Since he launched his insurgent presidential campaign in 2016, Bernie Sanders political philosophy has been marred by criticisms. Many argue that ‘Democratic Socialism’ is a repeat of socialist experiments which have harmed people worldwide throughout the last century.
Those criticisms have only gotten louder in light of his CNN Town Hall, particularly an exchange on Maduro which many have found troubling.
When pressed by Wolf Blitzer on why he has stopped short of calling Maduro a dictator, Sanders defended the notion that there are still “democratic operations” taking place in Venezuela. He claimed that these democratic operations had simply been marred by anti democratic behavior.
Internationally supervised, free elections are what Sanders claimed should be our governments focus. He then attacked President Trump for being concerned about Venezuela, as opposed to Saudi Arabia, where there were no elections.
This is far from the first time Sanders has courted controversy by posing vigorous defenses of brutal socialist dictatorships. Last week the Twitter user The Reagan Battalion posted a video from 1986 emerged of Sanders praising communist dictator Fidel Castro and the revolution which brought him into power.
“I remember being very excited when Fidel Castro made the revolution in Cuba,” Sanders said. “I remember reading that it seemed right and appropriate that poor people were rising up against rather ugly rich people.”
“At the time, I was very excited and impressed by the Cuban revolution, and there was Kennedy and Nixon talking about which particular method they should use about destroying the revolution,” Sanders said.
A video from 1985 emerged showing Sanders admitting that he traveled to Nicaragua to advise the Ortega government on how to counter the PR strategy of the United States.
Sanders described himself as “impressed” by the sincerity of the Sandinista leaders. He also spoke of his suggestions for addressing the PR problems the thuggish Ortega regime had experienced. Sanders also praised Fidel Castro profusely in this video, claiming that he educated kids and gave them healthcare.
Unfortunately, it only gets worse. The Reagan Battalion posted a video of Sanders praising the ultimate thuggish communist regime, the Soviet Union. He claimed that the Soviet public transportation system, youth programs and culture impressed their group.
Sanders described the Soviet youth programs as “far beyond what we do in this country”. His wife also went on to praise them in various ways which most Americans would find despicable.
Sanders has even praised the former leader of Venezuela, the deceased Hugo Chavez. Sanders posted an op-ed on his website declaring that the American dream is easier to reach in Venezuela than it is in the United States.
The claim that Venezuela was a paradise under Hugo Chavez was common among left wing activists at this time. I am sure Sanders would love for people to forget about this today.
It is difficult to imagine Sanders winning a general election with such well documented, explicit praise of dictators and communist regimes. How will it impact him in the Democrat primaries? We will surely find out.