The ongoing protests in Cuba by pro-democracy citizens waving American flags and demanding an end to the country’s communist government have led to multiple statements of support from U.S. lawmakers.
After years of statements in favor of the brutal Cuban regime and days of silence in the face of the current pro-democracy protests, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is finally coming forward to comment on the developing situation.
During last year’s Democratic presidential primaries, Sanders was interviewed by Anderson Cooper and asked about the prospects of a popular revolt in Cuba against the communists. Sanders stated that the Castro government “educated their kids, gave their kids health care, totally transformed the society it’s unfair to 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 also praised Cuba’s Communist leadership in a speech in 1986, and he spent his honeymoon with his wife in the Soviet Union in 1988.
“I remember, for some reason or another, being very excited when Fidel Castro made the revolution in Cuba. I was a kid, and it just seemed right and appropriate that poor people were rising against rather ugly rich people.”
As the protests became more widespread on July 11, Sanders remained silent until requests became more insistent for the self-described Democratic Socialist to speak to the Cuban situation.
He finally told Fox News, “Well, I support throughout Latin America and Cuba and every place else the right of people to protest for a decent economy and for political freedom.”
Even as Sanders serves in a now Democrat-controlled Senate, he continues to bash Republicans as he sees his party’s bid for sweeping changes to federal election law stall. Last month he wrote on Twitter: “It is a disgrace that at a time when authoritarianism, conspiracy theories, and political violence are on the rise, not a single Republican in the United States Senate has the courage to even debate whether we should protect American democracy or not.”
The Biden administration has also been subdued in making any public comment in favor of the Cuban demonstrators. In one of the limited statements, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan wrote on Twitter that the “U.S. supports freedom of expression and assembly across Cuba, and would strongly condemn any violence or targeting of peaceful protesters who are exercising their universal rights.”