As Bill de Blasio received an additional endorsement for mayor Tuesday, he faced more criticism about his past support of Nicaragua’s ruling Sandinista party, detailed in a recent New York Times article.
The piece, published online Sunday, examined de Blasio’s time in Nicaragua helping to distribute food and medicine in the late 1980s and how he “grew to be an admirer of the Sandinista party.” It also looked at how his time as a young activist has shaped him today.
The Sandinistas ruled Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990, and, according to the Times, were denounced by the Reagan administration as “tyrannical and communist,” though liberal supporters said they were “building a free society with broad access to education, land and health care.”
The article prompted two of de Blasio’s opponents in the race, Republican candidate Joe Lhota and Independence party candidate Adolfo Carrión Jr. to attack him for his past support of the Sandinista party.
“Mr. de Blasio’s involvement with the Sandinistas didn’t happen in 1917; it happened 70 years later when the cruelty and intrinsic failure of communism had become crystal clear to anyone with a modicum of reason. Mr. de Blasio’s class warfare strategy in New York City is directly out of the Marxist playbook. Now we know why,” said Lhota in a statement released Tuesday.
Carrión, calling him a “radical without a clue,” spoke of another fact mentioned in the Times article, de Blasio’s honeymoon in Cuba, which violated the U.S. travel ban.
“It’s no wonder de Blasio, the political operative and union organizer, whose world view is rooted in the Castro/Guevara philosophy that fueled the Sandinista dictatorship, is surrendering his policy agenda to collective bargaining organizations, he said in a statement. “That’s why, whether it’s Stop, Question & Frisk, education policy, or business regulation and taxation, this election matters because it can erode the progress we’ve made as a city.”
In response to earlier comments from his rivals, de Blasio said on Monday “I’m not surprised that my opponents will throw labels and call names. That’s a Republican tactic. That’s a right-wing tactic,” according to published reports.
De Blasio also received criticism Tuesday for his choice of debate locations.
He announced today he would participate in three debates over the next six weeks, all in Manhattan.
Lhota, who recently called for weekly debates hosted in each of the city’s five boroughs, said it was “incredibly disappointing that Mr. de Blasio does not appreciate the need to hold debates outside Manhattan when New Yorkers in all five boroughs deserve the chance to learn more about the next mayor.”
On Tuesday, de Blasio found support from former Democratic primary opponent City Comptroller John Liu, who officially endorsed him for mayor.
“Now more than ever, we need a mayor who will stand up for working and middle class families and Bill is that leader. He understands this city is strongest when every New Yorker – no matter where they live or where they come from, who they love or what they look like – has a fair shot, said Liu. “It is time Democrats unite behind Bill de Blasio and work together to ensure a progressive fighter wins in November.