Empower Wisconsin | Feb. 25, 2020
Brutal communist dictator Fidel Castro had some fine qualities, according to Democratic presidential frontrunner Bernie Sanders.
“We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba, but, you know, it’s simply unfair to say everything is bad” about Castro’s regime, the Vermont U.S. senator told Anderson Cooper Sunday evening in a 60 Minutes interview.
“You know, when Fidel Castro came into office you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program,” Sanders, who identifies as a Democratic Socialist, told Cooper. “Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?”
Sanders’ man crush aside, Fidel’s great literacy campaign came with a side of widespread censorship. As Reporters Without Borders put it, “(B)ehind the revolutionary’s romantic image lay one of the world’s worst press freedom predators.”
“The persecution of dissidents was one of the distinguishing features of his 49 years in power, and constitutes the harshest aspect of his heritage,” the site asserts.
Fidel’s legacy lived on. At the time of his death in 2016, Cuba ranked 171st out of 180 countries, according to Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index. Last year it ranked 169th.
So, while Cuba’s adult literacy rate may be above 99 percent, the library is limited.
Cooper reminded Sanders that there are a lot of dissidents in Cuba’s prisons.
Bernie’s got a long record of praising tyrants. In 1985, he met with and lauded Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega, describing him as a “very impressive guy.” He met Castro in the 1980s and spoke highly of Cuba’s social programs.
Sanders’ comments on 60 Minutes didn’t sit will with Miami Democrats, many who know all about the brutality and repression of Cuba’s communists.
“Democrats, nominating this man will absolutely re-elect Donald Trump and end our Constitutional republic,” tweeted Miami-based Democratic strategist and pollster Fernand Amandi, according to a story in the Miami Herald.
“You can practically hear Miami crack off Florida and go spinning into the ocean,” Miami-based author Roben Farzad tweeted.
Meanwhile, the Florida Democratic Party on Monday condemned dictatorships and said it “stands in solidarity” with those fleeing them. Some of Sanders’ fellow presidential contenders, too, condemned the socialist for his his rave reviews of Castro’s literacy programs.