Setting the Record Straight: How Julio Varela of Latino Rebels Uses Marketing Gimmicks to Exploit the Mexican Community
About 2 years ago, we were celebrating Mexico’s Día de la Revolución Mexicana when we saw the image of Emiliano Zapata being used as a profile icon by Latino Rebels, a blog belonging to a professional marketer.
We took issue with this and tweeted: For those not aware, @latinorebels is the work of a Puerto Rican marketer using the image of Emiliano Zapata to appeal to Mexicans. Scam!
Zapata was a Nahuatl-speaking Indigenous Mexican who was selected by a council of elders to lead Mexico’s agrarian revolution of 1910, and he would have never allowed himself to used by the type of corporate middleman behind Latino Rebels. We felt we needed to speak up and we did.
Several months before, Julio Ricardo Varela, the founder and owner of Latino Rebels LLC, was blocked on Think Mexican’s Facebook page for violating our no-spam policy. This was just the beginning. We would later learn exactly how unethically he conducts himself.
In a recent profile of Julio Varela written by Cristina Costantini of Fusion, a joint venture between Univision and ABC, titled “Meet the Rebel Behind Latino Rebels,”Varela admits to working for at least one Fortune 500 company.
“Although Varela is guarded about which brands he currently represents (he says he can’t name some of them under contract), he claims that at least one is a Fortune 500 Company,” Costantini writes.
Costantini goes on to repeat several claims made by Varela meant, we think, to discredit and demonize Think Mexican. We were never contacted by anyone from Fusion before this article was published for a fair right of reply.
In an other passage, Varela concedes he’s not very much of a “rebel” in real life. “I’m kind of middle-of-the-roader, which is funny, because everyone thinks I’m a leftist,” he said.
And with regard to the five-pointed red star, a symbol often linked to communism, featured prominently on Latino Rebels’ website, Varela told Fusion he picked it “simply because it ‘felt cool and edgy.’”
Varela, who belongs to a group of marketing and public relations professionals named LATISM, lists Inbound Marketing, which is advertising for a company through blogs, podcasts, video, SEO, and social media marketing, as an expertise on his LinkedIn profile (seen above). Essentially, it’s creating online buzz for companies who pay marketers like him to promote them.
Varela’s own words speak for themselves. Not only is Latino Rebels really a front to promote his marketing career, its business model is based on exploiting the Mexican community and our culture. And this has now lead to divisions and infighting between us.
We call on those who are truly committed to realizing a better future for our community to speak up and a be voice for younger generations being raised in a world that only values them as consumers.
Think Mexican stands for dignity, and respect for the culture we have inherited from our ancestors. We will continue telling our community’s stories, and we invite you to join us.
In the spirit of Zapata!
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