Lets Talk About Bernie’s Cuba Comments

Ryan Brooks, Reporter

“But you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad,” Senator Bernie Sanders said, in an hour interview, in response to a question regarding Fidel Castro. “When Fidel Castro came to office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?”

Predictably, these comments on Fidel Castro have caused mass hysteria within the media and Democratic establishment, allowing two arguments to emerge.

The first argument claims that the comments made by Senator Sanders will hurt Sanders’s chances of winning Florida against President Donald Trump, and will hinder house Democrats’ chances of retaining the House of Representatives.

While there is some truth to this, due to Florida’s large Cuban population and the visceral feelings they have toward Castro, it is not the fatal blow that many in the media and Democratic establishment would have you believe.

The second argument claims that Castro was a vicious dictator and that saying anything slightly positive about him cannot be tolerated. To be clear, it is true that Castro was an evil man who brutalized his people. As Sander does, one can accept this and the objectively good things that Castro did and that the media ignores.

Should we ignore the fact that while the United States government was blocking United Nations sanctions against the apartheid South African government, Castro was sending troops to bring down the South African government in Angola? Maybe we should also ignore the years of U.S. imperialism that Castro ended by taking down the authoritarian U.S. funded gangster Fulgencio Batista?

What we should do, as Sanders does, is acknowledge these empirical facts about Castro while also condemning his authoritarian nature.

In his comments, Sanders mainly refers to the early years of Castro, when he was reversing the damage done to the Cuban economy by years of U.S. Hegemony over the island due to the Platt Amendment. After seizing power from Batista, Castro and his cabinet passed reforms that renegotiated labor contracts, redistributed land, capped rents, implemented tariffs and nationalized industries that were given to U.S. companies under Batista’s reign. 

Needless to say, the majority of the American people do not know the totality of Castro’s legacy.

Many Americans, especially older Americans, are stuck in a cold war mind warp, facilitated by a media who continue to suppress any nuance insight about Castro.

However, it is not just the media that aid in this suppression. Joe Biden, who was part of an administration that sent military assistance to an authoritarian theocracy in Saudi Arabia, claimed that Sanders’s comments were abhorrent — as did Pete Buttigieg, Michael Bloomberg and other prominent Democratic candidates. 

Suffice to say, almost any politician in America would be unwilling to make the type of nuance comments Bernie Sanders made about such a divisive figure as Castro.

It would have been easy for Sanders to flat out say that everything Castro did was awful and that his previous comments on him were wrong. However, unlike many politicians in America, Sanders is actually consistent in his beliefs.

He will not say what the media thinks he should say. It is evident to anyone willing to look close enough that this is why Sanders is the undisputed frontrunner in the Democratic primary and why he has millions of fervent supporters who will not abandon him.

Shockingly, people like when their politicians say what they mean and stick by their principle. Maybe a few more of them should try it, including the President.