(via Romney Airs Ad In Florida Linking Obama To Latin American Dictators | ThinkProgress)
On Tuesday, Mitt Romney’s campaign debuted a new ad in Florida that shows Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuban leader Raul Castro’s daughter saying they’d vote for President Obama if they were American citizens. The Spanish-language ad is similar to work done by conservative outlets, like Fox Newsand TownHall.Com, trying to connect foreign dictators to Obama. Here’s the Miami Herald’s translation of Romney’s ad:
NARRATOR: Who supports Barack Obama?
CHAVEZ: If I were American, I’d vote for Obama.
NARRATOR: Raúl Castro’s daughter, Mariela Castro, would vote for Obama.
CASTRO: I would vote for President Obama.
NARRATOR: And to top it off, Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency sent emails for Hispanic Heritage month with a photo of Che Guevara.
CHAVEZ: If Obama were from Barlovento (a Venezuelan town), he’d vote for Chávez.
ROMNEY: I’m Mitt Romney, and I approve this message.
The ad is a hyperbolic play on the right-wing’s baseless paranoia about Obama being “foreign,” a communist and in bed with dictators. And indeed, Chavez and the Castros haven’t exactly said nice things about Obama either. In 2011, Chavez criticized President Obama for being “the president of an empire” and said he little “hope” for the President. For his part, President Obama has called out Venezuela for its repressive policies, saying in December that “we have been deeply concerned to see action taken to restrict the freedom of the press, and to erode the separation of powers that is necessary for democracy to thrive.” Relations between America and Venezuela haven’t changed much since President Obama took office: in 2010 Chavez did not accept the nominated U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela. As a result, the U.S. withdrew a visa for the Venezuelan ambassador. In 2012, the Obama administration expelledanother Venezuelan diplomat.
And it’s not just Chavez that’s been critical of the President: Fidel Castro, former leader of Cuba, said about the President’s U.N. speech in 2011, “Who understands the gibberish of the President of the United States speaking before the United Nations?”
The ad’s accusation that “Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency” sent emails with a picture of Che Guevara is also missing a key bit of context. Susie Goldring, an EPA employee, sent the email. She says she “had no idea who the person on the wall in the photo was” and quickly apologized for sending the email. The EPA also clarified that the “email was drafted and sent by an individual employee, and without official clearance.”