With campaigning down to the wire, the Romney camp has begun heavily running an unannounced ad on Spanish-language television that links President Barack Obama with Hugo Chávez, Fidel Castro’s niece and communist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
According to the Miami Herald, the ad “aired three times in one prime time Spanish-language news program Tuesday and at least four times on the same show Wednesday — including twice in the same commercial break.” The ad shows clips of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez saying, “If I were American, I’d vote for Obama,” and shots of Mariela Castro, the niece of Fidel Castro, holding a sign that appears to read “Obama give me five” before saying she too would vote for Barack Obama.
The ad also points out that the Environmental Protection Agency sent out Hispanic Heritage Month emails featuring a picture of Che Guevara. The commercial ends with Chávez saying, “If Obama were from Barlovento (a Venezuelan town), he’d vote for Chávez.”
On Wednesday morning, U.S. Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, a Miami Republican and guest on the Spanish-language Radio Mambí show celebrated the ad, citing a Spanish proverb that loosely translates to, “Tell me who you walk with, and I’ll tell you who you are.”
In a statement released today, Obama for America campaign spokesperson Dan Restrepo said, “Mitt Romney continues to play Hugo Chavez’s game, giving Chavez 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.” Restrepo pointed to the President’s work with Latin America and noted that U.S. exports to Latin America have increased and will create good-paying Florida jobs.
As for public opinion, the Miami Herald reports that one Cuban reader, named Rosa Hombredela, was outraged by the new Romney ad. She said in an email the ad is evidence of “corrupt politics” and that “the same infectious style of politics that put Castro in power has germinated in Miami making it a banana republic.” Hombredela added, “I was born in Cuba, raised in the United States, I’m a woman, a Republican and I voted yesterday for President Barack Obama. Proud to say so.”
Despite requests, the Romney campaign would not translate the ad for the Miami Herald or provide it for their site, forcing the Miami Herald to record the ad with an iPhone and provide their own translation. Here’s the ad shot with an iPhone: