Democratic House candidate Yadira Escobar shocked Miami's Cuban exile community on Wednesday after she published photos on Facebook where she is seen holding the flag of the communist revolution led by Cuba's late ruler, Fidel Castro.
In the post's caption, Escobar, who is also Cuban American, wrote that she took the photographs during a 2008 trip to the island and that the photo of her holding Castro' 26th of July Movement flag is "a favorite of the intolerants," presumably a reference to offended Cuban exiles. Escobar noted the flag belonged to her grandfather who she says participated in "the struggle against the bloody dictatorship of [Fulgencio] Batista."
In other photos, the self-described progressive Democrat can be seen wearing the same red and black arm band and military uniform worn by members of Castro's movement.
TheBlaze contacted Escobar on Wednesday morning for comment but she has not responded to our inquiry.
Uncharacteristically complimentary of Castro's Cuba
In recent days, the young congressional candidate has published several Facebook posts regarding the communist island which have raised eyebrows among some in South Florida Cuban American community. On Tuesday morning, Escobar shared an article praising the country's socialized health care system. The same day she shared a photograph holding a Soviet-era children's book.
Escobar also attacked U.S. groups that support the island's pro-democracy dissidents in a Nov. 18 post. In other instances, she described U.S. sanctions on the Castro regime as "a blockade" of the island, the term of choice among the country's communist officials, as opposed to "embargo."
Escobar's sympathetic language toward Latin American left-wing strongmen is odd for an aspiring politician in South Florida, which is home to large Cuban and Venezuelan American communities. She recently said that Bolivia's ousted former President Evo Morales was the victim of "a coup."
On April 30, Escobar published photos of her appearance at a "Hands off Venezuela" gathering at Florida International University where she attacked American "imperialism" and accused the United States of trying to oust dictator Nicolas Maduro.
Cuban exiles react
The reaction from Miami's Cuban American community to Escobar's photos was swift and overwhelmingly negative. A commentator on her Facebook post with the pro-Castro flag wrote "you are a communist and there is no room for you here." Another told her to "go [to Cuba] and live in the misery of the Cuban people."
Armando Ibarra, the head of Miami's Young Republicans, blasted the Democrat in a tweet. "Absolutely outrageous & offensive that Democrat @YadiraCongress runs for Congress in #Miami as an unabashed supporter of Cuba's communist dictatorship which terrorized our families. Our community condemns her!"
Should Escobar win the Democratic nomination in Florida's 25th district, she would face Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla) next November.