Struggling with low poll numbers among Latino voters, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg's campaign launched a Hispanic outreach effort on Monday that included a series of policy plans, websites, and online videos in English and Spanish.
Buttigieg announced the initiative on his social media accounts by invoking a Spanish-language slogan that is raising eyebrows among Latino leaders. The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, tweeted "El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido" ("the people united, will never be defeated"), a protest chant that was famously popularized by Latin American communists. The saying was also featured in several campaign communications, including as a call-to-action on a Latino website.
For decades, Americans have rallied to declare el pueblo unido, jamás será vencido — the people united, will never be defeated. To join us and learn more, text TOGETHER to 25859.
It is unclear which Americans Buttigieg is referring to, but Latin American Marxists have rallied around the phrase for years.
Cuba's communist regime used the slogan last month
It is difficult to overstate the degree to which Buttigieg's Spanish-language campaign slogan is associated with left-wing radicals in Latin America. Last month, at a meeting titled "An Anti-Imperialist Gathering of Solidarity Against Neo-Liberalism," the Cuban National Assembly broke out into the chant when the country's communist president took the stage.
Buttigieg's slogan has even been employed by Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro. According to Venezuela's Ministry of Communication and Information, the South American ruler invoked it during a 2015 speech.
A 2011 music album dedicated to communist revolutionary Che Guevara included a track whose title is the phrase now being promoted by Buttigieg and his campaign. It was also the name of a song in a 2017 album honoring Fidel Castro, Cuba's late communist dictator, as well as a video published on YouTube by Guevaristas, a pro-communist group.
¡El pueblo unido jamás será vencido! (guevaristas.org) www.youtube.com
The Buttigieg campaign's new tagline traces its roots to Chile where it originated as an anthem in support of the country's pro-Castro socialist president in the 1970s. It was also used at times by the Mexican-American farm worker movement.
'It is appalling and shameful'
It is unclear why Buttigieg's campaign thought the slogan would help him appeal to Americans of Latin American ancestry, but several prominent Hispanics contacted by TheBlaze on Tuesday were horrified when they learned the presidential candidate is using it on the campaign trail.
"It is appalling and shameful that Pete Buttigieg would parrot the chant of Latin American socialists responsible for millions of Latino refugees who fled social and economic collapse in the places of their birth," Florida Federation of Young Republicans Chairman Jessica Fernandez Ibarra said Tuesday.
Fernandez Ibarra, who is of Cuban-American ancestry, noted that the South Bend mayor's usage of the phrase will likely alienate voters.
"Our Latino community rejects socialism and candidates like Buttigieg that promote the failed policies that our families left behind," she added. "His Latino outreach demonstrates that Buttigieg does not care about our community and why Latino voters have rejected his candidacy."
The tagline struck Venezuelan activist Daniel Di Martino as ill-advised. "Buttigieg should hire a better campaign advisor if he thinks that a phrase that is so commonly used by socialist dictatorships in Latin America will persuade any Hispanics to vote for him."
It has been well reported that Buttigieg's campaign has struggled to connect with minority communities, particularly blacks. However, recent articles have also picked up on his issues with Hispanics. A November 2019 Politico story titled, "Buttigieg has a serious Latino problem, too," detailed the campaign's "non-existent" strategy.
"Ironically, this sloganeering only serves to showcase that Buttigieg is comically disconnected from the constituency he seeks to persuade," MRC Latino Director Jorge Bonilla told TheBlaze. Bonilla compared the 37-year-old presidential candidate's use of the communist phrase to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio quoting Che Guevara at a rally in Miami over the summer.
According to a November Fox News poll, just 1 percent of Nevada's Hispanic voters plan to vote for Buttigieg in the state's upcoming caucus in February.