Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba, promoted comments by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in an article Wednesday, in which the Democrat primary frontrunner praised Fidel Castro for his alleged “literacy campaigns.”
Shortly after the 1959 Cuban Revolution, Castro implemented indoctrination schemes in which children were forced to learn to read only through Marxist teachings that glorified mass murderers like Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Cuba had an extremely high literacy rate, and quality of life generally, prior to Castro’s undemocratic seizure of power.
Sanders has defended Castro on three separate occasions this week: in a Sunday interview with 60 Minutes, in remarks to CNN the next day, and on the debate stage in South Carolina last night.
The Granma article, titled “Bernie Sanders Recognized the Achievements of Cuba in Education and Health,” referenced the 60 Minutes interview.
Sanders, “today one of the strongest aspirants to the Democrat Party nomination to November’s presidential elections, recognized Cuba’s role in sending doctors all over the world,” the newspaper alleged. “While he made clear that his ‘socialism’ is not that of Venezuela or Cuba and underlined that the type of society he believes in is like what he believes exists in Denmark … the lawmaker affirmed that it is ‘unfair to simply say that everything is bad’ on the island.”
“As is to be expected, his comments provoked the ire of the most extremist Cuban-American sector in southern Florida, who oppose any proximity to the Caribbean island,” Granma concluded.
The newspaper republished some of his remarks in which he praised Cuba’s literacy rate and Castro’s slave doctor program.
“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 told 60 Minutes’ Anderson Cooper.
The comments prompted condemnation from many sectors of American society, including what Granma calls “extremist” survivors of communism. In a letter to Democrat National Committee chairman Tom Perez, four former Cuban political prisoners asserted that they were “offended that a presidential candidate of your party dared to praise a tyrant who shed so much blood of innocent Cubans, deprived all people of their basic rights,” and divided Cuban families, among other crimes.
Following his comments at the Democrat debate last night, in which Sanders again insisted, “when dictatorships, whether it is the Chinese or the Cubans, do something good, you acknowledge that,” another Castro regime propaganda outlet, “Cuba Debate,” praised the rise of radical leftism in America.
“An emerging political sector in the U.S., the greatly growing ‘democratic left’ led primarily by Bernie Sanders, is attacking many problems of American capitalist society where it hurts the fascists,” a “Cuba Debate” columnist wrote, “with concrete programs against the unusual military budget, against the reality that multi-millionaires pay an insignificant amount in taxes, against social services deficits.”
“Sanders’ ‘social democrat’ message is a launching point to detain and later open the way to the defeat of fascism,” the publication proclaimed.
Sanders received attention from Latin American communists and socialists long before the 2020 election. In 2017, for example, Granma published an interview with Communist Party USA international secretary Emile Schepers in which he insisted that “there is growing interest in communist ideas” in America.
“[M]illions of youth mobilized in support of the progressive ideas of Bernie Sanders during the Democratic Party primaries. Schepers is convinced that if the Vermont Senator had been Trump’s opponent, he would have won,” Granma asserted.
Longtime Cuban ally, dictator Nicolás Maduro, has similarly applauded “our revolutionary friend” Bernie Sanders. During the 2016 election, Maduro claimed that Sanders losing the Democrat primary to Hillary Clinton proved that America did not have free and fair elections and that Americans lived in a dictatorship.
“Bernie Sanders, our revolutionary friend, ought to win in the United States,” Maduro said on his television program at the time. “If the elections in the United States did not depend on an archaic system from 200 years ago, Bernie Sanders would be president.”
“In the United States, the people do not have social rights. They do not have the right to work, to stability, to a salary, they do not have the right to public health, free quality public education at all levels,” Maduro asserted.
During this campaign, multiple reports have revealed that U.S. intelligence officials have reason to believe that Sanders is receiving support from the government of Russia, which funds both communist regimes in Cuba and Venezuela. Sanders admitted this week that he had been alerted to Russian activity favoring his campaign.