An unrepentant Marxist ideologue has a good chance of becoming mayor of New York. Do we care?
In 1988, a 26-year-old Bill de Blasio traveled to Central America to volunteer in support of the brutal Marxist Sandinista junta that controlled Nicaragua. A then-recent Columbia University graduate, de Blasio was ostensibly there to hand out food and medical supplies, but as The New York Times recently reported, “He returned with something else entirely: a vision of the possibilities of an unfettered leftist government.”
Today de Blasio is running for mayor of New York and if the polls are correct, barring any divine intervention he will beat his opponent Joe Lhota. De Blasio likes to speak of two New York Cities and the rising gap in income inequality. He promises to raise taxes on all the wealthy, and to redistribute their money to the underprivileged. With his background in Marxism and activism in Nicaragua, it is not hard to see where he picked up that lingo.
But aside from giving voters a crash course in 1980s revolutionary history, new revelations about de Blasio’s political past should prompt more New Yorkers to scrutinize his record before going to the polls this November. There are serious questions to be asked, ones that de Blasio and his campaign are trying very hard to avoid answering.
The Sandinistas came to power in Nicaragua in 1979 after overthrowing the ruthless Somoza dictatorship which had ruled the country for nearly half a century. However, as it often happens, instead of creating a free and open society, the communist Sandinistas set about turning Nicaragua into a “workers’ paradise,” confiscating private property, imprisoning thousands of innocent people, and “disappearing” many more. The Sandinistas’ own secret police was trained by East Germany’s infamous Stasi.
But the story does not end there, for the Sandinistas’ reign of terror did not leave the Jewish community untouched, either. Two weeks ago the New York Post reported on the Sandinista regime’s anti-Semitic activities as well, activities that de Blasio would have likely heard something about by 1988.
On one Friday night in 1978, before they had taken control of the country, the Sandinistas firebombed the synagogue in Managua, Nicaragua’s capital, shouting “Death to the Jews,” “Jewish pigs” and “What Hitler started, we will finish!”
A 1983 report by the Heritage Foundation, which was published five years before de Blasio travelled to Nicaragua, reads: Since the Marxists took over, Nicaraguan Jews have seen their human rights systematically violated. Their property has been confiscated and they have been arrested arbitrarily and physically harassed. Inspiring this sudden anti-Jewish campaign, in part, is the intimate ideological relationship between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Sandinistas.
And so the small 250-member Nicaraguan Jewish community fled, their synagogue turned into a Sandinista youth center plastered with “Death to Zionism” posters. But Bill de Blasio still has fond memories of that grand Marxist experiment of which he was a part.
For years prior to the revolution, the Sandinistas received support from Fidel Castro’s Cuba, and after 1979 there were thousands of Cuban agents helping run various parts of the new Nicaraguan regime. In fact, many Sandinista leaders were Soviet agents drafted and groomed by the KGB for this purpose, going back to the 1950s. A communist revolution had taken place in the heart of the Americas, and Bill de Blasio was there to help.
And yet now, 25 years after what some might dismiss as a naïve trip to Nicaragua, with Sandinista crimes well-documented (although probably not that much more than they were in 1988), The New York Times reports: “To this day, he [de Blasio] speaks admiringly of the Sandinistas’ campaign, noting advances in literacy and health care. ‘They had a youthful energy and idealism mixed with a human ability and practicality that was really inspirational,’ he said.”
According to The Black Book of Communism, the communist ideology of Marx and Lenin was directly responsible for the deaths of 100 million people in the 20th century, and some historians say that number may be a conservative one. Gulags, orchestrated famines, mass graves — all towards the stated goal of eventual world domination. That is the history of communism in the last 100 years. And yet even today Bill de Blasio describes his experience with the Sandinistas as nothing short of inspiring. “They were, in their own humble way, in this small country, trying to figure out what would work better,” The Times quotes him as saying.
Imagine if an unrepentant Nazi Party sympathizer would be running for mayor of New York. A product of the ideology that destroyed 25 million people within reach of City Hall would be unthinkable. Yet Bill de Blasio, a Marxist who has never repudiated those beliefs, will very likely be this city’s next mayor.
When de Blasio returned from Central America he became an active member of the Nicaragua Solidarity Network in New York, and was one of the first subscribers to their newspaper, Barricada, one of the more hard-line Sandinista papers. In 1994 de Blasio vacationed together with his wife in Castro’s Cuba, ignoring U.S. law prohibiting travel to Cuba. Marxists, you see, do not care for the rule of law. It is only the bigger picture that drives them, for all ends justify the means.
The de Blasio campaign consistently declines to discuss the candidate’s trip to Cuba, the country with Freedom House’s lowest ranking for human rights. Maybe Castro was just “trying to figure out what would work better” all along in Cuba.
So the question to ask yourself as you enter the ballot box this November is this: Is Bill de Blasio the type of man who has the judgment and character necessary to be the mayor of New York? Does a city full of refugees of communism from all over the world really need a mayor who not only sympathized with but actively promoted the totalitarian regimes under which they suffered?
The answer is obviously no. But it looks like New Yorkers may not realize that before it is too late.