The hashtag #FidelCastro trended over the weekend into Monday after Bernie Sanders said during a “60 Minutes” interview that “it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad” about the late Cuban president.
“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?” the Democratic frontrunner told Anderson Cooper during the CBS News special.
Members of the media were quick to jump on Sanders’ comments.
On CNN’s “New Day,” political analyst John Avlon devoted Monday’s”Reality Check” segment to Sanders’ comments. “For decades, he celebrated aspects of the Cuban revolution,” Avlon stated. “This is — to use a favorite phrase from the progressive left — problematic,” he added. Avlon then showed a montage of various headlines reporting on Sanders’ past pro-Cuba and pro-Sandinista past.
As the front-runner, Bernie Sanders’ record is going to come under scrutiny in front of a far larger audience than ever before – his interview with Anderson Cooper on Cuba under Castro is just the beginning, says @JohnAvlon in today’s #RealityCheck pic.twitter.com/wwzh3Xfo0h
— New Day (@NewDay) February 24, 2020
“Here is @BernieSanders TONIGHT defending Fidel Castro’s murderous totalitarian Communist regime in Cuba Democrats, nominating this man will absolutely re-elect @realDonaldTrump and end our Constitutional republic,” tweeted Fernand Amandi, managing partner of leading a public opinion research and strategic communications consulting firm.
The Florida Republican party even spoke out Monday morning: “Florida will not stand for @BernieSanders comments. We are home to over a million Cubans and it’s disgusting that a Democrat frontrunner is ‘impressed’ with Fidel Castro‘s murderous regime. When he took over, thousands were killed or imprisoned for not agreeing with his policies.”
Elsewhere, reaction was not nearly as critical. Podcaster Michael Tracey tweeted, “You might be able to get some elderly South Floridians worked up by screaming about Bernie and Fidel Castro but the rest of the country does not care. Good luck running against Bernie with the conservative movement playbook circa 1980.”
Historian Patrick Iber contextualized the interview, writing, “Sanders is explaining that one of the reason that ordinary people didn’t rise up against Castro more was that he put in place widely popular programs in 59-62. That’s 100% true.”
Watch Sanders’ interview below:
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) February 24, 2020