After numerous videos of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders praising and defending murderous socialist dictatorships in the 1980s emerged, the Democratic Party 2020 presidential candidate admits he did his best at that time to foil U.S. policy.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on Friday defended his support of left-wing regimes and his antiwar activism in the 1980s, saying, “I did my best” to stop American foreign policy during the administration of former President Ronald Reagan.“
As a mayor, I did my best to stop American foreign policy, which for years was overthrowing governments in Latin America and installing puppet regimes,” the 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful said in an interview with The New York Times. “I did everything that I could as a mayor of a small city to stop the United States from getting involved in another war in Central America trying to overthrow a government.”
The Times reports that Sanders pushed a number of measures as mayor to oppose Reagan policies in Central America. He established two sister-city programs with cities in Russia and Nicaragua. He urged Reagan to “stop the CIA war against the people of Nicaragua” and embarked on trips to the Soviet Union and Cuba. On the Soviet Union, he described it Friday as “an authoritarian dictatorship” and said that he held those beliefs in the 80s as well.
“On the other hand, I was going to do everything that I could to prevent a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union,” he said.
His trip to the U.S.S.R. in particular has drawn scrutiny in the past, as have his remarks apparently glossing over some of the more disturbing aspects of communist countries — such as food shortages.
“It’s funny sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is because people are lining up for food. That’s a good thing,” he said in one vintage video unearthed by conservative activists earlier this year. “In other countries, people don’t line up for food, rich people get the food and poor people starve to death.”
After a trip to the Soviet Union in 1988, he held a press conference, along with his wife Jane, and said he was “extremely impressed” by the USSR’s public transportation system and that the “palaces of culture,” which he told an audience were much better than anything the U.S. had mustered.
In another 1985 interview with a local TV station, dug up by BuzzFeed News in 2015, he said of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro that “just because Ronald Reagan dislikes these people, doesn’t mean that people in their own nations feel the same way.”
“In 1959 … everybody was totally convinced that Castro was the worst guy in the world and all of the Cuban people were going to rise up in rebellion against Fidel Castro,” Sanders said. “They forgot that he educated their kids, gave their kids healthcare, totally transformed the society.”
One can disagree with U.S. policy in Latin America under President Reagan on its merits without supporting a totalitarian regime. But as a true socialist, Sanders not only disagreed, but he stood in full support of murderous and brutally repressive socialist dictatorships. A disturbing stance that to this day, he refuses to disavow.
Even with 30 years of perspective, Sanders remains faithful to his comrades in Cuba, Nicaragua, and the USSR. That should tell you all you need to know about him.