Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s new play on Broadway, On Your Feet!, is bringing more Latino actors into the theater. This is a BIG deal — huge even — because for the better part of Broadway’s history, Latino actors were almost non existent.
“In the past, shows were written about Hispanics (West Side Story), but not by Hispanics,” as Raul Reyes writes for NBC News. “Nor was it unusual for a show with Latino characters not to hire any actual Latino actors.”
¿Qué, qué? That’s correct. And since ticket have generally been on the pricey side for these Latino plays sans Latinos, Latino audiences weren’t exactly rushing to grab a seat.
Luckily, with On Your Feet! and other plays featuring Latinos, like Hamilton, this is only the beginning for because we now see Broadway “can’t control itself any longer.”
One of the big surprises of the 2020 election was how even though most Latino voters across the U.S. voted for Joe Biden, in some counties of competitive states like Florida and Texas, a higher-than-expected percentage of Latinos supported Donald Trump. One factor that many believe played a role: online misinformation about the Democratic candidate.
Another important subject that’s been victim of a massive misinformation campaign is the Coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing vaccination program. But why does #fakenews so heavily target the Latino community?
Since the 2020 campaign, a large misinformation campaign has target Latinos.
Although fake news is nothing new, in the campaign leading up to the 2020 elections it morphed into something more sinister – a campaign to influence Latino voters with false information. The largely undetected movement helped depress turnout and spread disinformation about Democrat Joe Biden.
The effort showed how social media and other technology can be leveraged to spread misinformation so quickly that those trying to stop it cannot keep up. There were signs that it worked as Donald Trump swung large numbers of Latino votes in the 2020 presidential race in some areas that had been Democratic strongholds.
Videos and pictures were doctored. Quotes were taken out of context. Conspiracy theories were fanned, including that voting by mail was rigged, that the Black Lives Matter movement had ties to witchcraft and that Biden was beholden to a cabal of socialists.
That flow of misinformation has only intensified since Election Day, researchers and political analysts say, stoking Trump’s baseless claims that the election was stolen and false narratives around the mob that overran the Capitol. More recently, it has morphed into efforts to undermine vaccination efforts against the coronavirus.
The misinformation campaign could have major impacts on our politics.
Several misinformation researchers say there is an alarming amount of misinformation about voter fraud and Democratic leaders being shared in Latino social media communities. Biden is a popular target, with misinformation ranging from exaggerated claims that he embraces Fidel Castro-style socialism to more patently false and outlandish ones, for instance that the president-elect supports abortion minutes before a child’s birth or that he orchestrated a caravan of Cuban immigrants to infiltrate the US Southern border and disrupt the election process.
Democratic strategists looking ahead to the 2022 midterm elections are concerned about how this might sway Latino voters in the future. They acknowledge that conservatives in traditional media and the political establishment have pushed false narratives as well, but say that social media misinformation deserves special attention: It appears to be a growing problem, and it can be hard to track and understand.
Some believe that Latinos may be more likely to believe a message shared by friends, family members, or people from their cultural community in a WhatsApp or Telegram group rather than an arbitrary mainstream US news outlet; research has found that people believe news articles more when they’re shared by people they trust.
Fake news is also impacting our community’s response to the pandemic.
Vaccination programs work best when as many people as possible get vaccinated, but Latinos in the United States are getting inoculated at lower rates.
In Florida, for example, Latinos are 27% of the population but they’ve made up only about 17% of COVID-19 vaccinations so far, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. And Latinos are relying on social media and word-of-mouth for information on vaccines — even when it’s wrong. There’s myths circulating around the vaccine, whether you can trust it and the possible the long-term effects.
And it’s not just obstacles to getting information in Spanish, but also in many of the native Mayan indigenous languages that farmworkers speak in South Florida.
In a bombshell episode of “Red Table Talk: The Estefans”, superstar Mexican actress Kate del Castillo went on the record about the event that changed the course of her life: her meeting with the notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
In an episode entitled “Surviving Betrayal: Kate del Castillo’s Comeback”, the telenovela star attempts to clear her name.
As background, del Castillo attracted global attention when the media discovered that she had been talking to and visiting with El Chapo after his 2015 escape from prison. According to del Castillo, their entire relationship (which she insists was strictly platonic) was sparked by a message she Tweeted out in which she said: “Today I believe more in El Chapo Guzman than in the governments that hide truths from me.” Emboldened by this state, El Chapo took it upon himself to contact the telenovela actress, whom he had long admired, for a meeting.
Del Castillo insisted that the meeting was purely business-related.
Del Castillo told El Chapo she wanted to make a movie about his life, and he agreed. Soon enough, Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn expressed his interest in the movie. And before they knew it, Penn, his producers, and del Castillo all hopped on a private jet to meet El Chapo.
It was at this meeting that Penn conducted his infamous “Rolling Stone” interview with El Chapo–an interview that del Castillo helped translate. Del Castillo told the Estefans that El Chapo was staring at her with a massive smile on his face the whole time she was there–he only had eyes for her.
At the end of the night, El Chapo showed her to the room she would be staying in. “We didn’t even know that we were going to stay there!” del Castillo told the Estefans. “I thought I was going to be raped and definitely killed or something like that. He could’ve done whatever the hell he wanted to.” But El Chapo left her alone and the visit ended shortly after that.
Del Castillo claims that her and Penn got out of there in the nick of time. “Literally 24-hours after we left, the military came in and started shooting,” she said.
Although del Castillo left the meeting with her life intact, her future was forever changed.
Del Castillo was charged by the Mexican government with obstruction of justice and money laundering. Sean Penn, however, struck a deal with “Rolling Stone” to be covered under journalism laws–he and his producing partners got off scott-free.
More than anything, del Castillo felt betrayed and foolish that she was used as a pawn by Sean Penn. “When all of us committed the same crime, why was I the only one with charges?” del Castillo asked the Estefans. Not only was del Castillo embroiled in legal controversy, but a media circus cropped up around her as well.
Rumors of a romance between her and El Chapo abounded–rumors that she vehemently denies.
Del Castillo choked up as she explains the torture that her parents went through in those days. “[The press] were saying that I was ‘la puta del Chapo’. That I had business with him, that I was laundering money.” But del Castillo says her parents always stood by her and never believed the rumors.
Because of the ordeal, Kate del Castillo was forced to flee Mexico, leaving her family, friends, and career behind. She has now taken up residence in Los Angeles. But del Castillo feels anything but safe. “I got a gun, and I sleep with my gun next to me,” she revealed. She believes that the Mesican government is embarassed that she was able to locate El Chapo before they were. “Everybody here knows that if something happens to me or my family, it’s not el cartel. It’s going to be the Mexican government,” she said.
To this day, there is no evidence that El Chapo ever paid del Castillo any money. But still, del Castillo has not returned to Mexico. Check out the “Red Table Talk: the Estefans” episode, “Surviving Betrayal: Kate del Castillo’s Comeback” here.