George Soros is a very smart man. He’s an expert in the art of slowly but steadily effecting policy changes in the U.S., because he understands that big change happens locally.
In the last decade, his goal was a “progressive” reform of criminal justice. How would you achieve that? By donating millions to members of the House and Senate who have hardly agreed on a single piece of significant legislation over that whole period? Of course not. George Soros quietly donated his way into dozens of district attorneys offices in some of the biggest cities in America.
What was the goal a few years later? Changing the education system. He again poured millions into NGOs and think tanks to “advise” local school boards with DEI programs and the like.
Now, George Soros seems to have a different target: Hispanic media.
Democrats are wise to be worried about the state of the Hispanic vote. A recent YouGov poll showed that in a hypothetical Trump vs. Biden election, 38 percent of Hispanics would vote for Trump while only 29 percent would vote for Biden. And according to a Quinnipiac poll, only a quarter of Hispanics approve of Biden’s performance as a president.
Enter Latino Media Network, a startup led by two Democratic party operatives, Jess Morales Rocketto and Stephanie Valencia, both of whom worked in the Obama administration, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and the DNC.
The group announced having raised $80 million to break into Latino media, which raised some eyebrows. And who is behind of a large chunk of the funding? Apparently, George Soros. Lakestar Finance, an investment entity affiliated with Soros Fund Management, is providing most of the funding for Latino Media Network.
They started with a splash, announcing a $60 million acquisition of 18 Spanish-speaking radio stations from Televisa-Univisión in the largest Hispanic centers in the U.S. such as Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, which would give them access to about a third of the country’s Hispanics.
The most significant acquisition is that of Radio Mambí, the landmark conservative Hispanic station in Miami, mostly funded and led by Cuban-Americans from South Florida, which had already received threats and calls for censorship by Democratic politicians such as Rep. Darren Soto.
A Radio Mambí insider told El American exclusively that Televisa-Univision had already agreed to sell the stations to Salem Media Group, a Christian media group, for $46 million, but Latino Media Network came with $60 million, and, of course, won the bid. The source told El American that the purchase is nothing but “a desperate move by the Democrats who, in an election year where they have everything to lose, could not afford to let a Christian-conservative broadcaster take a large part of the radio market with reach to the Latino community.”
Of course, Morales Rocketto and Valencia claim that their pursuit is not partisan, which is why they included noted Republican voices among their board of directors, such as Al Cárdenas. Cárdenas is a Republican lobbyist who served as the legal advisor of Derwick Associates, a Venezuelan company that made its founder, Alejandro Betancourt, rich thanks to 11 fraudulent contracts with the Venezuelan regime.
Despite such efforts to keep up appearances, however, the acquisition of Radio Mambí is a clear attempt to silence Hispanic conservative voices.
George Soros operates differently from most billionaire political donors. He largely focuses on local races and politics, trying to spark change at the grassroots level, which takes longer but has deeper, more lasting effects. After all, Americans generally trust that their local bureaucrats and public servants are not ideologues, but normal boring people doing normal boring jobs. Over a decade ago he started donating to local district-attorney races to elect progressive prosecutors who favored bail reform and other progressive policies. Between 2015 and 2019, Soros and his PACs spent over $17 million on district-attorney races, helping to elect some of the most controversial D.A.s in the country, such as George Gascon in Los Angeles, Larry Krasner in Philadelphia, Kim Foxx in Chicago, and now-recalled San Francisco D.A. Chesa Boudin.
And the results are plain for everyone to see. Most of these cities were epicenters of the Defund the Police movement, and crime has increased across the board. Walgreens locations are closing all over San Francisco due to constant shoplifting. There was a 30 percent increase in homicides in 2020 and a 24 percent decrease in arrests across the country. Philadelphia recorded 521 homicides, the most since 1990, and more than New York and L.A. About 75 Soros-funded D.A.s control crime prosecution for 72 million Americans all across the country.
When George Soros puts money into local change in America, two things necessarily follow: success, from Soros’s perspective, and disaster. This makes Soros’s moves on Hispanic media deeply concerning.
Conservative Hispanic media is already scarce. Aside from a few radio stations in South Texas and Miami, the only bilingual conservative Hispanic outlet in the U.S. is El American, a digital outlet that launched in 2020 (where I happen to work), which has also received threats. Evelyn Pérez-Verdia, an advisor of the Nikki Fried campaign, called upon the FBI to investigate El American, while former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell called the outlet a “national security threat.”
What makes the move an obvious attempt to silence conservative Hispanic outlets is the way Radio Mambí is funded. The outlet relies on donations and ads from anti-socialist and conservative Cuban Americans who will no longer contribute. What’s more, according to a source contacted by El American, the station relies heavily on three or four conservative presenters who produce tens of thousands of dollars in ads thanks to their high ratings. Some of them already are threatening to leave; if they do, Radio Mambí will go out of business.
Latino Media Network and Televisa-Univisión are trying to make a smooth transition by promising no changes in the programming and juicy bonuses for some of the station’s stars. If donors, sponsors, and presenters don’t take the bait, however, George Soros just spent $60 million to drive dozens of people out of business and silence alternative voices in the Hispanic communities.
Will this be one of the first times Soros’s money proves ineffective? It is hard to tell, but conservatives across the U.S. would be wise in supporting grassroots media for Hispanics. Only initiative, not inertia, can build a Hispanic conservative coalition.
Edgar Beltrán is a journalist from Venezuela and the deputy editor of El American.