Miami Democrats Slam De Blasio for Quoting Che Guevara During Union Rally

De Blasio apologizes, claims he did not know the quote came from Che (Updated)

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio / Getty Images

Miami Democrats slammed New York City Mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Bill de Blasio on Thursday after he quoted Cuban-Argentine revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara during a rally at Miami International Airport. De Blasio apologized later in the day on Twitter.

After participating in Wednesday night's presidential debate, de Blasio met with union workers who were protesting poor working conditions and wages, telling them they should unionize. He then said, "The eyes of the world are on this airport, the eyes of the world are on Miami-Dade."

Near the end of his speech, he repeated one of Guevara's most notable quotes, "Hasta la victoria siempre!" which translates roughly to "Ever on to victory!" In addition to being one of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro’s top lieutenants, he is considered a sociopath by some of the Cuban exiles in Miami, according to the Miami Herald.

He apologized Thursday evening, saying he did not know the phrase "was associated with Che Guevara" and didn't mean to "offend anyone."

Politico reporter Marc Caputo initially noted on Twitter how de Blasio isn't helping Democrats who are trying to distance themselves from the Republican branding of being radical.

While the crowd cheered after de Blasio's quote, Miami Democrats were quick to criticize him for being insensitive, asking him to apologize. Cuban state senator Jose Javier Rodríguez spoke at the rally, but didn't stay for de Blasio's speech. When he learned about the quote, he tweeted for de Blasio to apologize.

"Quoting a murderer responsible for death & oppression in communist Cuba and throughout Latin America is not acceptable," Rodríguez said.

Christian Ulvert, a Nicaraguan political consultant based in Miami,  said de Blasio's quote is "complete ignorance" and "beyond disrespectful." State Sen. Annette Taddeo, a Colombian-American, was also outraged by the quote, saying it was "very disappointing," the Miami Herald reported.

"I have no idea if he knew [the quote was associated with Guevara]. But it’s very disappointing, clearly," she said. "This is the problem that we run into all the time… The left has people that are just clueless as hell."

Félix Rodríguez Mendigutia, a Bay of Pigs veteran who helped capture Guevara, told the Miami Herald that de Blasio is a "f****ing a**hole" if he knew who Guevara was and still quoted him.

Updated 7:18 p.m.: This has been updated with de Blasio's apology.