US Election: False information, conspiracy theories target Florida's Hispanic voters

A purported election fraud concocted by Democrats, an alleged plot among Jewish, Black and LGBTQ people to interfere in the election: these are some of the stories that have spread among voters in the US and among Florida Latinos in particular.

AFP
Hispanics in Florida make up 17 percent of a 14 million voter electorate.
Miami: Less than two weeks before the US presidential election, conspiracy theories, racist posts and disinformation are targeting Hispanic voters in Florida, a key constituency in the battleground state.

A purported election fraud concocted by Democrats, an alleged plot among Jewish, Black and LGBTQ people to interfere in the election: these are some of the stories that have spread among voters in the United States, and among Florida Latinos in particular.

Take influencer Liliana Rodriguez Morillo, a Donald Trump supporter who is the daughter of singer Jose Luis "El Puma" Rodriguez. The Miami-based Venezuelan shared an image to her 485,000 Instagram followers of fake driver's licenses confiscated in Chicago.


"All registered to vote Democrat!" she wrote in Spanish. "Will there be fraud November 3? Are we playing dumb? Vote in person!"

There is no evidence that the licenses were linked to the Democratic party or to voter fraud. And US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) spokesman Steven Bansbach told AFP that CBP could only confirm that 19,888 driver's licenses -- mainly from China and Hong Kong -- were confiscated.

Lizette Escobedo, director of civic engagement at the NALEO Educational Fund, a non-profit that promotes political participation of Latinos, said that mistrust in the electoral system is common among Florida Hispanics in both parties.
ADVERTISEMENT

The problem, she explained, is that "many Latinos don't actually trust the electoral process. They're afraid that their votes are not going to count."

The organization seeks to counter this perception at the national level with voter education campaigns.

"Florida is our largest digital ad buy budget that we have for this election," Escobedo said.

She said that Latinos are particularly vulnerable to disinformation because they define their positions in the American political system "based on the political systems that they have in their home country."
ADVERTISEMENT

Latin America has a long history of authoritarian regimes from both the left and right, often sustained by elections flagged as fraudulent.

Racism and anti-Semitism
ADVERTISEMENT
Last month, US representatives Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Joaquin Castro asked the FBI to investigate the spike in disinformation directed at Latinos in South Florida and to "consider efforts of foreign actors to spread disinformation" in this regard.

Many of these conspiracy theories favor Trump, who is head-to-head with Democrat Biden in Florida, a crucial state in the Nov. 3 election.

Hispanics in Florida make up 17 percent of a 14 million voter electorate.

Biden, the Jewish community, and African Americans have been the subject of disinformation.

Venezuelan radio host Carines Moncada of Actualidad Radio, a mainstream Spanish-language outlet in Miami, recently associated the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement with witchcraft.

According to the public radio WLRN, Moncada told listeners that Black Lives Matter practices "'lo negro' -- witchcraft and devil worship -- and wants to burn down your property and kill police officers." She then added that a vote for Biden "supports that rape and anarchy."

On her Facebook, Moncada reposted and translated an article from News Punch, an outlet known for disinformation, which claimed a co-founder of BLM practices witchcraft because activist Patrisse Cullors said in an interview that her movement was "spiritual."

"These kinds of barbarisms are said constantly," Roberto R. Tejera, a journalist and host on the same station as Moncada, told the Sun Sentinel. "It's sort of the daily bread of Spanish radio."

In another instance in September, local newspaper El Nuevo Herald -- the Spanish version of the Miami Herald -- had to remove the weekly Libre insert aimed at Cubans in Florida after a reader protested its anti-Semitic and racist content.

A Cuban columnist had written in the insert that the police protests were "racial prostitution" and that Jewish Americans were "cowards" for supporting BLM.

Another columnist, also Cuban, spoke of LGBTQ people in derogatory terms and denounced a supposed "gay lobby" backed by international communism.

Miami's Radio Caracol 1260 also had to apologize in August after state senator Annette Taddeo called out a paid segment in which the announcer predicted "a dictatorship of Jews and Blacks" if Biden won the presidency.

"This disgusting message, spread by Trump supporters, went out today on Miami @Carasol1260," Taddeo tweeted.

She added: "Everyone -- regardless of party affiliation -- is obligated to repudiate and condemn this pro-Nazi and racist discourse."

How Florida holds the key to the US election and where do Donald Trump, Joe Biden stand
1/7

According to Reuters, Florida is widely seen as a must-win for Trump, whose path to victory becomes razor-thin if he loses the southern state. The state's prize of 29 electoral votes is tied with New York for third most, behind only California and Texas, in the race for the 270 Electoral College votes that determine the presidential winner under the U.S. system. Both campaigns have poured advertising money into Florida, although Biden, who has significantly outraised Trump since the summer while setting consecutive monthly records for a U.S. candidate, has outspent his Republican rival.

According to Reuters, Florida is widely seen as a must-win for Trump, whose path to victory becomes razor-thin if he loses the southern state. The state's prize of 29 electoral votes is tied with New..
Read More

According to a report by NYT. with Florida again looking pivotal in the presidential race, Donald Trump and Joe Biden have found themselves revisiting a decades-old question that could decide a crucial share of votes: What to do about Cuba? If recent polling holds, analysts said, Mr. Trump could win 60 percent of the Cuban-American vote — surpassing the estimated 50 percent to 54 percent he won in the 2016 election. “Trump has gone through the roof with the poll numbers from Hispanics,” the president told a group of Cuban-American supporters at the White House last month. “I guess they didn’t know I love you, but I do.”

According to a report by NYT. with Florida again looking pivotal in the presidential race, Donald Trump and Joe Biden have found themselves revisiting a decades-old question that could decide a cruci..
Read More

Even as the race in Florida has tightened, it remains to be seen whether the Cuba issue is still potent enough, almost 62 years after the revolution, to help swing the state and its 29 electoral votes; along with New York, Florida has the third-largest number of electoral votes, after California and Texas.

Even as the race in Florida has tightened, it remains to be seen whether the Cuba issue is still potent enough, almost 62 years after the revolution, to help swing the state and its 29 electoral vote..
Read More

"The big thing for me is the coronavirus because that is killing a lot of people and it's getting worse," said Zec, 69, who lives with his 72-year-old wife in Sarasota on Florida's west coast. He said several of his friends and relatives had fallen sick from the virus, and some ended up in intensive care. The way the president dealt with his own infection, stage-managing his return from hospital to the White House in a helicopter, did not help sway his opinion either. Opinion polls suggest that this voting group in a traditional Republican stronghold are slowly moving closer to supporting Trump's opponent, Democrat Joe Biden.

"The big thing for me is the coronavirus because that is killing a lot of people and it's getting worse," said Zec, 69, who lives with his 72-year-old wife in Sarasota on Florida's west coast. He sai..
Read More

The biggest influencer has been Mr. Trump himself. His warnings that the Democrats will deliver America to socialism, while silly to some voters, have been repeated constantly in advertising and social-media posts that target Florida refugees from Venezuela and Nicaragua as well as Cuba. The purported threat of self-described democratic socialists like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been a staple theme of that campaign, which has established at least a notional coherence between Mr. Trump’s domestic politics and his bellicose stance toward leftist regimes in Latin America.

The biggest influencer has been Mr. Trump himself. His warnings that the Democrats will deliver America to socialism, while silly to some voters, have been repeated constantly in advertising and soci..
Read More

"We have 10 days. And, you know, nothing worries me. I think we're doing just very well. If you look at the numbers in Florida, we're way ahead where we were four years ago, right? Way ahead where we were four years ago. I think I can say that everywhere else. In North Carolina, we're way ahead where we were four years ago. I think it's very good. I don't know if it's a hidden vote. I don't know exactly what it is," Trump said.

"We have 10 days. And, you know, nothing worries me. I think we're doing just very well. If you look at the numbers in Florida, we're way ahead where we were four years ago, right? Way ahead where we..
Read More

According to an AFP report, just before the US presidential election, conspiracy theories, racist posts and disinformation are targeting Hispanic voters in Florida, a key constituency in the battleground state. A purported election fraud concocted by Democrats, an alleged plot among Jewish, Black and LGBTQ people to interfere in the election: these are some of the stories that have spread among voters in the United States, and among Florida Latinos in particular. Last month, US representatives Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Joaquin Castro asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate the spike in disinformation directed at Latinos in South Florida and to "consider efforts of foreign actors to spread disinformation" in this regard. Many of these conspiracy theories favor Donald Trump, who is head-to-head with Democrat Joe Biden in Florida, a crucial state in the November 3 election.

According to an AFP report, just before the US presidential election, conspiracy theories, racist posts and disinformation are targeting Hispanic voters in Florida, a key constituency in the battlegr..
Read More

Download
The Economic Times Business News App
for the Latest News in Business, Sensex, Stock Market Updates & More.
Download
The Economic Times News App
for Quarterly Results, Latest News in ITR, Business, Share Market, Live Sensex News & More.
READ MORE
ADVERTISEMENT

READ MORE:

LOGIN & CLAIM

50 TIMESPOINTS

More from our Partners

Loading next story
Text Size:AAA
Success
This article has been saved

*

+