Former Congresswoman Blasts Sanders Over Castro Remarks: 'I Lived it As a Child'

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Posted: Feb 25, 2020 5:15 PM
Former Congresswoman Blasts Sanders Over Castro Remarks: 'I Lived it As a Child'

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the former Republican Congresswoman from Florida who was born in Havana, Cuba, slammed Democratic frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders after he doubled down on his comments about Fidel Castro.

"Yeah, Bernie' truth is truth,' as u say, and the 'truth' is that Fidel Castro was, from the 1st day he illegally took power, a ruthless murderer, a sadistic killer who stripped Cubans of all freedoms," she tweeted. "Literacy programs were indoctrination. I lived it as a child. All lies."

During a CNN town hall on Monday, Sanders pushed back on Democratic criticism he received for praising some aspects of Castro's regime.

"When Fidel Castro first came to power...he initiated a major literacy program. There were a lot of folks in Cuba at that point who were illiterate," Sanders said Monday. "He formed the literacy brigade... [Castro] 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."

He then claimed he's been critical of authoritarian regimes around the world. 

"Truth is truth. All right?" he added. "If you want to disagree with me, if somebody wants to say that—and by the way, all of the Congresspeople you mentioned just so happen to be supporting other candidates…but you know, the truth is the truth. And that is what happened on the first years of the Castro regime."

The comments came after Sanders commended Cuba's "literacy program" in a "60 Minutes" interview that aired Sunday.

"We're very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba, but you know, it's unfair to simply say everything is bad. You know?" Sanders said. "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?"