Haitian American voters targeted in new ad highlighting Trump's attacks on community

By Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald on

Published in Political News

MIAMI - A pro-immigrant group that is lambasting President Donald Trump in battleground states for what it says is racist anti-Asian rhetoric is now turning its attention to the Haitian American community in Florida.

Created by Immigrants List Civic Action Inc., the 54-second radio and TV ad in English and Haitian-Creole is called the "Greatest Threat" and attempts to use Trump's own words against him. It starts airing Wednesday in Haitian American communities throughout Florida ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

The spot follows a similar release, "Words Matter," targeting Asian American voters in Florida, Michigan and other battleground states. That ad was released in August.

"The whole point is Immigrants List Civic Action Inc. is trying to get new Americans out to vote basically in different immigrant communities," said Ira Kurzban, an immigration lawyer and the founder and chairman of the organization.

The group plans to release similar ads targeting Puerto Rican, Cuban American, Venezuelan American and Arab American voters in the coming days, he said.

"The idea obviously is, we believe if these people come out to vote and vote in their own interest, they are going to stop Trump and vote him out of office," Kurzban said. "I honestly believe that the Haitian American vote is critical in Florida because the election in Florida is going to be very close. There is some ambivalence, that's inexplicable, in the Hispanic community because why would they want to substitute one authoritarian for another? That's why I think the Haitian vote is more and more important."


Despite that recognition, Haitian community organizers and radio hosts have expressed frustration with the Democratic Party and Joe Biden's presidential campaign, which they accuse of ignoring the community and not doing enough to reach voters, including spending money on media buys.

Last week, Karine Jean-Pierre, the chief of staff to Biden's vice presidential pick, Sen. Kamala Harris, called into several Haitian community radio stations in Miami to talk about the campaign. While the call was welcomed, critics noted that two particular stations with a large reach, Radio Mega 1700 AM, which extends all the way to Central Florida, and Radio Piman Bouk were not among the line-up.

"If you want me to fight for you, I have to know what I am fighting for," said Nelson Voltaire, who runs Radio Piman Bouk, which is one of the popular stations in the Haitian community and has a loyal following.

Voltaire, who owns WQVN 1360 AM and said he recently bought WKAT 1450 AM, said he hasn't received any ad buys from the Biden campaign and has no intention of mobilizing his listeners on behalf of the party, even though he's a Democrat.


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