Cuban newspaper gives front-page coverage for Sanders’s Castro comments

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) appeared on the front page of a Cuban newspaper Tuesday following his nuanced comments on the Cuban revolution. 

The current Democratic primary front-runner was praised in a column published on the front page of Granma, the Cuban Communist Party’s official newspaper, for saying Fidel Castro’s communist government was successful in expanding literacy programs in the island nation. However, Sanders went on to explain he did not support the country’s authoritarian leadership. 

“We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba, but you know it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad,” Sanders said on CBS’s “60 minutes.” “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?” 

The column acknowledged Sanders’s brand of socialism is different from what’s gone through Latin America. 

“Although he made it clear that his ‘socialism’ is not that of Venezuela or Cuba and stressed that the type of society in which he believes in exists in countries such as Denmark, Finland and Sweden, the legislator said that it is ‘unfair to say simply that everything is wrong’ on the island,” the column read.

The column from the Cuban newspaper comes as criticism against the Vermont senator for his comments on CBS News has mounted from both sides of the aisle. The self-described democratic socialist was asked again at a CNN town hall Monday about his comments, and he doubled down candidly: “I think literacy is a good thing.” 

Sanders’s comments drew ire from several moderate Democrats, many of whom represent large Cuban American populations in South Florida. The newspaper’s editorial took a swipe at those politicians as well.

“As expected, his comments provoked the anger of the most extremist sector of Cuban-Americans in South Florida, who oppose any rapprochement with the Caribbean island,” the column read.

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