For those of us who knew Bernie Sanders existed before this campaign we were not surprised when Univision pulled out an old video of Sanders talking in glowing terms about Cuba’s Fidel Castro. The surprise was that it took so long. There have been a few small articles written on the subject, but his views on many things have gone unnoticed. I don’t think it’s some big conspiracy. Even now Sanders is treated as a long shot, so the media does not waste that much ink or time on digging things up.
To be clear I do not think Bernie Sanders is a fan of the way Fidel Castro ran Cuba. I do think he is a fan of many of the things he “accomplished”. In the video he praises Cuba’s education and medical systems. This video is just one piece of a whole puzzle of things that make up Bernie’s political career. Many of these pieces make one thing obvious. Bernie Sanders is a fan of the utopian version of communism. I am not talking Soviet style, but more the pure view spoken about by Karl Marx.
Moving on from that, the defense online of these remarks were even crazier. During the debate Sanders himself answered the question about the video attacking the US foreign policy in Central America. I agree with Bernie that during the Reagan presidency US foreign policy in Central and South America was abhorrent. However, that does not mean I would have to choose team Castro on these issues. That is pretty much what Sanders and his defenders were saying last night.
Have any of these Hillarybots heard of the Contra death squads? Or is it just that whatever Hillary says must be defended at all costs?
— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) March 10, 2016
Using this logic, the only way I can say the Iraq War under George W. Bush was a mistake is to say Saddam Hussein had many good ideas. No, both these things can be true. We should not have gone into Iraq, and Hussein was an evil dictator. The same way I can say that our policy in Central America was wrong, and Castro was not a leader we should be looking up to.
This all comes back to the same point. Whether domestic legislation or foreign policy, leading takes nuanced thinking. Bernie Sanders does not understand nor believe in nuance. We see it on trade, foreign policy, and now on Fidel Castro. Leaders have to compromise, and take long views. He does neither.