Sen. Bernie Sanders has sparked controversy with a 60 Minutes interview in which he appeared to partly defend certain aspects of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro’s rule late Sunday. The Democratic frontrunner made the comments when asked by host Anderson Cooper to clarify remarks he’d made about Castro in the 1980s, when he argued that Cubans didn’t rise up against the dictator because he’d “transformed the society.” “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 told Cooper. “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?”
He went on to clarify that the imprisonment of dissidents under Castro should still be condemned. “Unlike Donald Trump, let’s be clear, you want to—I do not think that Kim Jong Un is a ‘good friend.’ I don’t trade love letters with a murdering dictator. Vladimir Putin, not a great friend of mine,” he said. Sanders’ comments were met with criticism on social media, where many said the remarks could be his undoing in Florida, which has a large Cuban-American population. “I'm hoping that in the future, Senator Sanders will take time to speak to some of my constituents before he decides to sing the praises of a murderous tyrant like Fidel Castro,” Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala of Florida tweeted.