(RightWing.org) – Veteran socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) faced criticism recently for comments he’s made in support of the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Now it’s emerged that during the Cold War, the Soviet Union saw him as a propaganda asset.
Bernie Sanders has been far out on the left of US politics for decades, but with him now having a real chance of winning the Democrat presidential nomination, some of his past activities are coming under more scrutiny.
- Sanders has praised Fidel Castro, the Cuban communist dictator who died in 2016, on several occasions. He says his praise is meant for some social policies of the Castro regime – for example, its health and literacy programs – and not the overall system of one-party dictatorship, but the distinction isn’t all that clear.
- Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) mocked Sanders, tweeting, “it really makes a difference when those you murder at the firing squad can read and write.”
- In fact, Sanders has been more supportive of the Castro regime than he’s now admitting. In the 1980s he openly praised Cuba’s socialist policies – which included the murder of gays, throwing political opponents in concentration camps and sending thousands of troops to fight in African wars – and condemned American efforts to stop Castro exporting his murderous revolution to other countries.
- Alan Gross, a contractor for USAID who spent five years in a Cuban jail on charges of spying – which he’s always denied – was visited in prison by Sanders in 2014. He says the senator didn’t say much, and when he finally did speak it was to defend the Castro regime.
- Now the New York Times has discovered Soviet documents from the 1980s discussing the “Sister city” program, which saw American cities form links with foreign ones to improve international relations.
- Sanders, mayor of Burlington, VT at the time, worked hard to build links with Yaroslavl, an industrial city 250 miles northeast of Moscow.
- The Soviet foreign ministry told Yaroslavl officials who were working with Sanders, “One of the most useful channels, in practice, for actively carrying out information-propaganda efforts has proved to be sister-city contact.”
- At one point, Sanders led a delegation to Yaroslavl, then returned to Burlington and announced that people in the totalitarian state seemed “reasonably happy and content” and that he hadn’t seen much deprivation.
- In fact, the Soviet government was incredibly unpopular and had to maintain power by using secret police and a vast network of forced labor camps. Around 50 million Soviet citizens were sentenced to time in these camps, and 1.6 million died there. Ordinary Soviets pretended they were “happy and content” because they were afraid not to. It looks like they pretended well enough to fool Bernie Sanders.
Copyright 2020, RightWing.org