Florida Democrats on Feb. 24 condemned dictatorships in places such as Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, and shared their support for people fleeing tyrannical governments after 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said that not everything “was bad” about Cuba under the late Fidel Castros rule.
In a statement published on the partys official website, Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo urged candidates to better understand the stories of immigrant communities and said Democrats “stand in solidarity” with those who have been forced to flee dictator-ruled countries.
“Florida Democrats condemn dictators who toppled democracies across the globe and stand in solidarity with the thousands of people who have fled violent dictatorships in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua,” Rizzo said.
“Candidates need to understand our immigrant communities shared stories, as well as provide solutions to issues that matter to all Floridians including access to affordable health care and rejecting a Trump economy that works only for the very rich,” she added.
It comes after Sanders, in an interview aired on CBS News “60 Minutes” on Feb. 23, praised certain elements of Castros government.
Castro imposed a totalitarian Soviet-style communist regime on the Caribbean nation in 1959 and killed thousands of political opponents in the decades that followed. He gave up power in 2011 to his brother, Raul, and died in 2016.
“Were very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba, but you know, its unfair to simply say everything is bad,” Sanders said.
“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?”
His comments came in response to a question about previous remarks he had made in the 1980s suggesting that the Cuban people didnt rise up to overthrow Castro because he had given them education and health care.
Sanders, whose own father immigrated from what is now Poland in 1921, and who has emerged as the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for 2020 after winning the Nevada caucus on Feb. 22, faced criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for his remarks.
Former New York City Mayor and fellow Democratic candidate Mike Bloomberg tweeted, “Fidel Castro left a dark legacy of forced labor camps, religious repression, widespread poverty, firing squads, and the murder of thousands of his own people.
“But sure, Bernie, lets talk about his literacy program,” he added.
Amid the overwhelming criticism regarding his comments, Sanders defended his remarks during a televised town hall in South Carolina on Feb. 24, telling the audience that hes been “extremely consistent and critical of all authoritarian regimes all over the world including Cuba, including Nicaragua, including Saudi Arabia, including China, including Russia.”
“I happen to believe in democracy, not authoritarianism. China is an authoritarian country … but can anyone deny, I mean the facts are clear, that they have taken more people out of extreme poverty than any country in histRead More – Source