Monday, February 24, 2020

Bernie Sanders Defends Pro-Castro Comments

By Elizabeth Nolan Brown - February 24, 2020 at 09:30AM

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) was the big winner in Nevada this weekend. "Sanders hasn't locked up the race yet, but he's now in a position to do so," as Peter Suderman writes. "Democrats look very much like they're about to nominate a self-described democratic socialist for president."

Fresh off the Nevada win, Sanders went on 60 Minutes Sunday and defended his 1980s comments about Fidel Castro providing education and health care to the Cuban people. Sanders told the show that he is "very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba," but added that "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?"

Cooper pointed out that that this didn't apply for the political dissidents Castro imprisoned. On Twitter, Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas) put it a bit more vividly:

Sanders also stirred up some drama over the weekend with comments about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Sanders tweeted that he would not attend AIPAC's annual conference because of the organization's connection to "leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights." 

"As president, I will support the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians and do everything possible to bring peace and security to the region," Sanders said.

AIPAC responded:

The next Democratic primary takes place in South Carolina on Saturday, February 29. A recent poll of South Carolina voters found former Vice President Joe Biden with just a slight lead over Sanders among likely Democratic voters (28 percent versus 23 percent).

"Support for the former vice president has fallen by double-digits as Sanders and businessman Tom Steyer have made gains," notes CBS. Steyer was the top choice of 18 percent of South Carolina Democrats polled.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson has endorsed Sanders.


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Sanders pushes child-care-for-all. On 60 Minutes, the senator said that as president, he would push for free child care from infancy to age four.

"I get a little bit tired of hearing my opponents saying—'Gee, how you going to pay for a program that impacts and helps children or working-class families or middle-class families? How you going to pay for that?'" Sanders said. "And yet, where are people saying, 'How are you going to pay for over $750 billion on military spending?'"

Sanders is right about the military spending, and he is admirably committed to condemning America's endless imperial adventurism abroad. Yet during the same interview, Sanders was still willing to play world police with America's military if he becomes president.

Asked what he would do "if China took military action against Taiwan," Sanders said: "That's something—yeah. I mean I think we have got to make it clear to countries around the world that we will not sit by and allow invasions to take place…"


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