Sanders: ‘Unfair to simply say everything is bad’ in Cuba under Castro
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the leading Democratic presidential candidate, said in an new interview that it’s “unfair” to classify everything as being “bad” in Cuba under the authoritarian rule of the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
“We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba, but you know it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad,” Sanders told “60 Minutes” in an interview that aired late Sunday.
“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?” he added.
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) February 24, 2020
His remarks came in response to a question about comments he made in the 1980s explaining that the Cuban people did not rise up because of education and health care.
Host Anderson Cooper followed up by noting that a lot of dissidents were imprisoned in Cuba.
“That’s right. And we condemn that,” Sanders responded. “Unlike Donald Trump, let’s be clear, you want to — I do not think that Kim Jong Un is a good friend. I don’t trade love letters with a murdering dictator. Vladimir Putin, not a great friend of mine.”
Sanders’s comments on Castro drew bipartisan pushback Sunday night after the interview aired.
Florida Rep. Donna Shalala (D) said she hopes in the future Sanders will speak to some of her constituents before he “decides to sing the praises of a murderous tyrant like Fidel Castro.”
I’m hoping that in the future, Senator Sanders will take time to speak to some of my constituents before he decides to sing the praises of a murderous tyrant like Fidel Castro. https://t.co/Iwvmay9LOH pic.twitter.com/KT9sQ0pfkh
— Donna E. Shalala (@DonnaShalala) February 24, 2020
Rep. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also said Sanders is “wrong” about why people didn’t overthrow Castro.
“It’s not because ‘he educated their kids,gave them health care’ it‘s because his opponents were jailed,murdered or exiled,” he tweeted.
Likely Dem nominee praised the supposed “achievements” Castro regime
And he’s wrong about why people didn’t overthrow Castro. It’s not because “he educated their kids,gave them health care” it‘s because his opponents were jailed,murdered or exiled https://t.co/6i41w7zcDe
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 24, 2020
And Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) attacked Sanders over his “democratic socialist” ideology after the interview aired.
“This isn’t Cuba, Venezuela or the USSR. 2020 may be the year Bernie Sanders and the Democratic Socialists take over the Democratic Party, but it better not be the year they take over the United States of America,” Zeldin tweeted.
This isn’t Cuba, Venezuela or the USSR. 2020 may be the year Bernie Sanders and the Democratic Socialists take over the Democratic Party, but it better not be the year they take over the United States of America.
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) February 24, 2020
Sanders is leading the Democratic presidential primary field, after winning in New Hampshire and Nevada.