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Bill de Blasio Slammed for Quoting Che Guevara Among Miami’s Cuban Exiles

Bill de Blasio Slammed for Quoting Che Guevara Among Miami’s Cuban Exiles

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is apologizing for using a phrase attributed to Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara in the heart of South Florida’s Cuban exile community.

De Blasio, a presidential hopeful who was in town for the Democrats’ first debate, was addressing a group of striking ramp workers at Miami International Airport Thursday. Videos shared on social media show him demand that airports put working people first.

“Hasta la victoria siempre,” he said as he concluded, which translates as “until victory, always.” He didn’t cite Guevara in the video clip shared on social media, but the wording of the phrase is unique.

De Blasio said in an interview on CNN that he was just using the Spanish translation of a phrase he wanted to use and didn’t know that it was associated with Guevara.

“That’s an honest mistake and I do apologize for it,” de Blasio said.

In a tweet on Thursday, De Blasio also said he “did not mean to offend anyone who heard it that way.”

Republican Senator Rick Scott held it out as an example of Democrats’ supposed embrace of socialism.

The words socialism and communism are anathema to exiles from Cuba and Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuela, and Republicans have sought to draw parallels between Democrats’ proposals and the regimes that many local residents fled. Florida, the seat of those exile communities, is also America’s largest swing state in presidential elections.

Of course, very few Democrats actively embrace the term “socialism,” aside from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. And the policy proposals Republicans most label “socialist” — like single-payer health systems — are substantially used in countries including Canada and the U.K.

But some Florida Democrats also shot back at De Blasio Thursday. Annette Taddeo, a state senator from Miami, said she was “utterly disgusted.”

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