On educational systems — Bernie Sanders and Fidel Castro’s

In the last few days I’ve watched South Florida Democrats, politicians and plebes, howl with despair over Senator Bernie Sanders’ defenses of the Cuban educational system on 60 Minutes. Here are the disavowals by my House representative and the rep in my neighboring district:

The Sanders campaign said its strategy in the Florida primary and in the general election will be to continue to focus on expanding the electorate by reaching young people, people of color and working class people.

The campaign pointed out that former President Barack Obama said Cuba made “enormous achievements in education and in health care” while visiting Havana in 2016.

But all three of Florida’s House Democrats who represent swing districts, Miami Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Donna Shalala, and Central Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy, criticized Sanders for his remarks on Monday.

“My hope is that after meeting with the exile community, he will recognize that the Cuban regime — and other similar authoritarian regimes across Latin America — are instruments of evil and are not worthy of his praise,” Shalala said in a statement.

Mucarsel-Powell, the first member of Congress born in South America, called his comments “unacceptable.”

Murphy, a Michael Bloomberg supporter whose district was the most competitive in the state in the last two presidential elections, said Sanders “will alienate many Florida voters now and in the general election if he is nominated.”

To enter into a contest called “Which Dictator Do You Prefer?” is degrading. Before attacking Sanders “Morning” Joe and “Mika” led a segment today announcing the death of Hosni Mubarak; “he was a dictator, but he was our dictator,” he said after mentioning Mubarak’s human rights abuses, and I’m not sure if he paraphrased somebody or spoke for himself. I wasn’t sure if the irony escaped him, but then Joe Scarborough has only recently discovered the sense of humor he left in a J.C. Penny’s suit in 1978.

I’ve recounted Fidel Castro’s effect on my family, a situation duplicated thousands of times across generations. To praise Cuba’s literacy program is like lauding the Soviet Union for its tenacity, manpower, and brute force in the Battle of Stalingrad: their systems, dependent on fear and compulsion, made these and other achievements possible. Indoctrination in revolutionary politics quashed the imaginations of thousands of Cuban kids. But as politics, defending Cuba’s literacy program weeks before the primary of a crucial less swing-y state is amateur hour. Mucarsel-Powell, Shalala, and the rest of the South Florida Democratic congressional delegation represent districts trending Democratic but whose most reliable voters are the aging Cubans who would never vote for a Barack Obama or Bernie Sanders. If Sanders earns the nomination, it’s possible we’ll see ticket splitting across the country; in 2018, Nancy Pelosi told candidates in swing or Trump districts to campaign however they pleased, which presumably meant dismissing her too.

I spent yesterday offering smelling salts and shots of bourbon to Democrats who said we can say goodbye to Florida. Well, for one, Florida looks like it’s falling into darkness, thanks to Donald Trump’s special interest in his home state and the efforts of Governor Ron DeSantis to sell conservatism with a kinder touch (compared to his predecessor DeSantis is Jack Benny). More importantly, I don’t know what other crimes Donald Trump will commit or attempt to commit between February and November. Do my fellow Democrats assume a querulous and doddering Joe Biden will commit fewer errors? You dislike oligarchy but prefer Michael Bloomberg?

The generation gap is real. According to polling by researches at my university, Cuban-Americans “who came to the U.S. before 1980 supported DeSantis over his Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum, by a margin of eighty-four per cent to fifteen per cent. By contrast, the study continues, “those who were born in the U.S. supported him by a margin of only fifty-one per cent to forty-eight per cent.” In election years, however, shutting down what our opponents would laughably call “debate” is the only successful tactic. You object to what Bernie Sanders said in 1980-whatever about Daniel Ortega or traveling to the Soviet Union in 1988 and returning with encomia? Trump has an enemies list with employees he has appointed. And, uh, the House impeached him for abuse of power and obstructing Congress. Even if the Democrats retake the Senate, President Sanders will not open gulags, issue five-year plans, or jail homosexuals. Nothing in Sanders’ stated policies hint at the malevolence of the Soviet and Cuban systems. If you’re a Cuban American who’s thinking about voting for Trump , you’re not a Democrat. You’re not even a human being, or, at best, a human being with a blindness toward your effect on human beings.

8 thoughts on “On educational systems — Bernie Sanders and Fidel Castro’s

  1. If Trump supporters aren’t human than is it ok for Supreme Leader Sanders to put them in the gulag? Excellent thought excitement presented in this article.

  2. Mr. Soto please stick to entertainment! You make a poor defense of Sanders. As a Socialist presidential candidate he would be a giant leap toward Communistic philosophy, setting a new low threshold in tolerance of such in US government. “Bernie” is not the issue. The real issue is that Bernie is a person subject to anti-constitutional desires and international Marxist types. So you cannot say with veracity that Bernie won’t entertain and use these tactics if pressed or convinced it is “right”. The forces behind Socialism are adversarial to individual liberty and minimalist federal authority, the bases of the USA Constitution. Bernie represents a movement destined to change our form of government for the worse. Perhaps in your shallow defense you do not see we are in an international cultural war, including world class true believers in borderless nations. “Borderless”, even in the simplest metaphoric examples of biologic and physical mechanics do not work. No cell borders and physical boundaries cause death of an organism whether a human body, a machine with separate parts with their own boundaries of operation, or a nation-state like every one in the world. With due respect, perhaps you need to continue your education in the reality of the physical universe, and the spiritual universe as well.

    However, I must laughingly “admire” your hyperbolic last sentence where you pretend to be God, defining human beings in terms of their vote against YOUR bias! What a ridiculous disparagement of the most basic human desire for individual liberty, freedom from suppression, a happy life, a desire and thankfulness expressed by every Cuban person I know!

    1. I hear a wind blowing. It whispers “Socialism.” The world yawns.

      If you think socialism has a shot, you know nothing about American history. Ta-ta!

  3. I did not mean to misjudge you, Mr. Soto! I see you are happy, eloquent, witty, ingenious, avid wordsmith, and living “la vida loca” so to speak. Bravo! I agree Socialism = Yawn…MAYBE? Can we at least agree it’s concerning that USA has “progressed” to consider an avowed Communist (masquerading as a more palatable term: Socialist) for the ticket? I refer to his statement in 1972 that he likes to be called a Communist, his overt actions and beliefs on record, plus his platform which leads us down a spiral staircase by stages of central control and bigger bureaucracy to less liberty.
    PS Apologies for wordy reply earlier. What do you expect from a 73 year old aerospace & biomedical engineer, tech writer, author (published poetry, music, technical journal articles on heart arrhythmia and cardiac imaging), and ministerial counselor? Ta-ta!

    1. Broderick, I’ve written many words on Bernie Sanders in the last few days. I suggest, if the time’s available, that you glance at them. Thanks!

  4. I reject your last comment about history. I DO have a good knowledge of American history. The future of the nation is NOT dependent totally on history, and dramatic changes over the last 5 decades of my life have proved it. With due respect to you young sir, I am an observer and student of philosophy and politics for 55 years. Ta-ta!

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