2020 Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders is defending his past remarks regarding policies of late Prime Minister of Cuba Fidel Castro — sparking some bipartisan criticism on social media.
After a clip aired of the Vermont senator’s comments made in 1986 at the University of Vermont, Sanders is heard saying in a CBS News “60 Minutes” interview, “We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. You know?”
He continued, “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?”
Sanders then flipped it on President Donald Trump, as he said, “Unlike Donald Trump … 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.”
Watch the video below:
The 2020 Democratic hopefuls comments on CBS News didn’t sit well with some, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who called Sanders “wrong.”
Likely Dem nominee praised the supposed “achievements” Castro regime— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 24, 2020
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
The central promise every Marxist makes is that if we give up some of our individual freedom,the state will provide us more “security” like free health care & education.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 24, 2020
But ultimately Marxism fails to deliver “security” & you don’t have the freedom to do anything about it. https://t.co/vNdHDNmS6d
In 2011 Bernie Sanders wrote that “These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized …in places such as…Venezuela” than in America.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 24, 2020
Today, 1/3 of Venezuelans are hungry.https://t.co/Pzx0LRJNGl https://t.co/CMbpF0UaYu
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also wrote on Twitter late Sunday, “It really makes a difference when those you murder at the firing squad can read [and] write.”
Additionally, Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.) 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.”
Check out the reactions below:
It really makes a difference when those you murder at the firing squad can read & write. https://t.co/4DKbSKpI6t— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 24, 2020
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
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
Bernie Sanders supported Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) February 24, 2020
How is he the front runner to be the DNC Nomination for President?!
This is terrifying. Sensible Democrats, please wake up and join the Republican Party!
We need to defeat Socialism before it destroys us!
Imagine watching Bernie Sanders praising Fidel Castro in 2020 on national TV and thinking to yourself that as a “principled conservative” you need to vote for Bernie over Trump— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) February 24, 2020
Bernie is making a play for pro-Castro voters here. This might be risky in Florida, but he just locked up Madison, Wisconsin https://t.co/F88SXhdSPF— Eli Lake (@EliLake) February 24, 2020
Sanders defends Fidel Castro’s revolution and programs. In Miami, reaction among Democrats is severe: “You can practically hear Miami crack off Florida and go spinning into the ocean.” https://t.co/DLZuicBSle— Marc Fisher (@mffisher) February 24, 2020
Sanders has pushed his way to the front for the party’s nomination in 2020, as he is leading in national polls, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden. The self-described Democratic socialist also came out on top in the Nevada caucuses over the weekend.