By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com November 02 2012 5:45 PM ET
A Spanish-language TV ad for Mitt Romney airing in Miami seeks to connect President Obama to figures associated with socialist countries, such as Venezualan president Hugo Chávez, the late revolutionary leader Che Guevara, and LGBT ally Mariela Castro, who is the niece of former Cuban president Fidel Castro and daughter of the nation’s current leader, Raúl Castro.
The ad shows both Chávez and Mariela Castro saying they would vote for Obama if they could, and notes that the Environmental Protection Agency used a photo of Guevara in a staff email commemorating Hispanic Heritage Month in September. (EPA officials said that was an error.) Mariela Castro has been outspoken on behalf of LGBT rights in Cuba, which has not historically been a gay-friendly nation.
The Miami Herald, which characterizes the ad as an instance of negative campaigning, notes that some Latino leaders have praised the spot. They included Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican congressman from Miami, who said it is in keeping with a Spanish proverb that translates as “Tell me who you walk with, and I’ll tell you who you are.”
Dan Restrepo, a spokesman for President Obama’s campaign, issued a written response to the ad, mentioning that the Obama administration has increased trade between the U.S. and Latin America and improved the nation’s standing with its southern neighbors. Restrepo also wrote, “Mitt Romney continues to play Hugo Chávez’s game, giving Chávez the attention he thrives on and that he doesn’t deserve. Keeping America safe and advancing U.S. interests requires the kind of leadership President Obama has provided, not Romney’s bluster.”
Watch the ad below.