Bernie Sanders says it's 'unfair' to say everything Fidel Castro did was bad, condemns his 'authoritarian nature'

Bernie Sanders on 60 Minutes
(Image credit: Screenshot/YouTube/60 Minutes)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sat down with CNN's Anderson Cooper for a 60 Minutes interview that aired Sunday night, and he agreed "it is a bit shocking" he's the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination. When Cooper asked if Democratic voters are "really wanting a revolution," Sanders suggested they "go easy on the word rev— 'political revolution.'" Cooper noted that's the word Sanders uses, and Sanders said he doesn't want "people, you know, to overstate that." His Medicare-for-all plan, he said, is "not socialized medicine. This is keeping the same system intact, but getting rid of the private insurance companies."

Cooper played clips of Sanders saying positive things about the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro in the 1980s. "We're very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but you know, it's unfair to simply say everything is bad," Sanders told Cooper. "When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?" Cooper noted that Castro also jailed dissidents and worse, and Sanders said "we condemn that. Unlike Donald Trump" with North Korea's despotic ruler. "I do not think that Kim Jong Un is a good friend," he said. "I don't trade love letters with a murdering dictator. Vladimir Putin, not a great friend of mine."

See more

Sanders wasn't very specific on how he planned to pay for Medicare-for-all and his other big initiatives, and he didn't explain how he would get his plans through Congress. But he did acknowledge that his policy proposals were influenced "a lot" by his family or origin and childhood in Brooklyn. Still, " I don't like to, you know, talk about personal stuff that much," he said. Cooper asked if his "personal stuff" wasn't important to who he is, and Sanders said it may be but he's "kind of private" and "not particularly anxious to tell the world about everything personal in my life."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Read the transcript and watch the full interview at 60 Minutes.

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us