A group of protesters descended on Univisión’s offices in the Doral area of greater Miami on Wednesday to protest the announced sale of 18 Spanish-language radio stations, including the iconic anti-communist station Radio Mambí, to a leftist media group bankrolled by a fund tied to George Soros.
The protests occurred after the Assembly for the Cuban Resistance, a coalition of pro-democracy organizations in Cuba and in exile, held a press conference on Wednesday expressing extreme concern about the move’s potential to silence anti-communist voices.
A newly formed corporation called the “Latino Media Network” agreed to buy the 18 radio stations from TelevisaUnivisión. The media giant had attempted to convert some of the stations into Spanish talk radio stations in 2015, but the plan failed and the stations were converted into primarily music broadcasters. Latino Media Network’s leaders — Obama campaign alum Stephanie Valencia and Democratic activist Jess Morales Rocketto — have said they intended to “balance” programming on the purchased stations to combat “disinformation” that leftists blame from plummeting Democrat support in the Hispanic community.
Among the funders of the Latino Media Network is a fund called Lakestar Finance, which is partially backed by left-wing billionaire George Soros.
The sale will not be final until the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approves it. The FCC allows the public to levy complaints on its website and may face significant resistance from radio listeners to this proposed purchase.
Protesters outside of the Univisión headquarters in Doral appeared carrying signs reading “down with communism” and “RADIO SOROS.” One sign featured an illustration of Soros with a hammer and sickle, the international symbol for communism. The crowd appeared to be predominantly Cuban-American and also waved Cuban flags in a report Univisión’s local affiliate broadcast on the protest against itself.
Another report on the protest by competitor AmericaTeVe featured interviews with protesters who said the purchase recalled the destruction of a free press in Cuba and Venezuela, the latter of which occurred in part by elites sympathetic to late dictator Hugo Chávez buying up outlets lsuch as Globovisión.
“This is the same thing that happened in Venezuela and Cuba: the intervention into the press with the force of cash to block free information,” one unnamed protester told the outlet.
“We can’t fall into a dictatorship in this country, the United States, which opened its doors to us so we could have liberty,” another protester identified as Yolanda Triana said.
The concerns of the protesters echoed the sentiments expressed at a press conference hosted by the Bay of Pigs Museum in Miami on Wednesday.
“Latino Media Network is a newly formed business venture led and controlled by social activists who espouse a leftist progressive ‘woke’ political agenda,” Silvia Iriondo, the head of the Mothers Against Repression in Cuba, told reporters. “In these days of cancel culture, where censorship of conservative views and values has become commonplace, we have grounds to be extremely alarmed about the imposition of an ideological agenda contrary to our community’s spiritual and moral values.”
“We are insulted by this action of selling our media — the media that has been actually taking us by the hand and fed our spirit all of these years — to a leftist organization,” Rafael Montalvo, the president of the Brigade 2506 that fought in Bay of Pigs, asserted.
Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Núñez attended the event as well, promising that she and Governor Ron DeSantis would support efforts by the exile community to keep leftist propaganda off of Spanish-language airwaves. The DeSantis campaign recently purchased advertisements on Radio Mambí to warn listeners that a leftist group is attempting to buy the station and potentially change the programming.
Rumors have surfaced in the past week that the talent and employees of Radio Mambí are similarly alarmed by the proposal. Both the Media Research Center and the bilingual conservative outlet El American reported that Univisión was attempting to retain talent in the face of a potential mass exodus that could collapse the station’s listenership, reportedly offering up to $120,000 in bonuses for talent to stay.
Ninoska Pérez Castellón, one of the station’s most popular hosts, appeared to confirm some of the reports on Monday, telling her listeners, “myself and my colleagues have been asked to continue [here] without changing our positions, and you can be sure that my principles and my dignity do not have a price and are not for sale.”
The proposed purchase of over a dozen Spanish-language stations follows months of polling showing a near-total collapse in Hispanic support for Democrats that transcends the Cuban-American community. In December, the firm RMG Research published a survey showing that Hispanic voters supported a generic Republican candidate over a generic Democrat by two points, a 42-point change from 2018.
This week, Quinnipiac University published a poll showing that only 24 percent of Hispanic Americans approve of President Joe Biden’s presidential performance, lower than the rates of approval for any other major ethnic demographic. The number is a record-low approval rating for Biden.