Nobody should have been surprised when presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) recently praised Cuban “literacy programs.”
Sanders, a lifelong Marxist, never met a revolution he didn’t like. Seeing the good side of Marxism comes naturally to Sanders. Marxists are students of history; they take the long view. Yes, in the “short term,” socialism can produce misery and death on a huge scale, because in the long run, they’re sowing the seeds of a “great new society,” a utopia of endless bounty, and opportunity for all.
What does it matter if hundreds, or thousands, or millions die in the process? The individual is nothing; it’s the good of the “collective” that counts.
“We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba, but you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. … 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?”
Yes, comrade Sanders, it’s a bad thing. A very bad thing.
A legitimate literacy program would normally be a good thing. Literacy is an essential tool for all who aspire to both liberty and prosperity—but that was far from the Cuban Communist Party’s purpose. Castro didn’t seek liberty and prosperity for his people. He sought slavery and control.
According to a now-declassified CIA intelligence report, “NIE 85-62: The Situation and Prospects in Cuba” from March 21, 1962:
“Before the revolution, Cuba enjoyed a relatively high literacy rate—for all his faults, Batista had been a notable founder of rural schools. With great fanfare, however, the [Castro] regime undertook to eradicate illiteracy in Cuba and named 1961 the ‘Year of Alphabetization.’ The universities and secondary schools were closed; the students and others were turned into ‘literacy brigades’ and sent forth to alphabetize the illiterate.
“The operation served three political purposes: (a) To organize, indoctrinate—and inspire—the literacy brigadiers; (b) to gratify the alphabetized and make them accessible to regime propaganda; and (c) to make a propaganda impact throughout illiteracy-ridden Latin America. Some illiterates proved recalcitrant, but in general the operation was successful in achieving these purposes.”
So Castro’s communist program was far from altruistic. Its purpose was not to uplift the people, but to make them more controllable and to encourage the spread of revolution across Latin America.
Sanders and his wife, Jane, visited Cuba in 1989 and tried to meet with Castro. That couldn’t be arranged, so, instead, they met with the mayor of Havana and other officials. The trip was organized by the Center for Cuban Studies, a pro-Castro group based in New York.
When he returned to Vermont, Sanders reported that Cuba had “solved some very important problems” such as hunger and homelessness, according to The Daily Beast.
“I did not see a hungry child. I did not see any homeless people,” he told the local Burlington Free Press. “Cuba today not only has free health care but very high-quality health care.”
Even Cuban health care serves a revolutionary purpose. Cuban doctors are serving in Third World countries all over the world as “ambassadors” for the communist regime. Venezuela has thousands of them—all loyal servants of the Maduro government and the Cuban Communist Party. After the anti-communist president Jair Bolsonaro came to power in Brazil in 2018, Cuba withdrew 8,300 doctors from the country.
Cuba’s Latin American Medical School (ELAM) provides scholarships to more than 10,000 low-income students from Africa, Asia, and the Americas who make a commitment to work in “underserved communities at home.”
Several Americans have also earned their medical degrees at ELAM, courtesy of the Cuban worker. Many of them are communists, or the sons and daughters of U.S. Communist Party members. What kind of return does the Cuban government demand for its investment?
Before he took power, Castro repeatedly told foreign journalists some variation of this meme:
“There is not communism or Marxism in our ideas. Our political philosophy is representative democracy and social justice.”
After President Donald Trump recently called Sanders a “communist,” Sanders told Fox News: “Obviously, I am not a communist. … The difference between my socialism and Trump’s socialism is I believe the government should help working families, not billionaires.”
Sanders is always careful to add the qualifier “democratic” when he refers to himself as a socialist. But the definition of “democracy” means something very different to a Marxist than it does to most American voters.
To a communist, “democracy” means “the will of the people.” And who represents that will? Why, it’s the Communist Party, of course. Democracy to a Marxist-Leninist simply means communist party rule. Pure democracy is unchallenged communist party rule.
Even Sanders, though, wasn’t always willing to use the “s” word.
In 1976, Sanders told student newspaper The Vermont Cynic, “I myself don’t use the word socialism … because people have been brainwashed into thinking socialism automatically means slave-labor camps, dictatorship, and lack of freedom of speech.”
Well, actually it does, comrade Sanders—given enough time. But we don’t want to frighten the voters, do we?
The difference between Castro’s “representative democracy and social justice” and full-blown communism was about three years. Only when he had fully consolidated his power and had executed, jailed, or expelled all serious opposition forces did Castro openly proclaim his commitment to Marxism-Leninism.
Sanders has boasted he has a list of “dozens of executive orders” to be enacted as soon as he’s inaugurated.
How long would it take President Sanders to turn his “democratic socialism” into communism? It shouldn’t take too long. Castro has already laid out the blueprint.
Trevor Loudon is an author, filmmaker, and public speaker from New Zealand. For more than 30 years, he has researched radical left, Marxist, and terrorist movements and their covert influence on mainstream politics. He is best known for his book “Enemies Within: Communists, Socialists and Progressives in the U.S. Congress” and his similarly themed documentary film “Enemies Within.” His soon-to-be published book is “White House Reds: Communists, Socialists & Security Risks Running for U.S. President, 2020.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.