But Bass‘ comments about the longtime Cuban leader following his death in 2016 — when she respectfully called him “comandante en jefe” (in Spanish, commander in chief) — is politically poisonous in Florida and even more toxic in Miami, home to many exiles from socialist Latin American regimes that include Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
The Florida Democratic Party has spent two years fighting a renewed GOP effort to brand them as socialists, and the state and national parties are spending big this year in Miami to defend two congressional seats and win two crucial state Senate contests in districts with sizable Cuban-American populations. All four lawmakers condemned Bass’ Castro remarks.
“The comments are troubling. It shows a lack of understanding about what the Castro regime was about. So I have to learn more about her position and perspective on Fidel Castro,” said Miami state Rep. Javier Fernandez, whose bid for an open state Senate seat could bring Democrats closer than ever to flipping control of the chamber.