The city of Miami will sponsor an “Anti-Communist Concert” in April after Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) offered praise for Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
“Sadly, even now, we see individuals defend and even promote communism and socialism,” Mayor Francis Suarez, a Republican, said at a Monday press conference announcing the city’s sponsorship. “Just yesterday, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders glorified socialism in a 60 Minutes interview by defending elements of Castro’s regime.”
“What Senator Sanders conveniently omitted from his colorful characterization of communist Cuba was Castro’s forceful and violent imposition of power, attacking human rights and freedom of speech, thereby minimizing the sacrifice of those who fought to break free from his suffocating hand,” Suarez said.
The concert is organized in part by Orlando Gutierrez-Boronat, co-founder of the nonprofit Cuban Democratic Directorate, which aids Cuban political prisoners and their families. City Commissioner Manolo Reyes said the concert would be “a statement by Cuban musicians who are not permitted to perform in Cuba.”
Sanders’s 60 Minutes comments, including that “it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad” in Cuba, have riled Florida Democrats, who must vie with Republicans for votes from the state’s large population of Latin American refugees and exiles. Those refugees predominantly hail from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, three countries whose authoritarian leaders Sanders has praised.
“Donald Trump wins Florida if Bernie is our nominee,” State Representative Javier Fernandez, a Democrat representing District 114 in Miami, said on Monday. “If Bernie Sanders is atop the ticket, it’s going to make it tougher for all of us to win in Florida.