Karen Bass responds to criticism of Fidel Castro reference amid VP vetting

Rep. Bass clarifies her comment about Fidel Castro as she remains a potential candidate for the vice presidency.

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California Rep. Karen Bass retracts years-old comments made in a statement on Fidel Castro’s death.

READ MORE: Rep. Karen Bass emerges as possible running mate for Joe Biden

As the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and a five-term lawmaker, she is a strong contender as the possible running mate for Joe Biden, the Democratic Party 2020 presidential nominee. In 2016, she described Castro as “Comandante en Jefe” in an official statement.

During a recent interview on MSNBC, Bass said she regrets using the phrase.

“I have talked to my colleagues in the House about that, and it’s certainly something that I would not say again,” Bass said according to Politico. She continues, “I have always supported the Cuban people and the relationship that Barack Obama and Biden had in their administration in terms of opening up relations.”

The term “Comandante en Jefe” translates in English to “commander in chief,” however, according to Politico, its use has been criticized when used in reference to Castro and his communist rule of Cuba.

“But I certainly understand the sensitivity and, to me saying that, the understanding that the translation in Spanish communicated something completely different. Lesson learned,” remarks Bass.

READ MORE: Soledad O’Brien to host criminal justice reform town hall featuring Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass and more

According to Politico, some Florida Democrats are opposed to her running as VP with Biden due to her comments.

“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 to the outlet.

He continues “Praise like the one that was given by Bass at the time of Castro’s death is inconsistent with my family’s experience with what the regime did — and continues to do — to people on the island, which is to suppress human rights, keep people under a totalitarian thumb and stifle economic growth,”

Although she has not been confirmed as the official running mate, the congresswoman says she is “willing to serve in any capacity” over the next 100 days to get Vice-President Biden elected.

TheGrio reports Bass is being vetted for the job along with a list of women of color including Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams, and Susan Rice, the former ambassador to the United Nations in the Obama administration.

Bass, a Los Angeles native, was elected to her current seat in 2010. Her district covers areas of South Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Crenshaw, Baldwin Hills and Century City. According to her official website, the district is 39% Latino and 25% Black.

In 2008, Bass became the first Black American woman to be elected as a California Assembly Speaker.

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