Socialist Bernie Sanders, the current front runner in the race for the Democratic nomination for president, praised murderous Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro during an interview on Sunday, arguing that he wasn’t that bad because he had a “massive literacy program.”
Sanders, who faced widespread backlash over his remarks, made the comments on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” with host Anderson Cooper when asked about his past support for tyrannical communist dictators.
“Back in the 1980s, Sanders had some positive things to say about the former Soviet Union and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua,” Cooper said while narrating during the segment. “Here he is explaining why the Cuban people didn’t rise up and help the U.S. overthrow Cuban leader Fidel Castro: ‘…he educated their kids, gave them health care, totally transformed the society, you know?'”
“We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad,” Sanders responded. “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?”
“A lot of dissidents imprisoned in Cuba,” Cooper responded.
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) February 24, 2020
The Blaze reported that Sanders was promoting communist propaganda with his misleading claims:
While it is true that Castro implemented a reading program on the island after seizing power in a bloody revolution in 1959, Cuba’s literacy rate was already high for a Latin American nation at the time and its educational gains have been comparable to those of its peers in the years since.
As attorney Hans Bader noted in an August 2016 article, nearly eight out of 10 Cubans already knew how to read by 1950. This figure was similar to that of Costa Rica, which also achieved 100 percent literacy over the following decades — except Costa Rica and other countries did so without the kind of authoritarian dictatorship that Cubans have endured under the Castro regime for over 61 years.
Dr. Andy Gomez, a retired University of Miami professor who led the school’s Cuban Studies department for decades, told The Blaze: “Contrary to what Senator Bernie Sanders said, the literacy campaign used by the Castro regime was part of their strategic plan to indoctrinate the Cuban people by using education at all levels in support of a Marxist ideology.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Castro was a murderous communist dictator:
The Cuba Archive project has already begun the heavy lifting by attempting to document the loss of life attributable to revolutionary zealotry. The project, based in Chatham, N.J., covers the period from May 1952 — when the constitutional government fell to Gen. Fulgencio Batista — to the present. It has so far verified the names of 9,240 victims of the Castro regime and the circumstances of their deaths. Archive researchers meticulously insist on confirming stories of official murder from two independent sources.
Cuba Archive President Maria Werlau says the total number of victims could be higher by a factor of 10. Project Vice President Armando Lago, a Harvard-trained economist, has spent years studying the cost of the revolution and he estimates that almost 78,000 innocents may have died trying to flee the dictatorship. Another 5,300 are known to have lost their lives fighting communism in the Escambray Mountains (mostly peasant farmers and their children) and at the Bay of Pigs. An estimated 14,000 Cubans were killed in Fidel’s revolutionary adventures abroad, most notably his dispatch of 50,000 soldiers to Angola in the 1980s to help the Soviet-backed regime fight off the Unita insurgency.
The archive project can be likened to the 1999 “Black Book of Communism,” which documented the world-wide cost of communism, noting that “wherever the millenarian ideology of Communism was established it quickly led to crime, terror and repression.” The Castro methodology, Cuba Archive finds, was much like that used in Poland and East Germany, less lethal than Stalin’s purges, but equally effective in suppressing opposition. …
Cuba Archive finds that some 5,600 Cubans have died in front of firing squads and another 1,200 in “extrajudicial assassinations.” …
The heftiest death toll is among those trying to flee. Many have been killed by state security.