Things That Matter

Joe Biden Released A New Platform Regarding Puerto Rico And Hopes To See The Island Get The Respect It Deserves

Vice President Joe Biden didn’t hold back when lambasting the Trump administration’s mishandling of Puerto Rico in an op-ed for the Orlando Sentinel. Biden called for an overhaul of the federal government’s treatment of the territory, insisting that Puerto Ricans are American citizens and should be treated as such. 

The former vice president suggested Trump unleashed “the evils of bigotry and callous inhumanity,” with his response to Hurricane Maria. He also called for increasing the minimum wage to $15, creating a federally sourced technical infrastructure for the island in much need of rebuilding, and tripling funding for Title I schools

Placing the opinion piece in a local Florida paper may demonstrate Biden’s campaign efforts to reach Latinx voters, considering the high population of Latinxs with Carribean ancestry in the state.  Following the release of his plan, 25 Puerto Rican leaders endorsed his candidacy. 

Governor Alejandro García Padilla and 24 other Puerto Rican elected officials in Florida including state Rep. Amy Mercado, D-Orlando, and state Sen. Vic Torres, D-Kissimmee endorsed Biden today, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

Biden wants to provide structure to a Hurricane Maria-wrecked Puerto Rico.

Among calling out his callousness, Biden said Trump “abandoned his responsibility” to provide aid and recovery support to the island after Hurricane Maria. 

“His behavior after Maria — lying about relief efforts, blocking aid, mocking survivors, robbing the island of the assistance it’s legally entitled to — is a stain on our nation. His actions insult the memory of the estimated nearly 3,000 souls who died during and after the storm, as well as the over one million who have struggled without power in the wreckage,” Biden wrote in the Orlando paper. 

The VP called for a federal effort to rebuild the island along with the trust of the U.S. citizens who live there. Biden praises the fortitude and mobilizations of Puerto Ricans who have continued to speak truth to power and sought to repair an island wounded by governmental neglect and natural disasters. 

If elected, Biden will create a federal working group to provide resources and technical support to the island. 

“To ensure that supporting Puerto Rico is an Administration-wide priority, the working group will consist of advisers designated by each federal agency and led by a point person who will report directly to me,” he wrote. 

Biden wants mainland companies to invest in Puerto Rico. 

A special section of the VP’s $1.3 trillion infrastructure plan along with efforts to get mainland companies to invest in Puerto Rico will fund roads, bridges, powerlines, and broadband access to the island, while providing tens of thousands of new jobs, according to Biden. A part of this plan is also investing in entrepreneurs who already live on the island. 

“I will expand programs that support island entrepreneurs and small businesses, like the State Small Business Credit Initiative, which has drawn tens of millions of dollars in new investment on the island, and programs that will further ignite economic growth like the New Markets Tax Credit program,” Biden wrote. 

Biden’s plan, like many candidates, is moderate and uses the language of fostering change without really using the necessary language of reckoning with the past. 

Does Biden support statehood in Puerto Rico? It’s unclear.

As Latino Rebels noted in his plan, there is “no specific mention of Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, the island-colony’s Fiscal Control Board or current reframing or revisiting of PROMESA, including a cancellation of debt. It also makes no mention of the Jones Act or its possible repeal. The words ‘colony’ or ‘colonialism’ aren’t in the opinion piece either. Neither are words like ‘statehood’ or ’51st state.’”

PR51st does, however, note that in 2012 Biden seemed to support statehood and encouraged Puerto Ricans to fight for statehood. 

“I have always found Puerto Rico’s current political status as something very bizarre. My word of advice to you, and all Puerto Ricans, is that you continue to fight hard until you reach your goal of equality, and we shall act,” Biden said in 2012.

PR51st says Biden “probably does” support statehood. In the Washington Post’s assessment of candidates’ stances, Biden is the only candidate labeled “unclear/no response.” The three other major frontrunners Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg are in the “let them decide” column. 

Biden ends his op-ed with a call to defeat Trump as the only path forward for any chance to save Puerto Rico in the near future at all. 

“So we must defeat Donald Trump. It’s the foundation on which every other policy, and every hope of progress across our nation, depends. It’s the single most important political act that we, together as Americans, can take — to rebuild Puerto Rico, and to rescue the character of our nation,” he wrote. 

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The Miami Herald Apologizes For Including Racist, Anti-Semitic Insert In Newspaper

Things That Matter

The Miami Herald Apologizes For Including Racist, Anti-Semitic Insert In Newspaper

@BillCorben / Twitter

Readers of the Miami Herald and the El Nuevo Herald noticed a racist and anti-Semitic insert in one of the latest editions. The column in the insert compared BLM activists to Nazis while talking down about the Jewish community.

The Miami Herald recently published a racist and anti-Semitic insert.

The offensive piece, written by Cuban exile Roberto Luque Escalona, received harsh and immediate backlash. Escalona expresses his displeasure for the Jewish community and those seeking racial justice by joining BLM with one column.

“What kind of people are these Jews” writes Escalona. He then continues to “teach” Jewish people the history of the Holocaust and claims that BLM supporters are worse than the Nazis during Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, because the Nazis simply destroyed things and didn’t steal.

The newspaper has apologized for the insert going so far as to admit that it was not properly vetted and that “internal failures” were at play.

According to an open letter, higher ups at the Miami Herald admit to the insert not being read and vetted by the staff. The obvious overlook led to a 40-page insert of right-wing propaganda to be distributed to the readers of both the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald. Since the publication, the Miami Herald claims to have ended their relationship with Libre, the insert with the racist and anti-Semitic content.

Those responsible at the Miami Herald admitted to not reading the insert before it was distributed.

“We are deeply sorry that inflammatory, racist and anti-Semitic commentary reached our el Nuevo Herald subscribers through LIBRE, a Spanish-language publication that paid our company to have the product printed and inserted into our print edition as a weekly supplement,” reads part of an open letter to readers. “The fact that no one in leadership, beginning with us, had previously read this advertising insert until this issue was surfaced by a reader is distressing. It is one of a series of internal failures that we are investigating in order to prevent this from ever recurring.”

Readers are outraged that the newspaper would allow such offensive things to be published and distributed.

The right-wing conspiracies pushed by Libre are part of a larger Spanish-language disinformation campaign targeting Cubans in southern Florida. The community has been inundated with disinformation ahead of the 2020 election preying on the fears and ignorance within the staunchly conservative Cuban community.

“It’s difficult to measure the effect exactly, but the polling sort of shows it and in focus groups it shows up, with people deeply questioning the Democrats, and referring to the ‘deep state’ in particular — that there’s a real conspiracy against the president from the inside,” Eduardo Gamarra, a pollster and director of the Latino Public Opinion Forum at Florida International University, told Politico. “There’s a strain in our political culture that’s accustomed to conspiracy theories, a culture that’s accustomed to coup d’etats.”

The disinformation is targeting Cubans because of the growing Latino communities who tend to vote Democratic.

According to Politico, the campaign is Cuban specific. The Puerto Rican, Nicaraguan, Colombian, Venezuelan, and Dominican communities in Florida, which continue to grow, typically vote Democratic. These shifting demographics have left Republicans doing anything it takes to keep a strong hold of the Cuban community, even by means of racism, anti-Semitism, and disinformation.

READ: Politicians Need To Stop Assuming That The Latino Vote Is A Monolith Because It Is Not The Truth

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Latinos For Trump Posted A Collage Of Flag For Hispanic Heritage Month And Got Some Wrong

Culture

Latinos For Trump Posted A Collage Of Flag For Hispanic Heritage Month And Got Some Wrong

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Latinos for Trump has long been a confusing organization in the Latino community. President Donald Trump has built his administration and brand to be squarely against people of color. Now, the Latinos for Trump group caused a stir when they posted a collage of flags that are not quite right.

Latinos for Trump really thought they had something when they posted their Hispanic Heritage Month collage.

The first, and most obvious mistake, is that the Mexican flag is backwards. The flag is supposed to be green, white, and red in that order. As we can all see, the collage has a Mexican flag that is red, white, and green. The eagle is even facing the wrong way so someone literally flipped the flag the wrong way.

Of course, some people tried to make sense of the bizarre Mexican flag snafu.

Last year, the Trump administration announced that it was cutting aid to three countries in Central America. The countries were El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Fox & Friends picked up the story but told their audience that Trump was cutting aid to “3 Mexican countries.” Perhaps this Twitter user is right and the Latinos for Trump are trying to suggest the existence of other Mexicos.

Someone else pointed out the issues with the Guatemalan flag in the top right corner.

People are very defensive about their cultural heritage and national origin. Messing up someone’s flag is a very serious issue for people. Just ask a Cuban or Puerto Rican about people confusing their flags. It is never a good thing.

Some people fixed the image for them so the organization can see what it should have looked like.

Good, clean lines with all of the flags facing the right way. The creator even changed the message in the middle for the Latino community. It is clear that social media is still willing to show up and teach a couple of lessons here and there.

Others had a more direct message for Latinos for Trump.

We all know that social media is where things go to be manipulated and made fun of. It is very important that if you make something for social media that you take good care to make sure that you check all of the right boxes and execute your work right the first time.

READ: In A Seriously Awkward Announcement, Vice President Pence Went To Florida To Launch A ‘Latinos For Trump’ Coalition

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