Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-avowed ‘democratic socialist’, recently defended some aspects of the Castro Regime in Cuba. In a 60 Minutes interview he said:
“We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. You know? When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?”
Making statements like this is nothing new for Sanders; he has a rich history of defending socialist regimes. In the 1980s he voiced support for the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, a Marxist group with a poor human rights record. He called the Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega “an impressive guy” and claimed poor people were doing better under Sandinista control. In 1989, Sanders traveled to Cuba. When he returned he commented: “Cuba has solved some very important problems … I did not see a hungry child. I did not see any homeless people. Cuba today not only has free health care but very high-quality health care.”
While Sanders does concede that the Cuban government is authoritarian, he does not renounce his statements praising their healthcare system and literacy programs. Also, he said that China “has made more progress in addressing extreme poverty than any country in the history of civilization, so they’ve done a lot of things for their people.”
Senator Ted Cruz, who is of Cuban descent, responded to Sanders’ recent statement by tweeting: “It really makes a difference when those you murder at the firing squad can read or write.” Democrats are also condemning Bernie Sanders for his comments on Cuba. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) tweeted:
“Whether the subject is Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Israel or other foreign policy challenges, @SenSanders has consistently taken positions that are wrong on the merits and will alienate many Florida voters now and in the general election if he is nominated.”
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell(D-Fla.), a South American immigrant, found Bernie’s comments “unacceptable” and highlighted how the Cuban government jailed and murdered dissidents and continues to oppress its people today. Lourdes Diaz, president of the Democratic Hispanic Caucus in Broward County, said, “I’m totally disgusted and insulted”, adding “Maybe this will open people’s eyes to how super, super liberal and radical Bernie is.” Florida is home to many Cubans who escaped the authoritarian Castro regime. Sanders is doing himself no favors in Florida by defending murderous tyrant Fidel Castro, and trying to bring aspects of socialism to the United States.