A controversial U.S. presidential candidate has been caught defending a communist revolutionary who was responsible for thousands of deaths in the Caribbean.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has confessed he is an admirer of Fidel Castro even though the Cuban communist revolutionary has been documented a responsible for more than 10,000 state sanctioned executions during his rule.
“We are very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but you know it is unfair to simply say everything is bad you know,” Sanders told “60 Minutes” in a video shared on Twitter.
Sanders suggested the country’s affordable education and primary health care system that “totally transformed the society” justified Castro’s mass imprisonment and execution of dissidents.
“When Fidel Castro came into office you know what he did, he had a massive literacy program,” he said. “Is that a bad thing, even though Fidel Castro did it [imprisoning dissidents?]”
When Sanders was further questioned about his support for a dictator, he tried to defend his views by distancing himself from both the incumbent North Korean and Russian leadership.
“Let us be clear I do not think a Kim Jong Un is a good [North Korean] leader,” he said. “I do not trade love letters with a dictator, [Russian President] Vladimir Putin [is] not a great friend of mine.”
The tactic did not convince Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) who rejected Castro’s education policy as a good reason to support the revolutionary’s heavy-handed style of governing.
“It really makes a difference when those you murder at the firing squad can read and write,” the senator said on Twitter.
Castro passed his political power to brother Raúl back in 2011 after spending nearly half a century leading Cuba. The revolutionary finally died in 2016.
The senator has previously been unapologetic about spreading his socialist agenda, regularly posting to social media his dissatisfaction with the capitalist system and love for socialism.
“It is not acceptable that three people own more wealth than the bottom half of Americans,” he said on Twitter.
He also tried to appeal to undecided American voters who might be swayed into thinking they might never need to work hard again under a Sanders administration if he is elected at the general election on Nov. 3.
“It is not acceptable for Americans to need two or three jobs to put food on the table,” he said. “It is not acceptable that half of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.”