House Democrats unanimously voted on Thursday during a procedural vote to block a resolution to condemn leading Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders' (VT) praise for some of policies Fidel Castro carried out when his regime came to power.
"When Castro first came to power...he initiated a major literacy program. There was a lot of folks in Cuba at that point who were illiterate and he formed a literacy brigade that went out and they helped people learn to read and write. You know what? I think teaching people to read and write is a good thing," Sanders said at a recent CNN town hall, adding he does not support the government's abuse of human rights.
The resolution was put forward by Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL) and stated the following:
"Condemning the comments of Senator and Democratic Socialist Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders (I–VT), disregarding the history of systemic human rights abuses, forced indoctrination, and authoritarian actions of the literacy and education policies of the Communist Castro dictatorship in Cuba."
1: Condemns the use of firing squads, imprisonment, torture, and acts of repudiation to suppress dissent in totalitarian Cuba, as well as the forced communist indoctrination policies carried out by the Castro dictatorship in Cuba;
2: Condemns the comments of Senator and Democratic Socialist candidate for President Bernie Sanders (I-VT) supporting the forced reeducation policies implemented by the tyrannical Castro regime;
3: Rejects the false claims that health care, literacy, and education have improved under the Castro regime;
4: Calls for democratic government, liberation of all political prisoners, freedom of belief and expression, and the respect of all basic human rights for the Cuban people;
5: Stands in solidarity with the Cuban people in their struggle to achieve essential freedoms and liberties.
FLOOR ALERT: @HouseDemocrats just BLOCKED @MarioDB's resolution condemning Senator Sanders' shameful praise of the communist Castro dictatorship - the murderous, terrorist regime in #Cuba. pic.twitter.com/A5x2TxArFW— House Rules Republicans (@RulesReps) February 27, 2020
While they have condemned Sanders' comments on social media and in interviews, Florida Democrats Donna Shalala and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell were not present at the vote on advancing the Previous Question.