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Univision dumps Miss USA; Latin America fumes over Trump remarks

The Spanish-language Univision television network has a brief message for presidential candidate Donald Trump: We’ve dumped you!

Miami-based Univision said Thursday it would not air the July 12 Miss USA pageant or work “on any other projects tied to the Trump Organization.” The Miss Universe Organization is partly owned by Trump.

The announcement was the latest show of Latin American displeasure over Trump’s ad-libbed remarks June 16 when he announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination by accusing Mexico of sending criminals across the border.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump said. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems. And they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

Trump’s remarks drew official condemnation from the governments of Mexico, Guatemala and Venezuela. And at least one Mexican manufacturer began producing piñatas with Trump’s likeness for children to bash at birthday parties, and receive candy once they are broken apart.

“Guatemala rejects any statements that criminalize the migrant community, which mostly travels seeking to improve their life chances and, with their work, benefit the . . . development of where they settle,” Guatemala’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro called Trump a “bandit” and a “thief” and ridiculed the tycoon’s unique hairstyle. “He who messes with Mexico, messes with Venezuela,” Maduro said in a speech two days after Trump’s announcement.

Now the anger is hitting Trump where it probably most hurts him – his pocketbook. Univision is the largest U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster, and Trump’s Miss Universe beauty pageant franchise is widely watched by Latin Americans, in part because contestants from the region do well. The current Miss Universe is Paulina Vega, a Colombian.

“At Univision we see first-hand the work ethic, love for family, strong religious values and the important role Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans have had and will continue to have in building the future of our country,” the network said in a statement.

The hosts for the Spanish simulcast of the Miss USA pageant also announced Thursday that they had pulled out of the event.

“I can’t tolerate the disrespectful and hurtful words that came out of Mr. Trump’s mouth,” Puerto Rican singer Roselyn Sánchez posted on her Instagram account. Her scheduled co-host, Chilean actor Cristián De La Fuente, called Trump “ignorant” and a “clown” in a video statement.

Colombia singer J Balvin late Wednesday canceled his performance at the pageant, saying that he can “no longer in good conscience agree to take part in an event that is overseen by, and creates a profit for Donald Trump, while Mr. Trump attacks the hard-working Latino immigrant community with hateful political rhetoric.”

Widely admired Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez this week said on a radio show that Trump’s remarks were “totally absurd, silly and racist.” A popular deputy-elect to Mexico’s lower house of Congress, Carmen Salinas, posted a YouTube video in which she and four others give Trump a middle-finger salute. As of Thursday, nearly 250,000 people had seen the video.

Trump responded to the developments on Twitter, suggesting that his remarks were aimed not at migrants but at U.S.-Mexican trade relations.

“Univision wants to back out of signed @MissUniverse contract because I exposed the terrible trade deals that the U.S. makes with Mexico,” Trump tweeted. In another post, he said Mexico wanted him to hush remarks about the “terrible border situation.”

Trump reportedly told the TMZ entertainment website that he’ll sue over Univision’s attempts to cancel the five-year deal.

Trump earlier had said that he’d construct a “great wall” along the southern border to keep out immigrants -- and make Mexico pay for it.

“He didn’t project, perhaps through ignorance, the contribution that migrants have made in the United States,” said Mexican Interior Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong.

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