Still in an uproar over comments by Sen. Bernie Sanders praising the literacy program that generations of Cubans have benefited from—one that has provided the nation among the highest literacy rates in the world—Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives announced Thursday their plan to force a vote on a non-binding resolution to condemn those who would praise the goodness of teaching people to read.
According to Politico:
the GOP plans to offer an amendment disapproving of Sanders' recent interview on "60 minutes," during which the Vermont independent lauded Castro's literacy programs and argued it's "unfair to simply say everything [in Cuba] is bad." The language is expected to chastise Sanders for ignoring systematic human rights abuses committed by Castro's communist regime.
Despite right-wing attacks following his comments on Sunday, Sanders did not shy away from what he said about Cuba's social services—including its world-class education and healthcare systems—during Tuesday night's Democratic debate in South Carolina.
"What Barack Obama said was [the Castro government] made great progress on education and health care," Sanders said from the debate stage. "That was Barack Obama."
While Sanders repeated his denunciation of authoritarinism in all its forms, he did not retract his compliments of Cuba's literacy program, even though it was launched under the leadership of former President Fidel Castro, the communist leader of the Cuban Revolution.
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During his remarks announcing the GOP resolution on Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Democrats faced with voting for or against it will have a choice: "Do they stand with Bernie or do they stand for freedom?"
Progressive critics have so far treated the effort to smear Sanders over his comments as a pathetic gimmick by nervous right-wing forces increasingly scared of his new front-runner status in the Democratic presidential primary.
The GOP fired up to criticize people for having learned how to read.— Jessica Baker (@JTheBakerShaker) February 27, 2020
At least they are consistent https://t.co/L4XGYRPs5O
"I've had it with people speaking for our Cuban-American community and simply using us as a political football to hurt Sanders, an honest and genuine candidate fighting for democracy and better living conditions for all of us," wrote Carlos Calzadilla-Palacio, president of Young Progressives of America and an immigration activist, in a Latino Rebels op-ed Tuesday.
It's extremely frustrating hearing political hacks who have no ties to the Cuban-American community attacking Bernie on Cuba and acting as an authority on the subject while pretending to care.— Carlos J Calzadilla-Palacio (@Carlos_Jesus07) February 24, 2020
Bernie said nothing wrong, President Obama and Jimmy Carter have made similar remarks
"This is really just about undermining Sanders after he wiped the floor in a landslide victory in Nevada," Calzadilla-Palacio argued in his op-ed, "where he won 70% of the Latino vote."