U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, currently one of the leading candidates for the Democratic Party’s nomination in the November presidential elections, recognized Cuba’s role in sending ‘doctors around the world.’
“It would be a mistake not to say that in Cuba they have made some good advances in health care,” the 78-year-old politician declared in an interview with CBS 60 Minutes aired over the weekend.
“They are sending doctors all over the world. They’ve made some progress in education,” said the Vermont senator.
60 Minute host Anderson Cooper asked Sanders to explain his comments in 1985 when he praised some of the social programs implemented by the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.
According to a video clip from more than 30 years ago, the senator said at the time that Fidel Castro ‘educated the children, gave them medical attention, totally transformed society.
Although he made it clear that his ‘socialism’ is not that of Venezuela or Cuba and stressed that for him the kind of society he believes in is that which exists in countries like Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, the legislator said it is ‘unfair to simply say that everything is wrong’ on the island.
When Fidel Castro took office, do you know what he did? he asked Cooper.
“He had a massive literacy program,’ referring to the cultural revolution that in just one year (in 1961) eradicated illiteracy and provided universal access to the various levels of education free of charge in the Caribbean country.
On October 17, 1962, during the inauguration of the Victoria de Girón Institute of Basic and Pre-clinical Sciences in the Cuban capital, Fidel Castro announced the government’s decision to provide aid in the field of health. He said that 50 doctors would be sent to Algeria.
Almost six decades later, more than 400,000 health care workers from Cuba have carried out missions in some 164 countries. With the same disinterest, 35,613 health care professionals from 138 nations have been trained on the island free of charge.
As expected, his comments provoked the anger of the most extremist sector of Cuban Americans in South Florida, who oppose any rapprochement with the Caribbean island.
In 2016, Sanders defended diplomatic relations with Cuba, which in his opinion ‘will result in significant improvements in the lives of Cubans and will help the United States’.