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Latino Republican support for Trump is still going strong in Florida

MIAMI — Three months into Joe Biden’s presidency, enthusiasm for his predecessor is still going strong amongst Latino Republicans in Florida.

The South Florida-based Patriotas con Trump, or Patriots with Trump, has held a number of rallies exterior Mar-a-Lago, members ship messages all day in their WhatsApp group, and a smaller group of 10 meet frequently to brainstorm methods to recruit extra members — and assist get Republicans elected in 2022. They’re additionally waiting for 2024.

“We are Republican, but what we really like is what Trump promotes,” Laureano Chileuitt, the group’s chief, stated. A doctor, Chileuitt practiced neurosurgery in his native Colombia till he got here to the U.S. in 2001.

“That’s why we consider him our caudillo,” Chileuitt stated, utilizing the Spanish phrase for strongman. While the time period has a unfavourable connotation in the U.S., it would not for Chileuitt. “It just means he’s ‘the leader,’ like Uribe,” he stated, referring to Álvaro Uribe, the right-wing former president of Colombia. “We are anti-globalization and anti-communism.”

Fueling such enthusiasm is the polarizing politics in Latin America, extra choices in conservative Spanish-language media, the presence of the Trump household in Florida and a state governor that is still a detailed ally of the previous president. 

Today, many in Miami still talk about Trump as typically as they did when he was president. Like Patriotas con Trump, many small grassroots teams that sprung up throughout the election interval are still energetic.

“Trump has not lost much support in this community,” Eduardo Gamarra, a Florida International University political scientist, stated after conducting a ballot for a non-public shopper.

Trump and Republicans made substantial gains among these groups in the 2020 election. The largest shift towards Republicans was amongst non-Cuban and non-Puerto Rican Latinos, and that’s the place a number of the passion is concentrated now.

Latin America’s heavy influence

Venezuela’s ongoing disaster, Nicaragua’s human rights scenario, Argentina’s return to leftist populism, and Peru’s runoff elections, with a socialist main in the polls, all affect Latinos right here and sharpen their deal with Trump.

While few Latinos cite U.S. international coverage when polled about voting preferences, Gamarra finds communities in Florida are being influenced by politics in their dwelling nations.

Trump is considered by his worldwide supporters, particularly in Latin America, as a key ally in the anti-Communist struggle. And in a state the place Latinos have a strong connection to household and associates again dwelling, the nexus between Trump and supporters of the Latin American proper is strengthening.  

A obvious instance is Colombia’s political polarization forward of their upcoming presidential elections —scheduled for six months earlier than the U.S. midterm elections — and its impact on Colombian-Americans in Florida. Amid the delicate and tenuous peace deal between the federal government and members of FARC, the nation’s former Marxist insurgent group, inner battle grows. Leading in the polls is the leftist presidential candidate and former rebel, Gustavo Petro.

“That is radicalizing the Colombian right. Colombians believe the next president will be pro-Chavez, which fits right into the narrative here,” Gamarra stated. “Because Colombians are facing this more directly than other groups, they are driving the conservative momentum in Miami right now.”

Dominicans, although a small group in Florida, are additionally being affected by the politics in their dwelling nation. The nation’s president lately introduced plans to construct a wall alongside the border with Haiti to assist curb unlawful immigration. 

“There is a significant group of Dominicans who belong to social democratic parties back home, but are swayed by the conservative Trump-immigration policies,” Gamarra stated.

While there is unity among the many Latin American left, the proper is much less cohesive, however they do see Trump as a associate in combating socialism. It compliments the narrative that Republicans pushed in 2020 and are prone to proceed hammering — that Democrats are veering too far to the left and can drive the U.S. to spoil.

Evangelicals and conservative media amplifies the movement

With social media and apps like WhatsApp and Telegram, the backwards and forwards between relations in Latin America and Florida flows uninterrupted. They share information articles, movies and memes. And previous to the November elections, they had been a primary supply of disinformation, one thing that persists, maybe with much less depth although.

In addition to the politics, there is additionally a non secular element amongst a few of those that support Trump. Evangelical church leaders are taking part in a big position in conservatism in Latin America and right here. It’s evident in Facebook teams supporting Trump, the place messages in Spanish putting a non secular tone are frequent. In focus teams, evangelical Venezuelans say they consider Trump is “the chosen one” and “he was sent here — he is the direct voice of God,” Gamarra said. 

At least one former top adviser to Trump has tried to solidify the international right, including in Latin America. Steve Bannon has tried to put together a coalition of global like-minded politicians through his nationalist group, The Movement. Eduardo Bolsonaro, the lawmaker son of right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, joined Bannon’s group as its Latin America representative. At a dinner in 2020 with populist leaders from Europe and Latin America, Eduardo Verástegui, an actor who served as an adviser to the Trump White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative, expressed intentions to run for president in Mexico.

At the same time, the pool of conservative news outlets and voices has grown in recent years. The Epoch Times Media Group, a news organization started two decades ago by practitioners of Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual practice persecuted by the Chinese government, now has a digital site in Spanish. Prior to the 2020 elections, the newspaper took a pro-Trump position and at times pushed conspiracy theories. 

El American, a conservative news site geared toward Latinos, available in Spanish and English, has also emerged recently. Its editorial board states that the U.S. “is being burned down by moral relativism, postmodernism and Marxist ideas. We are in a cultural war, and we know how this war could end. Many of us fled Marxism. We know that if America falls, there is no other place on earth for Freedom.”

In Florida, veteran journalist Marian de la Fuente, who spent years as a news anchor on Telemundo (which is part of NBCUniversal, parent company of NBC News), now hosts a show on Miami’s America TeVé with a more conservative tone. The parent company of the network, America CV, is being criticized by Democrats for its intent to purchase Radio Caracol, an AM station. Democrats say Spanish-language media in Miami is dominated by Republicans, and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus are pressing the Federal Communications Commission to reject the deal. They accuse America CV of wanting to turn the radio station to a right-leaning outlet after a former mayor and liberal voice of the station was fired.

Despite Latino Republicans’ enthusiasm for the former president, some believe that while Trump will have a lasting impact on GOP politics and the culture he established, his influence will become weaker over time.

“Because a number of Trumpism is not a lot about coverage, and it is not deeply substantive, it will not have the identical energy that some assume it should,” former Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Florida Republican, said.

“In the quick time period, this is undoubtedly one thing that Republicans need to be taught to cope with. Republicans will cater to a few of these Trump themes and the support that still exists for him amongst his base,” Curbelo said, adding that for some Latinos it’s also a rejection of the shift to the left that they perceive from the Democratic Party. 

Two years after Andreina Kissane co-founded the group Venezuelan-American Republican Alliance, or VARA, the focus is still around Trump.

She said that Biden offering Venezuelans temporary protected status was only an attempt to attract Venezuelans. “Trump continues to be the only solution for Venezuela’s problems,” she said, adding that those who support Biden are only thinking of “personal solutions without understanding the danger this constitutes.” She believes Biden is a “puppet of the agenda of the worldwide reset and new world order.”

Her group will meet next week for a panel discussion on the U.S. Constitution, religion and packing the U.S. Supreme Court, which she compared to what the Venezuelan socialist leader, Hugo Chávez, did with the courts while in power. 

“All we are able to do is stay agency in our conviction and our love for God to avoid wasting our nations,” she said.

Chileuitt, with Patriotas con Trump, is expanding and creating an additional group with supporters from a retirement community. The Patriotas con Trump WhatsApp chats have drawn in members from as far as Latin America, Spain and Australia.

Referring to the Biden administration as “communists and anarchists,” Chileuitt said that for security reasons he and others have put away the Trump flags and signs. “But individuals are still involved over the way forward for this nation.”

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