U.S. Senator Bernard Sanders said this Sunday in an interview that he is “very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but it’s unfair to say everything’s bad.”
Sanders, who took the lead in the primary elections of the Democratic Party after his victory on Saturday in Nevada, made a partial defense of the Cuban revolution on CBS’s “60 Minutes” television program, CNN reported.
“When Castro came into office you know what he did? He had a literacy program. Is that something bad? Even if Fidel Castro did it?” Sanders commented in the interview.
When the show’s anchorman Anderson Cooper pointed to the number of dissidents imprisoned in Cuba, Sanders replied: “It’s true. And we condemn it,” cited by CNN.
However, the Vermont state senator disagreed with the U.S. president’s approach to the governments of North Korea and Russia.
“Unlike Donald Trump, let’s be clear, you want…. I don’t think Kim Jong Un is a good friend,” he said. “I don’t exchange love letters with a murderous dictator. Vladimir Putin is not a great friend of mine,” said Sanders, who defines himself as a Democrat Socialist.
His comments were the answer to a question about Sanders’ comments in the 1980s, when he considered that the people of Cuba did not rise against the government of Fidel Castro because of the free education and health care achieved after the revolution on the island.
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) February 24, 2020
After the interview, Democratic representative Donna Shalala of Florida tweeted: “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.”
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
For his part, Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, known for his position against the island’s government, criticized Sanders’ comments and said that “he’s wrong about why people did not overthrow Castro. It’s not because ‘he educated his children, he provided them with medical care,’ it’s because his opponents were imprisoned, killed or exiled,” said Rubio, quoted by CNN.
“Democratic Socialism sounds benign. It’s not. It’s built on Marxism,” Rubio tweeted.
Democratic Socialism sounds benign. It’s not. It’s built on Marxism. pic.twitter.com/VoFZlkSIgT
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 24, 2020
Cuban diplomat and professor Carlos Alzugaray wrote in his Facebook account about Sanders’ comments that “in Cuba we will take note and not be in favor of his critical comments against Fidel, to a great extent ill-informed. What’s important here is that he argued about those who say that ‘everything’s bad’ in Cuba,” referring to the “narrative loved by the Cuban-American conservative right.”
Ya Cuba entró como tema de campaña. Y la introdujo Bernie Sanders anoche en el muy popular programa "60 minutes" de CBS….
*Caption: Cuba has already entered as a campaign topic. And Bernie Sanders introduced it last night on the very popular “60 minutes” CBS program….
Alzugaray described as a “significant political event, from the analytical point of view, that Sanders is in favor of a return to the normalization process initiated by Raúl Castro and Barack Obama” and said that the American politician “supports the lifting of the blockade.”
For his part, rapper, producer and activist Boots Riley said he met “Florida-based ex-pat Cuban anti-communist fams who send their kids back to Cuba to go to med school for free (close-to-free if you’re a non-citizen). They may or may not like what Bernie Sanders says about Cuba, but they’ll vote for that free university & free healthcare.”
I know Florida based ex-pat Cuban anti-communist fams who send their kids back to Cuba to go to med school for free (close-to-free if ur a non-citizen)
They may or may not not like what Bernie Sanders says about Cuba, but they'll vote for that free university & free healthcare.
— Boots Riley (@BootsRiley) February 24, 2020
A specialized scientific publication indicated in a study that Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All bill, if approved, could save the lives of thousands of people and save the state millions.
Speaking of which, today a joint study was brought out by Yale University, Forida University and the University of Maryland, using as a reference The Lancet, according to which moving to a universal health system or single payer/Medicare for All would prevent an annual 68,000 deaths that are avoidable, and would save families an annual 2,400 dollars. It would also reduce the cost to the State by 13%, equivalent to 450 billion dollars.
That is precisely Sanders’ main campaign promise.
Donald Trump said today from China that Democrats will prevent Senator Bernie Sanders from being anointed as a presidential candidate.