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From the comfort of her home in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, Paloma Zuñiga has attracted about 70,000 followers on her “Paloma for Trump " social media pages, which, she explained to EFE during a recent visit to Washington, she created after learning that Donald Trump wanted to become president and saw in him “a needed leader to end the destruction of the United States.”
Zuñiga, who has dual US-Mexican citizenship, is considered an “influencer” by the Republican Party and therefore has been an invited guest at numerous events such as the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held last week in the US capital.
“I am against the way they are destroying the United States and I’ve been watching it for 12 years. I was already realizing what the country has been doing for a long time, so when Trump said he was running for president, I thought: ‘Finally, someone who also sees it and now speaks about it!’” Zuñiga said after attending a rally held by Vice President Mike Pence.
She has over 60,000 followers on Facebook and several thousand more on Instagram and Twitter, a YouTube channel and a Web site where she spreads her conspiracy theories about who is “destroying” the US, a phenomenon she attributes to “Hispanics.”
“They are taking over places like California where they do not speak English!” She said after claiming that “cities no longer work as designed. We Hispanics arrived and trampled the principles and values of the United States and we don’t care.”
Zuñiga’s opinion about Latino immigration prompts many people to say that she is “racist,” that she is “against her own people” and even “hates herself.”
Yet, she said that the Latino community does not respect the US because “they think it’s a business zone where Americans are stupid and they can take advantage of them.”
Zuñiga was born in Mexico City and emigrated legally to the US at age 8 when her mother became a widow and married an American. As an adult, she decided to return to Mexico because “it’s cheaper” and she has business there, several houses and takes care of “many dogs.”
In her profiles she shares different theories and opinions about several political issues; for example, there is a video in which - wearing sunglasses and standing on the patio of a chalet - she asks the US representative for California’s 43rd congressional district, Democrat Maxine Waters , to resign.
This audiovisual piece has been reproduced 114,000 times and shared another 3,000 times on Facebook, a social media platform that, according to her, “limits (the video) impact” deliberately because “it should be able to reached 150,000 followers.”
“People write to me saying they cannot ‘like’ my page,” she said.
Besides Facebook, Zuñiga argues that major media networks in Mexico and the United States - such as Televisa, The New York Times and The Washington Post - are against her, but at the same time that helps her boost her platforms.
“They say in their reports that I am a radical activist, a racist and that, in reality, I live in the United States,” Zuñiga said. “But they got it wrong and they gave me more popularity instead.”
Regarding the “mainstream media outlets,” she also says they contribute to the widespread belief “that all Mexico hates Trump.”
“Well, maybe Trump doesn’t have that much support but people respect him a lot,” she said.
Zuñiga’s popularity among political activists at CPAC was such that, without hesitation, she repeatedly dared to interrupt any conversation to greet and pass on her contact card, which is illustrated with a photograph of her posing on the side of a portion of the US-Mexico border wall that has already been built.
“Let it be done,” she said about the wall that Trump wants to build, adding that she will soon make her leap to politics as “president of the San Diego division of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly.”