Democrat presidential frontrunner Bernie Sanders has praised authoritarian Communist dictator Fidel Castro’s ‘massive literacy program‘ during an appearance on CNN.
Sanders, 78, told Anderson Cooper he was standing by comments he made in the 1980s praising the communist dictator’s brutal leadership of Cuba in which he imposed one-party rule and imprisoned anyone who disagreed with him.
The Vermont senator and socialist defended the Communist regime as ‘not all bad‘ during a disturbing and wide-ranging 60 Minutes interview which aired Sunday.
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During the interview, he told Anderson Cooper: ‘We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. You know?
‘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?’
Sanders had said of dictator Castro in 1985: ‘He educated their kids, gave them health care, totally transformed the society, you know?’
DailyMail report: Castro ruled Cuba for nearly half a century. A Cold War foe of the U.S., Castro’s government imprisoned dissidents and imposed one-party rule on the island nation. He died at the age of 90 in 2016.
When pushed further on the dissidents imprisoned in the country, Sanders replied: ‘That’s right. And we condemn that. Unlike Donald Trump, let’s be clear…I do not think that Kim Jong Un is a good friend.
‘I don’t trade love letters with a murdering dictator. Vladimir Putin, not a great friend of mine.‘
‘SHOCKED’ TO BE A FRONTRUNNER
The self proclaimed Democratic socialist won a decisive victory Saturday in the Nevada caucuses, solidifying his frontrunner status in the race to choose the Democratic nominee who faces President Donald Trump in November’s election.
The 78-year-old senator from Vermont was leading with about 46 percent, followed by former vice president Joe Biden at 19 percent.
But even for Sanders the results are ‘shocking‘, adding: ‘The ideas that seemed radical four years ago are now kind of mainstream.
‘When Donald Trump was a private businessman in New York, he got $800 million in tax breaks and subsidies to build luxury housing. That’s called corporate socialism.
‘What democratic socialism is about is saying, ‘Let’s use the federal government to protect the interests of working families.’
Moderate Democrats are growing increasingly nervous that Sanders’ call for a political ‘revolution’ would drive voters away from the party, both in the matchup against President Donald Trump and in House and Senate races.
‘I think it would be a real burden for us in these states or congressional districts that we have to do well in,’ South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, the House majority whip and the top-ranking black Democrat in Congress, said Sunday on ABC’s ‘This Week.’
‘The country can’t afford to let Bernie Sanders skate by another debate without a focus on his extreme record,’ said Mike Bloomberg spokesperson Galia Slayen.