Trump Propaganda Firm Cambridge Analytica Is Messing With Latin America Too

Crafting propaganda programs for political campaigns sure is lucrative. Cambridge Analytica, the British-American "internet messaging" outlet caught on hidden-camera footage this week bragging about blackmailing candidates, bribing people, and coordinating with the Trump campaign, seems to have tendrils snaking all over the world, from the U.K. Brexit campaign all the way to Kenya's last major election in 2017.

And it seems the firm has moved to target Latin America and Spanish-speaking voters too. According to company PR materials that Bloomberg dug up, Cambridge, a firm funded in part by Trump confidant Steve Bannon and Trump-backing billionaire Robert Mercer, last July announced a partnership with Pig.gi, a Spanish-language, Android-only phone app that gives users free internet access and call minutes in exchange for watching advertisements and reading sponsored stories.

According to Cambridge PR materials, the "partnership" seemed designed to target voters in Mexico and Colombia. Cambridge's vice president told Bloomberg last year that the partnership was transparently designed to influence the votes of younger Mexicans. The app reportedly had 200,000 users as of last year.

“Pig.gi has already been hugely successful in Mexico and Colombia," now-embattled CEO Alexander Nix announced last year via a news release. "We’re thrilled to be partnering with the app so that their partners can get the right message to the right people at the right time."

BuzzFeed also uncovered job ads that Cambridge posted on Facebook. On October 23, Cambridge's "head of Mexico operations" said the company was looking to hire staffers in seven Mexican states in order to gear up for the country's upcoming gubernatorial elections. (BuzzFeed noted that Cambridge has not yet joined Mexico's national registry of political campaign workers, however.)

Both Mexico and Colombia will hold major elections this year: May 27, Colombian voters will select a new president. The nation also held parliamentary elections March 11 — Colombia's center-right Cambio Radical (Radical Change) party won major gains in the nation's senate and house of representatives, as did the far-right Centro Democrático ("Democratic Center") party.

Mexico, meanwhile, will hold a general presidential election July 1.

Cambridge PR materials simply state the company is looking to use Pig.gi to help Latin American corporations market their products better, but as video interviews from the British Channel 4 News show, the company's words clearly cannot be trusted at face value. Channel 4 caught Cambridge CEO Nix and a host of other company employees bragging about committing all kinds of various crimes, including sending Ukrainian escorts to candidates' homes, filming the incidents, and then using the footage to blackmail politicians:

Cambridge employees didn't say explicitly that they bribed or blackmailed anyone, which means it's unclear whether the company really did all of the shady stuff it says it did or is simply trying to make itself look cool to potential business partners. (Some political reporters, including Axios' Jonathan Swan, have said American campaigns have complained for months that Cambridge isn't actually that helpful, but it's too early to tell.)

In a second video posted today, however, Cambridge's Nix and Mark Turnbull blabbed about running the Trump campaign's digital communications wing, a job that, by their words, included blasting out an untold number of "Crooked Hillary" memes on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.

“We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting; we ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign; and our data informed all the strategy," Nix told an undercover Channel 4 reporter.

Cambridge Analytica was also banned from Facebook this week after the social media service found that Cambridge employees had improperly accessed the personal data of more than 50 million Facebook users. American and British government officials have since launched major inquiries into the way Cambridge Analytica conducts business — which certainly means Latin American nations might very well begin to do the same.

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