The New York Times
June 27, 2019
Shane Goldacher and William Neuman
The New York City mayor showed he could hold his own in the first Democratic debate, but then angered some in South Florida by quoting the Cuban revolutionary.
MIAMI — Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York began the day at the high point of his presidential campaign, glowing in the aftermath of a debate performance that flashed the political skills that helped make him the mayor of America’s biggest city.
“A street fighter! A street fighter!” the MSNBC host, Joe Scarborough, greeted him in an early morning appearance.
But by evening, Mr. de Blasio was backtracking and apologizing for quoting Che Guevara, the Cuban revolutionary who is persona non grata in much of South Florida, in a Thursday appearance with striking Miami airport workers.
“Hasta la victoria siempre!” Mr. de Blasio had said, a saying made famous by Guevara, former President Fidel Castro’s right-hand man during the Cuban revolution in the 1950s. The communist regime led hundreds of thousands of Cubans to flee, many of them settling in South Florida.
That remark sparked swift backlash in South Florida; at least two state senators immediately criticized Mr. de Blasio. By evening, the remark was running as a banner atop the Miami Herald’s website.
“This is completely unacceptable! How can anyone wanting to be the leader of the free world quote a murderous guerrilla — in Miami, no less!” Senator Annette Taddeo, who attended the rally, wrote on Twitter. She ended her post with the hashtag, #DeleteYourCampaign.
In his apology, Mr. de Blasio said he did not know the phrase’s origin.
That apparent flub was more in line with the uncommon skepticism that has greeted his candidacy. Polls have shown highunfavorability ratings among Democrats in New York and beyond, confounding even some political strategists as to why voters in far-flung states like Iowa and New Hampshire have formed such negative opinions about him.