Socialist Bernie Sanders, the current leader in the race for the Democratic nomination for president, doubled down on his praise for murderous communist dictator Fidel Castro on Monday night and went on to praise communist China.
“I will take one more step down the road from the stigma from some of your fellow Democrats,” CNN’s Chris Cuomo said during a Sanders town hall event. “You said on 60 Minutes this weekend, ‘It is unfair to say that everything is bad with the way that Fidel Castro ruled in Cuba.’
“Now, Democratic members of Congress who represent Cuban Americans in Florida, obviously you got to win there, they’re attacking your comment as absolutely unacceptable, singing the praises of a murderous tyrant,” Cuomo continued. “Response?”
“The response was, when Fidel Castro first came to power … he initiated a major literacy program,” Sanders falsely claimed. “There was a lot of folks in Cuba at that point who were illiterate. He formed a literacy brigade, they went out and helped people learn to read and write. You know what? I think teaching people to read and write is a good thing.”
Sanders then praised communist China, which murdered 45 million of its own people to implement communism and which currently has a million people in concentration camps.
“China is an authoritarian country becoming more and more authoritarian. But can anyone deny, I mean the facts are clear, that they have taken more people out of extreme poverty than any country in history,” Sanders continued. “Do I get criticized because I say that? It’s the truth. So that is the fact, end of discussion.”
Cuomo pointed out that Castro was a murderer, to which Sanders again doubled down on his praised of the communist dictator, “Truth is truth.”
WOW! Bernie Sanders just doubled down on his defense of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's literacy program at tonight's #CNNTownHall.
While also praising Communist China for having taken more people out of extreme poverty than any country in history. pic.twitter.com/XGv3KHj6z3
— Francis Brennan (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@FrancisBrennan) February 25, 2020
The Blaze reported that Sanders was promoting debunked 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.
Sanders also falsely claimed that the Democrats who have attacked him over his pro-communist comments are backing other candidates.
Reporter Josh Kraushaar noted: “At CNN town hall, Bernie Sanders said the FL Dem members of Congress crIticizing his Castro comments all have endorsed other 2020 candidates. That’s false: Reps. Donna Shalala and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell have not endorsed anyone in the Dem primary.”
At CNN town hall, Bernie Sanders said the FL Dem members of Congress crIticizing his Castro comments all have endorsed other 2020 candidates.
That’s false: Reps. Donna Shalala and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell have not endorsed anyone in the Dem primary.
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) February 25, 2020
Sanders’ remarks were widely condemned by Republicans, Democrats, the media, and immigrants who have escaped communist nations.
This report has been updated to include additional information.