend also as a consequence of firearms. And you know why they don’t talk about that? Because those are deaths from liberal firearms, they are deaths resulting from drug trafficking, they are deaths that are mostly minorities but who died at the hands of other minorities. And since that doesn’t fit into their narrative that the little whites (blanquitos) are the ones who like to have their AR-15s, that’s the reason they don’t talk about that.” 

RADIO MAMBÍ SALE STOKES ANGER

Friday June 3. In an article announcing the sale of Radio Mambí, the Miami Herald quotes Latino Media Network cofounder Stephanie Valencia (a former White House aide to President Barack Obama) as saying that under LMN management Radio Mambí would continue to advocate for a free Cuba but also display “journalistic integrity and balance.”

Stephanie Valencia

The news prompts excitement in anti-disinformation circles, but according to a press release, Latino Media Network and TelevisaUnivision agreed to a one-year transition period for the transfer of Radio Mambí and the 17 other radio stations in the deal. That means Radio Mambí will likely continue to inflame and misinform listeners not only for the 2022 midterm elections but well into the 2024 presidential election cycle.

Monday June 6. Alexandrino says, “You all know that for two weeks I’ve been telling you that we are in a moment of social war, of civil war, of a war for the preservation of our principles, of our values, of what this great nation is, for the survival of our country, of the United States of America. Because we are living a direct attack against the family institution! A direct attack against the father figure! A direct attack against our principles and values! A direct attack against our faith!” She ends the show with a reference to the sale, exclaiming, “Radio Mambí libre! Free Radio Mambí!”

June 7. Responding to the news that TelevisaUnivision has sold Radio Mambí to a media startup run by Democrats with financing from a George Soros company, Línea Directa listeners call to express outrage about the sale and to praise Nelson Rubio and other Radio Mambí hosts for their journalism. Nelson Rubio tells listeners it’s “time to put on the pants and demand as should be done,” apparently meaning demand that the FCC reject the sale. “All of the journalists of this station have said this: The day they come to tell us [to leave], we leave. And I’m sure there will be another place for us,” Rubio continues. “But today Radio Mambí is alive and we have to be here and we have to continue to defend our position and not change a bit (ni un ápice). So simple.”

June 8. Alexandrino fulminates about attacks by the national press “against our principles, against our values, against the institution of the family, against the Constitution, against the patriarchy. And against our faith. Well, ladies and gentlemen. It’s not only here. Nobody has talked about an attack on a Catholic church in Nigeria where 50 people died in the middle of mass. Yes. An attack. Where they entered and shot and also set off explosives. Ah. But look, when two years ago in New Zealand there was an attack by a madman who they tried to stick with gum to Donald Trump, where I think 17 died or something like that, everyone was talking about that, everyone in the national press was talking about that. But now, when it’s about an attack on Christians, nobody talks about that.”

(The Associated Press, Reuters, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, NPR, Bloomberg, the Guardian, Al Jazeera, and many other news outlets reported on the church massacre in Owo, Nigeria.)

DANIA ALEXANDRIO: MINOR CRIMES AT THE CAPITOL

June 17. Dania Alexandrino says most of the January 6 rioters at the U.S. Capitol committed minor crimes and that Democrats accuse Proud Boys founder Enrique Tarrio of being a white supremacist even though he is blacker than me (“mas negrito que yo”). She makes no mention that Democrats and Republicans on the House select committee investigating the January 6 riot also accuse Tarrio and other Proud Boys of conspiring to promote the insurrection into the U.S. Capitol. Alexandrino reiterates her notion that “The United States is not a democracy” but rather “a constitutional republic,” as if a constitutional republic and a democracy are mutually exclusive.

June 20. A male caller on Línea Directa tells Nelson Rubio that “it’s clearer than water” that Dominion voting machines are responsible for Colombia Humana candidate Gustavo Petro’s win in Colombia’s June 19 runoff presidential election. The caller says that “Cuban government security, the dogs of Cuban security, penetrated Colombia a long time ago, when [Enrique] Santos [was president]. And they’ve had all the bases created to do this fraud that they did with Dominion.” He says he has no doubt leftists will commit the same fraud again in the U.S. Rubio concurs.

June 21. Dania Alexandrino warns Democrats, singling out some by name as “idiots” and “cheap politicos in the national press” who serve as “cheerleaders” for the Democratic Party, that “if you all continue with your stupidities and playing with words to manipulate useful idiots, know that I am going to take care of raising my army to be volunteers to keep you from continuing to implement your tricks to steal the elections. Yes, I said it!”

She fulminates bizarrely for another minute saying that elite Democrats have decided “to destroy our nation,” taken control of the media “to boost propaganda,” “have infiltrated all the important branches of the government,” and are “raping the vote.”

The FCC’s review of the TelevisaUnivision-LMN radio sale is expected to take several months. But with Radio Mambí under unprecedented media scrutiny, will TelevisaUnivision news executives continue to abide the absence of balanced, fact-based journalism at their inflammatory pro-Trump disinformation station? Unfortunately, reporters will have to stay tuned.

July 8. A male caller tells Alexandrino to forget about the idea of voting out Democrats and RINOS (Republicans in Name Only) in future elections. “There’s not going to be any country left by 2024,” he says, “so prepare the rifles that you have stored in your houses. And I hope you have a lot of bullets, because blood is going to flow here. The hate here is like rat poison and like muriatic (hydrochloric) acid. So, I’m going to Puerto Rico.”

“So then you are a weak patriot if you’re going to run away,” Alexandrino responds. “Not me. So that’s the difference, ladies and gentlemen! Many thanks for your call.” 

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