Florida Latino Leaders Say NO MAS Lies, Disinformation and White Supremacy

On January 11th, Congress filed articles of impeachment against the current president for inciting the insurrection of an extremist  mob that attacked and laid siege to the US Capitol, disrupting the certification of the electoral college, threatening the safety of everyone inside, and claiming five lives.

While events at the US Capitol were shocking to many, it was the long-expected outcome of the incendiary, disinformation and hate-filled rhetoric that has characterized the Trump presidency - most recently as it related to the uncontested election results in favor of President-elect Joe Biden.

As Latino leaders in the state of Florida, we spent the last several months ensuring a fair and equitable election for all Floridians. We not only worked through a pandemic to ensure access for all voters, but did so under the threat of violence at campaign events and polling sites. Rather than support our efforts, Republican leaders like Senator Marco Rubio praised the Trump supporters who ran a Biden-Harris bus off the road in Texas and stayed silent when a known terrorist group, the Proud Boys, surrounded and threatened a pro-Biden/Harris caravan in Downtown Miami. We witnessed the vicious lies that were spread across Spanish language media that degraded the public discourse.

Despite these tactics, voters cast their ballots, the states insured the vote, and judges in the 60+ lawsuits, including the Supreme Court, rendered judgement. We are indignant that these same Republican Representatives moved to undermine democracy and a peaceful transition of power by attempting to block the certification of the 2020 elections. They outrageously opted to side with the extremist Trump loyalists and gave credence to unfounded rumors of voter fraud. Only hours after the insurrection and seizure of the Capitol that left five people dead, almost half of the GOP used their legislative power to legitimize the unfounded grievances of white nationalists. This was especially egregious from Latino lawmakers who frequently reference their own families' histories of fleeing dictatorship yet failed to uphold democracy here.

In the days that followed, Republican representatives distanced themselves from the violence while taking no responsibility for their part in fomenting it. Time and again, we’ve seen this lame duck administration and its enablers invoke the need to sustain the “rule of law and order” while emboldening white nationalist extremists. Saying Muslims should not be allowed in this country, warning people of invasions from immigrants, encouraging chants of “send them back” and calling white supremacists and neonazis “very fine people” are all examples of rhetoric that inspires hate and violence. Shame!

South Florida is largely made up of first generation immigrants who themselves fled political violence. Spanish-language media should be a life line for native speakers who need to understand the issues impacting them. Yet throughout the 2020 cycle, many Spanish language outlets enabled the spread of dangerous misinformation.  Even now, many are blaming antifa and Black Lives Matter activists for the violence in Washington DC with zero factual evidence. We call on Spanish language media outlets to uphold a higher standard of journalistic standards, and immediately stop amplifying voices that spread white nationalist ideology, anti-Blackness and extremism that undermines our democracy.

Time and time again we have seen hateful rhetoric can have deadly consequences. Rhetoric mainstreaming attacks on immigrants resulted in deadly domestic terrorism in El Paso, and the rhetoric that incited violence in DC last week must be shut down. Attempts to minimize the white nationalist violence that occurred in DC last week where 5 people died is inexcusable.Right wing pundits blaming antifa and BLM for an action that was motivated by the President himself is a new low. To compare this assault on democracy to the nationwide protests in defense of Black lives is a gross mischaracterization that willfully ignores the history of this nation, and the double standard that perpetuates the criminalization of Black lives and brutalization of activists and minimizes and tolerates the danger posed by armed white insurrectionists.

We call on Latino focused and Spanish language outlets to
-ensure program editors and producers fact check content to ensure their reporters are putting out fact based information
-take actions to hold pundits fully accountable for promoting hate speech and disseminating positions with no factual basis
-have production and booking team to integrate more regular and newer Latinx voices into their program to represent ourselves and our experiences
-tell the stories of Afro-Latinos and the discrimination they face, and include more Afro-Latino voices in front of and behind the camera,
-take actions to educate themselves on the diversity of this country, and put resources behind stories that highlight the diverse and complicated history of democracy and racial justice in the U.S.  

Our civic discourse should not seek to amplify hateful voices that lead to violent attempts to undermine the will of the people and instead promote a deeper analysis, centering voices that are often neglected or dismissed. We are clear that our community must take immediate and bold measures to address its legacy of racism and the institutions that uphold white supremacy. We stand with those who protest the killing of unarmed Black people and cruel separation and mass incarceration of immigrant children and their parents. We stand with those who are seeking to build a more just and equal nation and protect the health of our people and our planet. We stand with those who will defend journalistic integrity and democratic ideals.

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