FLASHBACK VIDEO: AU students prefer Castro over Trump
- Sen. Bernie Sanders' recent comments on Cuba have sparked a wave of backlash, even among some Democrats.
- Fidel Castro’s death in 2016 evoked conflicting assessments of his legacy from world leaders.
- But a number of students at American University insisted that he was a better leader than Trump because he did "good things" for the Cuban people.
Sen. Bernie Sanders' recent comments about Cuba have caused a stir, even among some Democrats, who say Sanders is too extreme a candidate for the party. In a recent 60 Minutes interview, Sanders defended the Cuban Revolution, saying that it's "unfair to simply say everything is bad."
"We're very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but you know, it's unfair to simply say everything is bad. You know? 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?" Sanders said.
Sanders doubled down on those comments in a CNN town hall Monday night, saying, "the truth is the truth."
While many were shocked by these comments, they're nothing out of the ordinary for some on the left, particularly on college campuses.
In 2016, shortly after Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's death, Campus Reform went to American University to ask students who they viewed more favorably: Castro or then-President-Elect Donald Trump.
While several students identified the repressive elements of Castro’s regime, such as jailing and murdering his political opponents, few were willing to say that this made them view him less favorably than Donald Trump.
“I mean, right now I don’t think Donald Trump is very good, and I know that Fidel Castro has done some good things for the world so I’d say he’s proven himself at least in the long term to be more favorable,” one student opined after referencing Castro’s health care reforms in Cuba.
Another student borrowed language from Trudeau, calling Castro a “remarkable leader” and claiming that his regime “made possibilities for the Cuban people nearly endless.”
“I would say, at this very moment, I have, um, a better opinion of Fidel Castro,” professed one student, even after expressing her concerns about the repression of his people.
Several of the students who spoke with Campus Reform refused to name which leader they view more favorably, explaining that it was a “hard question” and that the two were not comparable, if only because Trump has not yet taken office.
One student, however, did extrapolate enough to assert that if Trump’s presidency is “anything like he said it will be, then I think that Fidel Castro will absolutely have been a better leader.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @amber_athey