As seen in El American:
Cesar Ybarra is the vice president of policy for FreedomWorks, a libertarian-conservative group that promotes small government, low taxes, free markets, personal liberty and the rule of law.
Ybarra was born in Mexico, specifically in Tijuana, a city on the border with the United States that today is plagued by drug trafficking. That insecurity, which today represents the daily life in that country, was one of the reasons that led Ybarra -and hundreds of thousands of Mexicans- to migrate to the United States, to southern California.
Currently, through FreedomWorks, Ybarra is helping to educate the Latino electorate in the United States. He says the party that best represents the values, ideals and idiosyncrasies of Hispanics is the GOP.
For this reason, his organization has been actively working to strengthen this kind of Latino-Republican alliance that has been gaining strength for the past couple of years. At events such as the Hispanic Grassroots Alliance, held on August 18 in West Palm Beach, Florida, where FreedomWorks was able to meet with the Hispanic community and important members of the conservative world.
Ybarra spoke with El American, and discussed the group’s efforts to organize Latino conservatives, the midterm elections, state Representative Anthony Sabatini’s candidacy for Congress, and the disastrous administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Mexico.
What did you do at the Hispanic Grassroots Alliance event? What were the objectives?
A few months ago, we launched an initiative called the Hispanic Grassroots Alliance, and what we want to do with it is to educate the Hispanic community, not just in Florida, but in all the states, like Texas, Arizona, Colorado, about the conservative policies that we advocate for here at FreedomWorks; issues of education, crime, the economy, free markets, all of that.
Why do we want to educate them on these policies? We have done several surveys here at FreedomWorks and what we have seen is that Hispanics generally support Democratic politicians, but they support conservative legislation and conservative public policies. So, what we want to do is align their conservative values with the proper party, which is the Republican Party.
So we want to build this link between their political affiliation and their conservative one on legislative issues. It is a campaign that we have been doing for several months now, and we are not the only group that is doing that, there are also several other ones that are working on these issues, that is why we call it an alliance, because we want to be part of this conversation and use our resources to move the conservative movement forward.
What are these findings that you have found at FreedomWorks? What are these issues that Latinos care about that you can advocate for in the GOP that you do not get in the Democratic Party?
We did a survey and asked what are the ten things that matter most to you? We did it in three different surveys and in those three surveys the most important issues were: education, crime – that is, peace on the streets – and the economy. Inflation and all that. And the funny thing, although I don’t know if it’s really funny, is that the last thing was always the immigration issue, that is, that these people didn’t care very much about it.
This is interesting because people here in Washington DC, the political class, generally view Hispanics through the immigration lens. And that’s something that’s no longer true, right. And a lot of people ask what are the things that matter to Hispanics? And the things that matter to Hispanics are the things that matter to everybody. They want to pay less for gas, they want to pay less for food, they want there to be no crime, they want to be able to walk the streets and be able to go to the grocery store without fear that something might happen to them. They want their children to go to good schools, they want their children to be taught about science and math, all these things. They don’t want them to be indoctrinated in social issues. In fact, what Hispanic parents want, in terms of social issues, is to educate them at home. Not in the public school system.
So those are the issues that matter most to Hispanics and, as I tell you, here at FreedomWorks we are very well equipped to be able to educate them on what exactly they can do to promote change, and how they can push their politicians to move forward on those policies that they want.
I think it also depends a lot on where the latinos live, doesn’t it? For example, if we go to the Rio Grande Valley, in Texas, where the inhabitants have suffered the consequences of the immigration crisis, then the issue of migration certainly becomes relevant. But if we go to New York, where crime has been on the rise for years, and where there is a homeless crisis, the issue of insecurity is much more relevant.
Of course, and what I am also saying is that not all Latinos are the same. I am from California, but originally from Mexico, we are very different from Cubans and Colombians. A lot of people come to the United States for different reasons, many are fleeing socialism, communism or oppressive governments; we fled because of the narco violence, which took place in Tijuana. There are many different things that attract people to come to the United States. But yes, generally, geography has an influence on people and the issues are going to change in importance from state to state.
You told me that they had several conservative media personalities at the event. Among them was Vianca Rodriguez, one of the conservative Latino voices at Univision. I think there are few conservative Latino voices in the mainstream media, how do you see this, is there a need for more representation, how do you see conservative Latino alternative media?
I have been very happy to see that many groups have grown, like El American, Americano Media or Voz Media. There are many groups that are also coming out to give conservative Hispanics a platform in the media. I was also very happy to see that Univision wanted to have young conservative voices, like Vianca Rodriguez, who are pushing our message out and giving Hispanics another perspective on the situation in the United States.
I grew up watching Telemundo and Univision all my life, and you never saw a conservative voice talking about what we are talking about now. Many times, we see how the big media, traditional media, are quite leaning to the left. They try to advocate more for leftist politicians, leftist political operations, and I feel that the more Latinos are affiliating towards conservatism, the more the media will be forced to have conservative voices advocating for those policies so that the message is leveled to both the right and the left.
From FreedomWorks, what do you recommend to conservative alternative media? What topics should they address, how to approach them, how can the Hispanic community be attracted even more to read about libertarian-conservative ideas?
Let them speak the truth. All the things we are talking about, like education and crime, are not exclusive to the Hispanic community. I feel that there has to be something that unites all of us. Not just Hispanics or the African-American, Asian, Middle Eastern communities or the Americans that are here; there has to be something that unites us all.
I feel that these issues should be pointed out as American issues. Not just exclusive to Hispanics. I feel that there can be progress because the United States is one of the only multicultural countries that has moved forward. So if we want this multicultural country to continue moving forward, we have to unite as Americans, not only as Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans; we all have to unite as Americans and I believe that these groups like Univision, Telemundo or as its name says: El American, can help a lot in this regard. That is exactly what I am talking about, we are Americans before we are just Hispanics.
I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about politics. This August, 23 there are important elections in Florida. There is the District 13, where Anna Paulina Luna is looking to unseat Charlie Crist, there is also the District 7 among others. How do you see the situation in Florida? Do you see the Republicans having a good election?
Mostly in Florida, because this is the epicenter of the Latino movement uniting with conservatives and the GOP. So you have Anna Paulina Luna, who is running, Maria Elvira Salazar, who continues to be a leader in Congress, you have a person that we are supporting a lot, which is Anthony Sabatini, a state representative in Florida who will be a great conservative in Congress. So these are the campaigns that we are looking at, and hopefully they will win the primaries and they can win in November to add more Latino voices in Congress.
How do you see Sabatini’s campaign? He is competing neck and neck in a very close race with Cory Mills, do you think he will be able to win this seat?
Well, let’s see, I have faith that it is like that. We’ve put a lot of resources into it. Our activists in Florida have done a lot to push his message, to educate people about who Sabatini is and what he’s done in the legislature, what he’s done to keep businesses open, to advocate for less taxes, less regulations, less war. He’s a war veteran too, he’s a National Guard captain in Florida. Anthony Sabatini is going to be a great conservative and that’s why FreedomWorks for America is supporting him.
Do you think Latinos will turn out to vote for the GOP considering the great dissatisfaction with the Biden administration? Because it is one thing to be upset with the current administration and quite another to go out and vote for the opposition. Will that discontent carry over to the polls?
Yes, yes. This election is a referendum on Joe Biden’s presidency. I tell you, you talked about Texas and what is happening with the border, legislation is being passed to supposedly reduce inflation, but we know that the more the government spends money, the more inflation increases […] we saw it with the American Rescue Plan Act that increased inflation and we are going to see it with this Inflation Reduction Act that is going to do everything but reduce inflation. Bernie Sanders even said it in the Senate when they were debating this bill, he said “this is not going to do anything to reduce inflation.”
So when even Bernie Sanders is saying it, that means the Democrats are bringing nothing but spending our tax dollars and claiming they are doing something for their fellow man.
Finally, Cesar, you are Mexican, so I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to ask you about the presidency of Andrés Manuel López Obrador. What do you think?
Well, look, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, I feel, like Donald Trump, is a populist voice. He’s been against the political system in Mexico for a long time, and he won for a reason, and it was by running with the anti-establishment. But it’s a disaster. What did we just see in Tijuana, where I’m from? What just happened in Baja California? The narcos are dominating what’s going on there. And Andrés Manuel López Obrador is not doing anything about it.
What did he say? “Hugs, not bullets”, and the only thing we are seeing is bullets. There has never been as much insecurity as there is right now. As I say, Mexico is a de facto narco-state. So, what do I think of Andrés Manuel López Obrador? Please get his act together and do something about the narco, because the more crime there is, the more people will want to leave Mexico.