This week, after months of hard selling his candidacy as a promotion of European-style democratic socialism, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) relapsed into defending murderous communist dictators while campaigning to be president of the United States. Given the opportunity to repudiate his 1985 defense of the Fidel Castro regime in Cuba – an evil regime which imprisoned and murdered thousands of Cuban dissidents and impoverished thousands more – Sanders reiterated his support for Castro on CBS’s “60 Minutes:” “We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. 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?”
This isn’t the first time Sanders has cozied up to the murderous Castro regime. In 1985, he suggested Castro supporters “had an almost religious affection” for the dictator because he “educated their kids, gave their kids health care, totally transformed society.” He also complained that former President John F. Kennedy’s “hatred of the Cuban revolution” made him “physically nauseated.” This ignores that Castro was aiming Soviet nuclear missiles at the United States in this period, that the Cuban literacy rate was already among the highest in Latin America before the Castro regime and that Cuban healthcare has been riddled with dilapidated hospital buildings and a shortage of medical resources (and that Cuba had healthcare prior to the Castro coup).
Sanders’ sycophantic propagandizing on behalf of brutal dictators isn’t relegated exclusively to Fidel Castro, though. In 1980 Sanders and his wife took a trip to the Soviet Union and returned with proud claims that the Soviets had “the most effective transit system” he had ever seen. He also praised the Soviets for “moving forward into some of the early visions of their revolution, what their revolution was about in 1917.” During this same decade, he hobnobbed with the murderous communist regime of Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega, celebrating the Sandinista revolution and attending a rally at which demonstrators chanted “the Yankees will die.” When pressed about the Ortega regime’s murdering of thousands, he pointed out Abraham Lincoln had once suspended habeas corpus.
More recently — as in last year — Sanders refused to categorize socialist Venezuelan despot Nicolas Maduro as a dictator and declined to recognize Juan Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela. During Tuesday’s debate in South Carolina, Sanders stated that “when dictatorships, whether it be the Chinese or the Cubans, do something good, you acknowledge that.”
This is a candidate who doesn’t have a kind word for the free markets which have lifted half the globe from abject poverty over the last century or the U.S. healthcare system that provides the highest quality, immediate medical care in the world, including care for the 160 million Americans he will boot from their private plans. But Sanders can find the good in the communist Chinese government which censors speech and has jailed dissidents or the Soviet regime which executed, imprisoned and exiled millions of kulaks in order to seize their farmland for collectivization. This is a candidate who has never met a communist dictator with whom he would not exchange pleasantries.
For his entire career Bernie Sanders has praised dictatorial regimes, whitewashed or outright ignored their crimes against humanity and propagandized on their behalf in order to dishonestly distinguish between their collectivist visions and the execution and imprisonment of dissidents utilized to bring those plans to fruition. He has nothing but criticism for America and plenty of niceties for evil dictatorships. History has proved that communism and tyranny are two peas in a collectivist pod. History has also proved that Bernie Sanders doesn’t have a problem with that.
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Thumbnail photo courtesy of Gerald Herbert / AP Photo.
Kevin Catapano is a weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.