Fact Check: Is Bernie Sanders Right About Cuba?
(RightWing.org) – Presidential Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has come under intense fire for saying that communist-socialist rule in Cuba wasn’t all bad and that Fidel Castro helped people learn to read.
On Sunday night, 60 Minutes played an old resurfaced video of Sanders explaining why Cubans didn’t rise up and overthrow Castro’s communist regime. Sanders said it was because Castro educated kids, gave them healthcare, and transformed society.
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) February 24, 2020
Is Sanders right? Are there any redemptive qualities to Cuba’s education? Has Sanders held long-time positive views of communist-socialist dictators?
At Tuesday night’s debate, Sanders doubled down and said he was right about Cuba. Is he right?
Cuba, at best, is stuck in the 1950s. By any objective standard, Cubans are extremely poor and dependent upon the government for food rations. Many of the homes people live in are dilapidated and furniture is extremely old. If you’re a farmer in Cuba, you don’t get to eat the fruit of your labor without permission from the government.
To contrast life in Cuba even further, It can take weeks just to get a spark plug and a broken car door could keep cab drivers out of work for months as they wait for a part.
If the healthcare system is as good as Sanders’s claims, why are basic medicines rationed and pharmacy shelves largely empty as reported by Forbes?
It appears that Sanders isn’t going to back down on his romantic views regarding Cuba and other communist-socialist countries in Latin America no matter how much he’s proved wrong. Sanders has a tendency to highlight what he sees as positives of socialist governments while ignoring their abuses.
Over the last 40 years, Sanders has made comments supporting communism and socialism in spite of the realities he chooses not to see. Here are just a few of his highlights:
- In 1985, Sanders traveled to Nicaragua to celebrate the 6th anniversary of their socialist revolution and called dictator Daniel Ortega “a very impressive guy.” It was reported that the Cuban-trained government canceled all civil liberties, performed psychological coercion and other human rights abuses, and held 4,000 political prisoners at the time of Sanders’s visit.
- During the 1980 and 1984 presidential campaigns, Sanders campaigned with the Socialist Workers Party, a known Marxist group whose objectives were to eliminate the US military and nationalize entire industries under government control.
- In 1986, Sanders said he was “very excited when Fidel Castro made the revolution in Cuba.” He went on to say that it was good poor people were rising up against “ugly” rich people. He further criticized bipartisan support for stopping the spread of communism.
- In August 1985, Sanders praised bread lines and food rationing.
- In a speech to the National Committee for Independent Political Action on June 22, 1989, in New York City, Sanders said that everyone knew he was a socialist in Vermont and that many people in his movement were socialists.
- In 1989, Sanders visited Cuba and praised their healthcare, free education, and free housing.
Sanders has always believed in the government ownership and administration of the economy over capitalism and free markets. Socialism at its basic core is a system of government ownership.
Many of the younger voters today don’t know anything about Cuba, Nicaragua, or the Cold War — and they don’t care. They hear Sanders whale on the unfairness of capitalism and tout the benefits of socialism, including lots of free stuff.
However, in states like Florida, where there are large groups of immigrants from socialist regimes like Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela — Sanders is extremely vulnerable and could hand the election to Trump if he wins the Democratic nomination.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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