On Monday, Democratic Florida Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell publicly hit presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) over his remarks on murderous Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro during a Sunday night interview on “60 Minutes.”
“As the first South American immigrant member of Congress who proudly represents thousands of Cuban Americans, I find Senator Bernie Sanders’ comments on Castro’s Cuba absolutely unacceptable,” blasted Rep. Mucarsel-Powell, who is of South American descent, via Twitter on Monday.
“The Castro regime murdered and jailed dissidents, and caused unspeakable harm to too many South Florida families,” the Democrat continued. “To this day, it remains an authoritarian regime that oppresses its people, subverts the free press, and stifles a free society.”
The Castro regime murdered and jailed dissidents, and caused unspeakable harm to too many South Florida families. To this day, it remains an authoritarian regime that oppresses its people, subverts the free press, and stifles a free society.
— Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (@DebbieforFL) February 24, 2020
Appearing on a “60 Minutes” Sunday night, Sanders defended Castro to host Anderson Cooper, emphasizing the dictator’s “literacy program.”
“We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. You know?” the socialist told Cooper, according to CBS News. “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?”
Cooper, also an anchor at CNN, pressed, “A lot of dissidents [are] imprisoned in Cuba.”
“That’s right. And we condemn that,” Sanders replied, before shifting gears to hit President Donald Trump. “Unlike Donald Trump, let’s be clear, you want to– I do not think that Kim Jong Un is a good friend,” he said. “I don’t trade love letters with a murdering dictator. Vladimir Putin, not a great friend of mine.”
Sanders, then serving as the mayor of Burlington, praised Castro in 1985, as highlighted by The Daily Wire:
At the time, Sanders was the mayor of Burlington and was interviewed by the Center for Media & Democracy’s Channel 17/Town Meeting Television about his trip to Nicaragua. In the interview he made comparisons between Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega and Castro. Sanders just could not get enough of Castro.”
“In 1961, [America] invaded Cuba, and everybody was totally convinced that Castro was the worst guy in the world,” said Sanders.
“All the Cuban people were going to rise up in rebellion against Fidel Castro. They forgot that he educated their kids, gave their kids health care, totally transformed society,” he said.
“You know, not to say Fidel Castro and Cuba are perfect – they are certainly not – but just because Ronald Reagan dislikes these people does not mean to say the people in these nations feel the same,” continued Sanders.
According to Mucarsel-Powell’s campaign website, Rep. Mucarsel-Powell immigrated to the States as a young girl:
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell immigrated to the United States as a young girl with her mother and sisters – in search of opportunities to better their lives. Debbie has early memories of the one-room apartment they lived in, while her mother worked double shifts as a home health care provider and attended school in the evenings and on the weekends to learn English.
“Mucarsel-Powell, who emigrated to the U.S. from Ecuador as a young girl, represents many Cuban Americans,” Newsweek outlined on Monday. “Her district includes portions of Miami-Dade County and all of the Florida Keys and the Everglades.”
Editor’s note: The original story referred to Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL) as being from Cuba. She is from Ecuador. The story and its headline have been updated to reflect Rep. Mucarsel-Powell’s correct heritage. We regret the error.