2020 Election

Bill de Blasio Tried His Hand at Spanish. He Ended Up in Hot Agua

2 minute read

Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio miscalculated the impact of inadvertently quoting Marxist revolutionary leader Che Guevara in Miami, city home to a large population of Cuban refugees who left their home because of said revolution.

Following his appearance at the first Democratic primary debate Wednesday night, the New York City mayor joined a rally for striking workers at the Miami International Airport and shouted, “Hasta la victoria, siempre!”

The Spanish phrase, which means “Until victory, always!” is a well-known saying of Guevara, who helped Fidel Castro take power during the 1959 Cuban Revolution.

De Blasio’s use of the phrase did not land well in Miami. Democratic Florida state Sen. Annette Taddeo said she was “utterly disgusted” in a tweet. “This is completely unacceptable,” she wrote.

State Sen. José Javier Rodríguez demanded de Blasio apologize.

De Blasio did apologize on Thursday, saying he wasn’t aware of the barbed history behind the phrase.

Speaking on CNN Thursday afternoon, de Blasio issued another apology. “I do apologize because I didn’t understand the context,” he said. “I literally understood it as a Spanish translation.”

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Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com