False information surrounding Black Lives Matter is being shared by some Hispanics through radio and group chats
A Spanish-language station in Miami shared false information regarding the Black Lives Matter organization.
The New York Times reported that Spanish language radio host Carinés A. Moncada claimed that BLM founders practice “brujería” or witchcraft in an attempt to sway voters. She said that information justified her claims that the movement is destructive. According to the report, the broadcaster learned her information from News Punch, a website that publishes and amplifies conspiracy theories.
“Because they are vibrating with the devil. They are vibrating with negativity. They are vibrating with the dark,” she said, according to the Times. “And whoever votes for [Joe] Biden, unfortunately, is supporting that.”
Moncada shared a link to the post on her social media accounts. The author made the correlation between BLM and witchcraft from an interview where a Black Lives Matter co-founder mentioned the “spirits” of people who have died. Her platform, which boasts over 40,000 followers, and includes South Florida’s mainstream broadcast media, is adding to the influx of false information being spread to Latino voters.
“They feed into real fears, about the pandemic, about socialism and exploiting potential gaps within communities, between the Black community and the Latino community,” Jacobo Licona told the New York Times. Licona works at Equis Labs studying misinformation how misinformation spreads. “There’s misinformation from people not even understanding how they are spreading it, that continues to stoke real tension and anxiety right now.”
The Times reports the efforts made by Moncada and others who use their platforms to share the same fake news stories are a tool to create wider gaps between Black and Latino populations, despite Afro-Latinos accounting for a large amount of the Spanish-speaking population.
WhatsApp, a popular communication app among Latino immigrants to chat with friends and family, is also where a large portion of false media spreads. According to the Times, in Florida, the conversation moves from the group chats into Miami media’s Spanish-language newspapers and radio and television stations. The right-wing hosts and commentators share the misinformation as fact.
“They’re using these chats to lie,” said Evelyn Pérez-Verdía, a Democratic Latino issues strategist in Weston, Florida, to the news outlet. “It’s a massive disinformation campaign. They’re definitely using these crazy tactics that they’ve also used in Latin America.”
Pérez-Verdía said when she has refuted information shared via WhatsApp, she was told she was altering the purpose of the group chat.
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