Past praise for the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro has some Miami-area Democrats concerned about a lawmaker who is said to be running to join the Joe Biden ticket.
US Representative Karen Bass, a Los Angeles Democrat who heads the Congressional Black Caucus, referred to Castro as “commander-in-chief” after his death in 2016, and called his death “a great loss to the people of Cuba.” Politico reported.
The phrase used by Bass translates as “commander in chief”.
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Democrats who speak out against Bass’s apparent admiration for the late dictator, who led the Cuban Revolution in the 1950s and was a thorn in the side of U.S. presidents for half a century, include U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, D -Fla. And Miami state representative Javier Fernández.
Both Shalala and Fernández represent an area with a large number of exiles from the communist and socialist regimes in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, a constituency that has a history of opposing candidates who express the slightest sympathy for Castro, who ruled in Cuba as president. until 2008 and as leader of the Communist Party until 2011 before dying five years later at age 90.
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“I do not agree with the comments of the congresswoman on Cuba. I invite people to come to Miami, where we can educate them on the tyrannical dictatorship that has decimated Cuba for 60 years, “Shalala, who served in the administration of former President Bill Clinton, told Politician.
“I invite people to come to Miami, where we can educate them on the tyrannical dictatorship that has decimated Cuba for 60 years.”
“The comments are troubling,” Fernández told the media. “It shows a lack of understanding of what the Castro regime was about. So I have to learn more about his position and perspective on Fidel Castro.
“The praise like the one Bass gave at the time of Castro’s death is incompatible with my family’s experience with what the regime did, and continues to do, to people on the island, which is to suppress human rights, maintain to people under a totalitarian thumb and stifle economic growth. “
Bass’s Congressional office told Politico that the statements of the congresswoman in 2016 were similar to those made by former President Barack Obama, who at the time was seeking better relations with Cuba as the country prepared for the transition of Castro’s leadership and his brother, Raúl Castro, now 89, who remains a leader of the Communist Party there after succeeding Fidel Castro as president between 2008 and 2018.
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Biden’s campaign declined to comment to Politico on Bass’ comments.
The news outlet noted that former Biden main opponent Bernie Sanders came under fire in Florida for making pro-Castro comments during a “60-minute” interview on CBS in February, after being asked about the previous comments. in favor of Castro attributed to him in 1985.