Karen Bass under fire for Cuba comments amid VP vetting

Bass has previously made comments on Fidel Castro and even visited Cuba, factors that could impact her chances of becoming Joe Biden's running mate.

Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) speaks during a news conference to discuss an upcoming House vote regarding statues on Capitol Hill on July 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. House Democrats have introduced a bill that would replace the bust of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney in the Old Supreme Court Chamber at the U.S. Capitol with one of former Justice Thurgood Marshall. Taney was the author of the 1857 Dred Scott decision that declared African Americans couldn’t be citizens. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Rep. Karen Bass faces criticism for her relationship with Cuba as Democrats move closer to filling the vacant position for Joe Biden‘s running mate from a pool of career politicians.

READ MORE: Rep. Karen Bass talks family tragedy that connects her to Biden

As theGrio reports, Bass became a likely candidate after being interviewed by Biden representatives. As a California congresswoman, she represents the 37th district and also serves as chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Despite her record, a past including trips to Cuba and assumed support of Fidel Castro could diminish her chances of landing the VP role.

According to The Hill, Florida Democrats believe choosing Bass will taint Biden’s chance of winning the important swing state.

Democatic strategist Fernand Armandi believes choosing “violates the central tenet of a vice presidential selection, which is ‘Do no harm,’” reports The Hill.

He continues, “It does not just do harm — it would very well be something that sabotages the prospects of carrying the nation’s biggest swing state in an election that must be won for the future of the republic.”

Armandi is not alone in his stance. According to The Hill, Cuban Americans represent at least 6% of the vote in Florida. These immigrants often have a hostile relationship with Castro due to their personal experiences living on and or fleeing the island.

“She will continue to be perceived as someone who is aligned with the regime and those values,” Hugo Acha says to The Hill. He is the director of research for the Miami-based Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba. He continues, “dislike of Castro is always “seeping into the mindset of Cuban Americans.”

Ana Navarro, the Nicaragua-born GOP strategist who fully supports Biden fears the congresswoman’s reputation could have negative results.

“This Karen Bass history is a potential political nightmare for those of us in Miami who support Biden. It’s something I can’t and won’t defend,” she told The Hill.

Bass has recently walked back prior statements regarding Fidel Castro. In 2016 at the time of the controversial leader’s death, she referred to him as “Comandante en Jefe,” which translates to “commander in chief,” and is viewed as a positive term.

“I have talked to my colleagues in the House about that, and it’s certainly something that I would not say again,”  the representative remarked.

These comments are not the only issue. Bass took trips to Cuba with a left-wing group, the Venceremos Brigade, during the 1970s.

Read More: Biden delays VP pick while his choices vie for the position

She attributes the excursions to youthful naivete telling the Hill, “any 19-year-old would be” and adding she was interested in “bridging the divide between our two countries.”

Annette Taddeo, a Democratic state senator in Florida who represents an area with a heavy Cuban-American population believes selecting Bass would cause “tremendous harm,” despite Biden leading current President Donald Trump in the polls.

A Cuban-American activist based in Florida anonymously tells The Hill, “She kept putting her foot in the mouth. She kept going, and it kept getting worse,” speaking of Bass.

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

Joe Biden is expected to officially name a running mate before the end of August 2020, according to theGrio, after delaying the decision.


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