Romney Bungles Castro Quote in Miami
Mitt Romney used a famous line from Fidel Castro in support of a “free Cuba,” creating a minor stir with a Miami audience.
People chuckled when presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a Mormon raised in Michigan and elected in Massachusetts, bungled the names of Cuban-American politicians during a recent speech in Miami. But when he mistakenly associated Fidel Castro’s trademark speech-ending slogan — Patria o muerte, venceremos! — with a free Cuba, listeners didn’t laugh. They winced.
Castro has closed his speeches with the phrase — in English, ”Fatherland or death, we shall overcome” — for decades. ”Clearly, that’s something he was ill-advised on or didn’t do his homework on,” said Hialeah City Council President Esteban Bovo. “When you get cute with slogans, you get yourself into a trap.”
Romney delivered a speech to the Miami-Dade Republican Party March 9 that was heavy on anti-communist rhetoric but light on policy details. He also condemned the Venezuelan president who has embraced Castro. That’s when he tripped. ”Hugo Chávez has tried to steal an inspiring phrase — Patria o muerte, venceremos,” Romney said. “It does not belong to him. It belongs to a free Cuba.”
No, it doesn’t, said University of Miami Professor Jaime Suchlicki. ”It belongs to Fidel,” said Suchlicki, an expert on Cuban history. “I don’t know where [Romney] got that.”
Bill Jempty notes that, “Courting the Cuban vote by quoting Fidel just won’t work.” On the other hand, the fact that this is just making the Miami papers ten days after the speech is probably a pretty fair indication that it’s not that big a deal.