Despite his justifications, Bernie Sanders cannot hide the truth about Cuba’s brutal communist dictatorship

One of the many extrajudicial executions that took place in Cuba in January of 1959 when Fidel Castro took power.

There’s an old Cuban saying that goes like this “tratando de tapar el sol con un dedo.” The literal translation is trying to cover the sun with a finger. You can’t.

But that is what Bernie Sanders attempted to do when he pointed to a dubious achievement of the Castro dictatorship. With that tiny finger, he tried to blot out the massive sun that are the crimes against humanity committed by the socialist regime.

John Suarez explains in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:

Paltering or when the truth is not the truth: Summary executions, Soviets put down 1959-66 Cuban uprising

“Facts are stubborn things.” – Ronald Reagan

Senator Bernie Sanders in his remarks on both Cuba and China in tonight’s CNN Townhall is engaging in paltering, which is the art of deceiving with true statements. He also omitted inconvenient truths, and fudged on some facts ignoring context.

He argues that the reason Cubans did not rise up against Castro in 1961 was due to literacy programs and public health campaigns.

Senator Sanders is wrong on three counts.

First, Cubans did rise up against the Castro regime.  Between 1960 and 1966 there was an insurgency in the mountains of the Escambray that fought the Castro regime made up mostly of farmers and Revolutionary Directorate rebels that had fought the Batista Regime demanding a democratic restoration. The dictatorship called it the “War against the Bandits.” Tom Gjelten in his book Bacardi and the Long Fight for Freedom gives an account of what took place:

The peasants in the Escambray Mountains, an independent group even during the anti-Batista struggle, took up arms again, this time in opposition to the government’s heavy hand. Castro had taken a lesson from Batista’s hapless efforts at counterinsurgency, however, and he responded to the Escambray guerrillas with more force and ruthlessness than Batista had dared employ. With the guidance of Soviet counterinsurgency experts, Castro sent thousands of army troops into the mountains to pursue the guerrillas. Captured Escambray insurgents were often executed on the spot, and in a move reminiscent of the Spanish army’s “reconcentration” strategy during the independence war, Castro ordered the relocation of entire villages where the guerillas enjoyed mass support. The villagers were moved en masse to western Cuba, where they could be closely monitored.

The guerrillas were eventually exterminated and the uprising was crushed by 1966, but the Castro regime had to obtain outside assistance to destroy the resistance,  and they obtained it from hundreds of  Soviet counterinsurgency “advisors.”  It was described by Mary O’Grady in The Wall Street Journal in 2017 as a “Soviet cleansing.” 

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