President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and behavior gets increasingly totalitarian as the time goes by — he’s repeatedly insisted, for example, that Article 2 of the Constitution gives him the power to do “whatever” he wants, although it most certainly does not. Now, the largest Democratic super PAC in the United States, called Priorities USA, is sharing a new slate of ads across social media that explicitly compare Trump to dictators in Spanish-speaking countries, which many Latino communities are all too familiar with. The ads feature personal testimonials from one Cuban and three Venezuelan immigrants who now live in Florida. Their testimonials began rolling out on Monday, which is Presidents Day.
The ads feature “footage of President Donald Trump alongside images of Fidel Castro, Nicolás Maduro and Augusto Pinochet,” the Miami Herald explains. Each of those individuals have led respective reigns of terror in places like Cuba and Venezuela, and in many cases, Trump’s relentlessly self-serving rhetoric and behavior — including, for example, his dismissal of the media as supposed “fake news” conspirators — mirrors them to a troubling extent.
Using the Spanish term for a totalitarian dictator, the new ads include the message:
‘What is a caudillo? An authoritarian. A demagogue. A dictator. Donald Trump does not act like a president. He acts like a caudillo. (It’s not a compliment).’
Besides that, the campaign centers on selfie videos shot by those delivering their testimonials.
One individual, Venezuelan immigrant Virginia Brown, shares:
‘Hugo Chávez did not behave like a president, nor does Donald Trump behave like a president of one of the greatest world powers.’
The Herald notes that Priorities USA Hispanic media director Daniela Martins calls the campaign “organic” and says that it’s “not funded by the political action committee in its current initial phase.”
‘They’re self-produced. It’s people who really just want to share… We’ve started to collect these stories… it’s something we’re hearing grow stronger from people on the ground.’
And they’ve had plenty of sparks to get them thinking. Among the many other examples of Trump’s attempts to completely clamp down on opposition, he’s even “joked” about serving beyond the Constitutionally-mandated two-term limit for presidents. (He never seems to get why so many people might be worried about him “joking” about completely upending U.S. democratic precedent in the name of his ego.)
Evelyn Perez-Verdía, who serves as the Hispanic communications director of the voter outreach organization Forward Florida, commented:
‘Latinos need to open their eyes and not leave their votes up to empty promises… In my home country of Bolivia, we heard the same floating of ideas for a third term so that the president could ‘maintain the progress,’ and then we ended up with 14 years of Evo Morales. Latinos like me have seen this movie before. We’re trying to warn you that we know how it ends.’
At present, Trump’s support among marginalized communities like Hispanic immigrants already tends to be low. In late 2018, Pew Research noted that “Half of Latinos say their situation in the U.S. has worsened over the past year, up from 32% in the weeks after Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election and the highest level since the Great Recession.”