Democratic presidential candidate Bill de Blasio apologized on Thursday for unwittingly quoting Ernesto “Che” Guevara, a Marxist revolutionary reviled by many Cuban-Americans for helping Fidel Castro come to power in Cuba.
The New York City mayor, fresh off a solid showing in Wednesday night’s Democratic debate, used the Spanish phrase “hasta la victoria siempre” (“to victory, always”) in Miami as he addressed striking airport workers, who cheered him heartily.
Even the area Democrats were unhappy with de Blasio, who was born Warren Wilhelm Jr. but changed his name. The chairwoman of the state party criticized de Blasio’s use of the phrase and demanded an apology.
“Quoting a murderer responsible for death & oppression in communist Cuba and throughout Latin America is not acceptable. Please apologize. Many on strike are Cuban btw,” Florida state Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez wrote in a Twitter post.
De Blasio apologized for his remarks. “I did not know the phrase I used in Miami today was associated with Che Guevara & I did not mean to offend anyone who heard it that way,” he wrote. “I certainly apologize for not understanding that history.”
How did de Blasio not know where the quote came from? He obviously looked it up in order to use it.
U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) “In case there was any doubt about the Democrats running for President embracing socialism, @BilldeBlasio is in Miami quoting … Che Guevara. You can’t make this up.”
De Blasio is polling at 1% among the numerous Democrat candidates seeking the presidential nomination according to the latest Economist/YouGov poll.
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)