Flashback: When Bernie Sanders praised Fidel Castro

By WND Staff

After attending a rally in Nicaragua in 1985 at which Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega railed against the U.S. government, Bernie Sanders praised Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro in a local television interview in Vermont.

A video of the interview surfaced during the 2016 presidential campaign. And it has drawn attention again with the independent senator’s decision to vie for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination.

Sanders said he was “impressed” by Ortega and drew a comparison to Castro’s Cuba in an interview aired Aug. 8, 1985, on Vermont’s Channel 17/Town Meeting Television, Mediaite reported.

Sanders said that when the communists took over Cuba in 1961, “everybody was totally convinced that Castro was the worst guy in the world and all of the Cuban people were going to rise up in rebellion against Fidel Castro.”

“They forgot that he educated their kids, gave their kids healthcare, totally transformed the society,” he said.

“Not that Fidel Castro and Cuba are perfect, they certainly are not,” Sanders added, “but just because Ronald Reagan dislikes these people doesn’t mean that people in their own nations feel the same way.”

Sanders was asked about helping the Sandinistas get their message out to the American people.

“Reagan and his people are so sophisticated, they own the airwaves … the media, every time Reagan gives them a photo opportunity, thousands, ‘Thank you, Mr. President, thank you very much for telling us another lie!'”

Mediaite noted that despite documented human-rights abuses, Sanders defended his remarks in 2016 debate with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“The key issue here was whether the United States should go around overthrowing small Latin American countries. I think that that was a mistake … both in Nicaragua and Cuba,” Sanders said.

“Look, let’s look at the facts here. Cuba is, of course, an authoritarian undemocratic country, and I hope very much as soon as possible it becomes a democratic country,” Sanders said in the 2016 debate.

“But on the other hand … it would be wrong not to state that in Cuba they have made some good advances in health care. They are sending doctors all over the world. They have made some progress in education. I think by restoring full diplomatic relations with Cuba, it will result in significant improvements to the lives of Cubans and it will help the United States and our business community invest.”

Clinton responded.

“I think in that same interview, he praised what he called the revolution of values in Cuba and talked about how people were working for the common good, not for themselves,” she said.

“I just couldn’t disagree more. You know, if the values are that you oppress people, you disappear people, you imprison people or even kill people for expressing their opinions, for expressing freedom of speech, that is not the kind of revolution of values that I ever want to see anywhere.”

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