House Republicans are reportedly planning to force a procedural vote Thursday on legislation condemning Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ praise of late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro’s literacy initiatives.
The amendment would disapprove of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate’s recent interview on “60 Minutes” during which he lauded Castro’s 1960s “literacy brigade” and said it’s “unfair to simply say everything is bad” about Castro’s regime.
“We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but, you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad,” Sanders told Anderson Cooper.
“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?”
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) February 24, 2020
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart is the chief sponsor of the proposal chastising Sanders for ignoring the human rights abuses Castro committed during his communist regime.
The vote could complicate re-election efforts for Democrats in tight House races and capitalize on worries of having Sanders as the party’s presidential frontrunner.
“Do they stand for Bernie or do they stand for freedom?” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said when he announced the legislation.
Several House Democrats openly criticized Sanders’ sympathetic comments, despite the party’s efforts to show unity going into November’s election.
“As the first South American immigrant member of Congress who proudly represents thousands of Cuban Americans, I find Bernie Sanders’ comments on Castro’s Cuba absolutely unacceptable,” Florida Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell tweeted.
“The Castro regime murdered and jailed dissidents, and caused unspeakable harm to too many South Florida families. To this day, it remains an authoritarian regime that oppresses its people, subverts the free press, and stifles a free society.”
The Castro regime murdered and jailed dissidents, and caused unspeakable harm to too many South Florida families. To this day, it remains an authoritarian regime that oppresses its people, subverts the free press, and stifles a free society.
— Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (@DebbieforFL) February 24, 2020
“Stalin doubled literacy in the Soviet Union, even as he murdered tens of millions of people,” New Jersey Rep. Tom Malinowski tweeted.
“Apologists for dictatorship – Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia – always say ‘they do some bad things, and some good things.’ It’s a way of making the seem just like us. It’s utterly wrong.”
Stalin doubled literacy in the Soviet Union, even as he murdered tens of millions of people.
Apologists for dictatorship – Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia – always say “they do some bad things, and some good things.” It’s a way of making them seem just like us. It’s utterly wrong. https://t.co/w3V1ZBb8cu
— Tom Malinowski (@Malinowski) February 26, 2020
Sanders defended his praise for Castro during the Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, saying that his comments were similar to what former President Barack Obama “said in terms of Cuba — that Cuba made progress on education,” Fox News reported.
Former Vice President Joe Biden came to the defense of his old boss and said Obama “did not in any way suggest that there was anything positive about the Cuban government” and he has “never embraced an authoritarian regime.”
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