Democratic National Committee Spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa on Tuesday called on Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) to visit Florida to speak with residents about what they “went through” while living in under Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba.
“I’ll let Bernie Sanders speak for his comments, but we are very clear in the Democratic Party that we speak out against brutal dictatorships like those of [Fidel] Castro, and we support the people of Cuba, fleeing Cuba under that dictatorship,” Hinojosa told Fox News when asked about Sanders’s praise for Castro’s literacy program.
“I encourage all of these candidates whether it be Bernie Sanders or anyone on that debate stage tonight to go to Florida–talk to people in Florida, listen to their stories, listen to what they went through, and I think any candidate would benefit from that,” Hinojosa went on. “And that is what is part of this primary: you need to go and appeal to a broad coalition of people.”
A DNC spokesperson went on Fox News to throw Bernie Sanders under the bus. pic.twitter.com/c2DVdlDQXF
— jordan (@JordanUhl) February 25, 2020
Hinojosa’s comments are the latest development in an ongoing controversy that began when Sanders argued during a 60 Minutes interview aired on Sunday that Castro’s commitment to social programs complicated his otherwise dishonorable legacy.
“We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. You know?” Sanders said. “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?
The Vermont senator’s comments on Castro have drawn bipartisan condemnation from Florida politicians, whose base includes a large community of Cuban exiles and refugees.
“Donald Trump wins Florida if Bernie is our nominee,” warned State Representative Javier Fernandez, a Miami Democrat. “If Bernie Sanders is atop the ticket, it’s going to make it tougher for all of us to win in Florida.”