Some Florida Democrats are criticizing Democratic presidential frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) for downplaying Fidel Castro's regime, which jailed and executed dissidents, because he at least improved the country's literacy rates.
"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 asked, adding. "Unlike Donald Trump, let's be clear, I do not think that Kim Jong-Un is a good friend. I don't trade love letters with a murdering dictator. Vladmir Putin, not a great friend of mine."
Sanders clarified by saying he did not agree with Castro's brutal actions towards dissidents.
Since Florida is a critical state to win in the Electoral College and is home to many Cubans who fled Castro's regime, Democrats in the staten are sounding the alarm that if Sanders is the nominee, then the party count on Florida going to President Trump in November.
Democratic Reps. Donna Shalala, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and Stephanie Murphy each tweeted criticisms in regards to Sanders' remarks.
I'm hoping that in the future, Senator Sanders will take time to speak to some of my constituents before he decides to sing the praises of a murderous tyrant like Fidel Castro. https://t.co/Iwvmay9LOH pic.twitter.com/KT9sQ0pfkh— Donna E. Shalala (@DonnaShalala) February 24, 2020
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
Whether the subject is Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Israel or other foreign policy challenges, @SenSanders has consistently taken positions that are wrong on the merits and will alienate many Florida voters now and in the general election if he is nominated. #FlaPol— Stephanie Murphy (@SMurphyCongress) February 24, 2020
Political strategists Ana Navarro and Rick Wilson, who are based in Florida, called out Sanders.
"And let’s be clear, Cubans weren’t exactly communicating by grunts. Most knew how to read," Navarro said.
Castro regime’s been in power in Cuba for +60 yrs w/o free elections. They’ve killed, jailed, tortured thousands. They confiscated assets, expelled priests & nuns... And let’s be clear, Cubans weren’t exactly communicating by grunts. Most knew how to read. pic.twitter.com/kKGM66a8ci— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) February 24, 2020
I was in 2nd Grade when Sandinistas came to power in Nicaragua. They adopted Cuban education model. The books/curriculum taught ideological indoctrination. Children had to recite communist, revolutionary, anti-American slogans. That’s how communist teach people to read and write.— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) February 24, 2020
FLA is home to many victims of Castros, Sandinistas, Maduro. I have friends whose dads were jailed, tortured, killed. I know Political Prisoners carrying physical & emotional scars. It’s an open wound for many of us.@BernieSanders should meet w/victims to understand the pain.— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) February 24, 2020
I might know a thing or two about Florida. Maybe.— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) February 24, 2020
But by all means, B**nie Bros, tell me more of your vast experience here and how much Florida loooooves Castro and how “but literacy programs” is gonna sell, not only in Dade/Broward but, well, everywhere.