A conservative Spanish-language media network — the first of its kind in the United States — is hoping to take a frontline spot in the battle for Latino voters, an influential bloc that polls suggest is drifting rightwards.
Launched in March, Americano had its first moment in the limelight earlier this month, securing an interview with former US president Donald Trump — an important milestone for any conservative American news source in 2022.
"Our commitment is to be a place that helps to promote the conservative ideology, to be able to win over the Democrats," Americano president Jorge L. Arrizurieta, who is close with former Florida governor Jeb Bush, said bluntly.
According to Arrizurieta, the US media market was missing a right-of-centre Spanish-speaking outlet to act as a foil to left-leaning channels such as Univision, Telemundo and CNN en Español.
Miami-based outlet Americano is broadcast via the Sirius XM satellite radio system and the conservative social network GETTR. This summer, the transmission is set to become available via streaming platforms such as Apple TV.
It hopes to be ready to cover the midterm elections in November and to be well-established by the time the 2024 US presidential election rolls around.
The Hispanic community is positioned to have an influential role in future votes.
In 2020, Latinos represented 13.3 percent of registered voters in the United States, more than Black voters' 12.5 percent, according to Pew Research Center.
And recent polls, including from The Wall Street Journal, have given conservatives a glimmer of hope that Hispanics — who have traditionally supported Democrats – are moving toward the Republican Party.
Against 'socialist agenda'
Maria Herrera Mellado, who interviewed Trump for Americano, is aware of the role the media could play in the ideological battle facing the United States.
"It's very important that we fight to save what remains of this country, because the socialist agenda is very advanced," said Mellado, a lawyer who hosts a show with Jose Aristimuno, a former press officer for the Democratic Party.
"We're sure that, with solid arguments, we'll pull independents — who will define the next elections — toward conservatism," she added.
Eduardo Gamarra, political science professor at Florida International University, gives some credit to the outfit, such as for the fact that it hired him, a Democrat, to take a survey of 1,500 Hispanics when it launched.
Another element in its favour, according to Gamarra, is that Americano has turned to journalists who have appeared on Telemundo, Univision and CNN, a decision "that will give it credibility."
He is still concerned, however, with the presence of some media personalities who have been known to "repeat disinformation."
And Gamarra says some Americano programs seem to have misrepresented the data from his survey, which does not actually show a massive shift of Hispanics to the Republican Party.
Democratic strategist Evelyn Perez-Verdia shares Gamarra's concerns about Americano.
"There are programs that are about more moderate conservatism," she said.
"But there are others that are focused on the people who... I would call the extreme right," said Perez-Verdia, director of We Are Mas, an organisation that studies Spanish-language misinformation.
For Arrizurieta, Americano seeks to be a space that is open to varying voices of conservatism, able to leave internal divisions aside.
A space that depends, he says, on its ability to reach all United States Hispanics — a highly diverse community.
"For our model to succeed, we have to make sure that there is an inclusive representation of the (Hispanic community) in the Western Hemisphere," Arrizurieta said. "We can't be monolithic."
by Gerard Martinez, AFP