While he is celebrated by Americans who seek to limit illegal immigration into the United States, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Phoenix is vilified by some members of the Latino community in Arizona, as well as progressives and immigration reform advocates. Jerssay Arredondo is a homosexual transvestite activist originally from Mexico who is living in Arizona as an illegal alien and is active in the movement to oust Arpaio. Going by the name FreeDa Puta, Arredondo has released a music video remake of the 1992 hit by Chicano singer Selena Quintanilla that was an international sensation in Spanish-speaking communities.
Selena Quintanilla’s hit was “Baila esta cumbia,” while Arredondo’s remake is “Vote with this Cumbia.” Produced by local videomaker, Mike Cassidy, Arredondo sings “Vote, Votan con esta cumbia, Votan para que no nos deporten” -- (Vote with this song. Vote so they won't deport us)
The 24-year-old Arredondo dresses in drag in the video that was done with volunteer help from the Bazta Arpaio (Enough of Arpaio) campaign, which is seeking to mobilize Latino voters to end Arpaio’s decades-long tenure of the sheriff’s office. Batza Arpaio has a bus that travels throughout Maricopa County, over which Arpaio has jurisdiction, blaring denunciations of Arpaio and Mexican anti-Arpaio ballads.
Besides ending Arpaio’s career, Arredondo seeks to place issues dear to homosexuals at the forefront in the political sphere.
FreeDa Puta remakes Selena's “Baila Esta Cumbia” into a song about voting against Joe Arpaio. BIIIIIIIIITCH. https://t.co/tP0MSxS6eh
Born in Mexico, Arredondo entered the U.S. illegally at the age of three in the company of his mother. He remains a Mexican citizen, but is active in the political process in Arizona because he feels threatened with deportation especially when he sees police patrolling neighborhoods frequented by homosexuals. He has been active in politics for at least ten years, having been involved in pushing for the so-called DREAM Act. It was because that he and other homosexuals did not feel entirely welcomed in the pro-immigration movement that a pro-immigration LGBTQ and gender non-conforming movement was formed.
Bazta Arpaio and other groups have been canvassing and rallying for months to get out the Latino vote and oust the 84-year-old Arpaio who in some polls is now trailing his Democratic challenger Paul Penzone by 15 points.
Bazta Arpaio, according to its website, seeks to “End Arpaio’s rule, prevent Trump’s rise.” Ernesto Lopez is the lead organizer of the group and is seconded by Norma Jimenez, Elisa Avalos, and Franco Hernandez.
On Election Day, according to a report in Spanish by La Voz, there will be 400 Latino taxi drivers volunteering to take voters to the polls. In order to get the free ride, voters must use the code words: Bazta Arpaio. In an email to La Voz, an elections official said that offering free rides for those voting for or against a particular candidate is illegal. "They are essentially buying people’s votes. Unless they want to be prosecuted they need to stop right now." Bazta Arpaio claims that anyone can use the free taxi rides.
Writing for La Voz, editorialist Elvia Diaz wrote “Requiring people to say ‘Bazta Arpaio’ gives the impression that the free rides are only available for those voting against Arpaio. That’s unfortunate because Mexican political culture is already tainted with coercion.” Diaz admitted that she is voting against Arpaio. Recalling that political parties in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America frequently resort to gifts to entice voters, she said that a typical tactic in Spanish-speaking countries is the practice of “acarreados”: busing sympathetic voters to the polls. After claiming that there are fears that Trump supporters will intimidate voters at the polls, Diaz wrote, “Latinos and Democrats -- who often are the same -- must avoid any appearance of coercion or intimidation. They should refrain from doing what they don’t want Republicans to do.”
Several activist organizations have canvassed neighborhoods in Phoenix and Maricopa County to get out the vote in the Latino community. Among them are Mi Familia Vota, iAmerica Action, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Also, PICO National Network and the east Los Angeles band Las Cafeteras worked to call on Latinos, especially young people, to get out and vote. Other groups involved are Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) and its partner organizations, and the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda are providing information to Latinos on political candidates.