New York Mayor Bill De Blasio was slammed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for a weak apology after using an offensive Spanish phrase.
Speaking to a crowd in Miami on Thursday, de Blasio used the phrase, “Hasta la victoria, siempre!” — which was originated by Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara and is seen by many Cubans as offensive.
Presidential Candidate @NYCMayor was captured on video uttering slogan coined by Cuban Revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara. De Blasio yells “Hasta la victoria, siempre!” which translates to “Until victory, always!”
Read More: https://t.co/35oeK26Gpg pic.twitter.com/dHqHyV82An
— CBS4 Miami (@CBSMiami) June 27, 2019
De Blasio quickly responded to the backlash, claiming that it was a simple mistake and that he did not think it had any negative connotations attached to it.
“It was an honest mistake. I apologized for it. I understood it just to be a Spanish-language phrase … I used it not knowing that was the origin. When I heard it was the origin I apologized immediately. Did not mean to offend anybody. I was telling those airport workers — I thought they were going to win their strike in the end. They responded energetically because it was simply a matter of encouraging them.”
“But look, as a leader you have to be able to apologize when you make a mistake,” de Blasio added. “And even though I didn’t know the origin I still have to take responsibility and I say I apologize to anyone offended — didn’t get it. I won’t — not make that mistake again for sure.”
He also tweeted out an apology.
I only meant it as a literal message to the striking airport workers that I believed they would be victorious in their strike- BdB. (2/2)
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) June 27, 2019
However, Rubio responded with his disapproval of de Blasio, saying that his apology was suspicious.
“De Blasio studied Latin American politics in college, was a very active supporter of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua & even honeymooned in Cuba in violation of U.S. law,” said Rubio.
But he had NO IDEA he was quoting Che Guevara today.
It was all just an incredible coincidence.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 27, 2019
Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.) also spoke out against the candidate using the phrase, saying that it was “unacceptable.”
It is unacceptable to quote a murderer like Che Guevara, especially in Miami, where so many people have suffered as a result of his brutality. The @iflyMIA workers protesting for better conditions deserve our strong support, but their efforts should never be tied to that murderer https://t.co/VBsGcudToA
— Rep. Donna E. Shalala (@RepShalala) June 27, 2019
Although de Blasio apologized, it is uncertain if the Hispanic community will be willing to support someone who used an offensive phrase without prior research.