Florida Dem candidate under fire for event inviting rep who praised Castro

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Florida Democratic Home candidate Donna Shalala is taking warmth after a congresswoman who praised the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro was seemingly invited to marketing campaign along with her.

Shalala is the Democratic nominee for Congress in Florida’s 27th district – an space that’s largely made up of Hispanic residents, significantly of Cuban descent. Regardless of her identify recognition, Shalala has confronted a decent race in a district that Hillary Clinton received by a 20-point margin over President Trump in 2016.

And her marketing campaign’s deliberate occasion with Rep. Barbara Lee, who referred to as Castro a “good man” and inspired individuals to “mourn his loss” after his loss of life, isn’t serving to.

About 40 individuals protested outdoors Shalala’s occasion in Coral Gables with Home Minority Chief Nancy Pelosi Wednesday, the Miami Herald reported.

Frank de Varona, a demonstrator, instructed the Herald he was “offended” and “livid” after he realized in regards to the occasion with Lee in an electronic mail. He was a part of the controversial Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and had been sentenced to 30 years in jail, in keeping with the Herald. He was launched after the U.S. authorities paid for his – and greater than 1,000 different males’s – launch.

Shalala’s marketing campaign finally amended the occasion on its web site to simply embrace Pelosi. Lee stayed in Georgia, Pelosi mentioned.

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“I disagree with anybody that praises Castro or praises [Nicaraguan leader Daniel] Ortega … or praises every other dictator,” Shalala instructed the Herald. “We needs to be bringing robust sanctions towards them. Let me make it clear: Not each member of Congress that comes down right here can we agree on each situation, however significantly on the Cuban situation or the Nicaraguan situation or the Venezuelan situation.”

Maria Elvira Salazar, the Republican congressional nominee, mentioned it’s “shameful” for any candidate within the district to “convey a supporter of the Castro regime to marketing campaign.”

“This isn’t solely disrespectful for the Cuban exile, but additionally for the thousands and thousands of Venezuelans and Nicaraguans, many who stay on this district, who’re struggling on account of the Castro regime,” Salazar, a Spanish-language journalist, said in a statement.

It’s unclear how Lee’s invitation was prolonged – or taken again. Democratic and marketing campaign insiders pointed to Pelosi because the one who requested Lee to return to the 27th district – although Shalala’s employees had objections, Politico reported.

“Pelosi is the long run Home speaker. She’s essentially the most highly effective Democrat within the chamber,” an unnamed Shalala marketing campaign staffer instructed Politico. “We couldn’t offend her and inform her she couldn’t convey her pal. We had been caught.”

After Castro’s loss of life, Lee mentioned, “He led a revolution in Cuba that led social enhancements for his individuals.” She additionally mentioned his loss of life was “very unhappy for the Cuban individuals.”

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Shalala, a former Well being and Human Companies Secretary beneath the Clinton administration and president of the College of Miami, has struggled in her race to take over the seat held by retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican. The district consists of Miami Seashore, Coral Gables, Key Biscayne and Little Havana.

Fox Information has ranked the race a toss-up.

Salazar, too, has been criticized relating to Castro. Each her main opponents and Shalala have accused her of being too tender on the late dictator when she interviewed him in 1995.

“I’ve an opponent that handled Castro with monumental respect, bowed to him and referred to as him ‘el comandante,’” Shalala mentioned, in keeping with the Miami Herald. “I’d by no means try this, nor would I stand subsequent to any of them at any time.”

Neither a consultant for Lee nor Shalala returned requests for remark from Fox Information Thursday.

Fox Information’ Allie Raffa contributed to this report.

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