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Sun Jun 12, 2016, 10:21 AM

When Bernie Sanders Thought Castro and the Sandinistas Could Teach America a Lesson

You know, before I started this post I thought "does this belong in General Discussion Primaries"? Yes, it does unfortunately because Senator Sanders won't drop out. So there is still a primary going on. So here it is.

This is why the republican candidate, even the horrible Donald tRump, would have kicked bernie's ass all over the map of the USA.



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In the 1980s, any Bernie Sanders event or interview inevitably wended toward a denunciation of Washington’s Central America policy, typically punctuated with a full-throated defense of the dictatorship in Nicaragua. As one sympathetic biographer wrote in 1991, Sanders “probably has done more than any other elected politician in the country to actively support the Sandinistas and their revolution.” Reflecting on a Potemkin tour of revolutionary Nicaragua he took in 1985, Sanders marveled that he was, “believe it or not, the highest ranking American official” to attend a parade celebrating the Sandinista seizure of power.
It’s quite easy to believe, actually, when one wonders what elected American official would knowingly join a group of largely unelected officials of various “fraternal” Soviet dictatorships while, just a few feet away, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega bellows into a microphone that the United States is governed by a criminal band of terrorists.
None of this bothered Sanders, though, because he largely shared Ortega’s worldview. While opposition to Reagan’s policy in Central America—including indefensible decisions like the mining of Managua harbor—was common amongst mainstream Democrats, it was rare to find outright support for the Soviet-funded, Cuban-trained Sandinistas. Indeed, Congress’s vote to cut off administration funding of the anti-Sandinista Contra guerrillas precipitated the Iran-Contra scandal.


But despite its aversion to elections, brutal suppression of dissent, hideous mistreatment of indigenous Nicaraguans, and rejection of basic democratic norms, Sanders thought Managua’s Marxist-Leninist clique had much to teach Burlington: “Vermont could set an example to the rest of the nation similar to the type of example Nicaragua is setting for the rest of Latin America.”
The lesson Sanders saw in Nicaragua could have been plagiarized from an editorial in Barricada, the oafish Sandinista propaganda organ. “Is [the Sandinistas’] crime that they have built new health clinics, schools, and distributed land to the peasants? Is their crime that they have given equal rights to women? Or that they are moving forward to wipe out illiteracy? No, their crime in Mr. Reagan’s eyes and the eyes of the corporations and billionaires that determine American foreign policy is that they have refused to be a puppet and banana republic to American corporate interests.”
But Sanders was mistaking aspirational Sandinista propaganda for quantifiable Sandinista achievement. None of it was true, but it overlaid nicely on top of his own political views. Sanders’s almost evangelical belief in “the revolution” led him from extreme credulity to occasional fits of extreme paranoia.

For instance, in 1987 Sanders hosted Sandinista politician Nora Astorga in Burlington, a woman notorious for a Mata Hari-like guerilla operation that successfully lured Gen. Reynaldo Perez-Vega, a high-ranking figure in the Somoza dictatorship, to her apartment with promises of sex. Perez-Vega’s body was later recovered wrapped in a Sandinista flag, his throat slit by his kidnappers. When Astorga died in 1988 from cervical cancer, Sanders took the occasion to publicly praise Astorga as “a very, very beautiful woman” and a “very vital and beautiful woman,” positing that American foreign policy might have given her cancer. “I have my own feelings about what causes cancer, and the psychosomatic aspects of cancer,” he said. “One wonders if the war didn’t claim another victim; a person who couldn’t deal with the tremendous grief and suffering in her own country.”


(Sanders often lurched toward conspiracy theory to make banal historical events conform to an ideological narrative. He argued that Ronald Reagan was as Manchurian president created by millionaires who run corporations: “Some millionaires in California said ‘Ron, we want you to work for us. We want you to become governor.’ They sat around a table. A dozen millionaires. They made him governor. And then they made him president. And he did his job effectively for those corporations.”)
The conflict in Nicaragua exacerbated Sanders’s more extreme positions. He asked a group of University of Vermont students to consider how “we deal with Nicaragua, which is in many ways Vietnam, except it’s worse. It’s more gross.” His answer was to raise money and civilian materiel for the revolution, establish a sister city program in Nicaragua, and act as a mouthpiece for the Sandinista government.

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In 1985 Sanders traveled to New York City to meet with Ortega just weeks after Nicaragua imposed a “state of emergency” that resulted in mass arrests of regime critics and the shuttering of opposition newspapers and magazines. While liberal critics of Reagan’s Nicaraguan policy rounded on the Sandinistas (talk-show host Phil Donahue told Ortega that his actions looked “fascist”), Sanders refused to condemn the decision. He was “not an expert in Nicaragua” and “not a Nicaraguan,” he said during a press conference. “Am I aware enough of all the details of what is going on in Nicaragua to say ‘you have reacted too strongly?’ I don’t know…” But of course he did know, later saying that the Sandinistas’ brutal crackdown “makes sense to me.”
What “made sense” to Sanders was the Sandinistas’ war against La Prensa, a daily newspaper whose vigorous opposition to the Somoza dictatorship quickly transformed into vigorous opposition of the dictatorship that replaced it. When challenged on the Sandinistas’ incessant censorship, Sanders had a disturbing stock answer: Nicaragua was at war with counterrevolutionary forces, funded by the United States, and wartime occasionally necessitated undemocratic measures. (The Sandinista state censor Nelba Blandon offered a more succinct answer: “They [La Prensa] accused us of suppressing freedom of expression. This was a lie and we could not let them publish it.”)

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The Burlington Free Press mocked Sanders for playing the role of internationalista dupe and lampooned him for expressing, after just a brief, government-guided tour of Nicaragua, “such approval of the Sandinistas on the basis of what was at best a cursory inspection,” an instinct that “says more about his naïveté in the foreign policy field than anything else.”
Sanders countered that he was free to quiz real Nicaraguans on their political allegiances, but they “laughed” when he asked which party they backed because “of course they are with the government.” When asked about the food shortages provoked by the Sandinistas’ voodoo economic policy, Sanders claimed that bread lines were a sign of a healthy economy, suggesting an equitable distribution of wealth: “It’s funny, sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is, that people are lining up for food. That is a good thing! In other countries people don’t line up for food: the rich get the food and the poor starve to death.” When asked about Nicaragua’s notoriously brutal treatment of the Miskito Indians, the Free Press noted that Sanders “attempted to cut off” the line of questioning. (Ted Kennedy called the Sandinistas’ crimes against the indigenous Miskitos “unconscionable,” “intolerable,” and “disturbing,” commenting that they were relocated at gunpoint to “forced-labor camps which resemble concentration camps.”)

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Perhaps at this point I don’t need to point out that Fidel Castro is likewise a crook and a murderer. Or that Sandinista strongman Daniel Ortega, while achieving none of the milestones Bernie Sanders once claimed he had achieved, stole enormous amounts of money from the Nicaraguan people and was, to name just one example, behind the infamous bombing at La Penca which killed seven people (including three journalists).
So to my fellow journalists: the next one of you who gets caught in one of Sanders’s riffs about the CIA’s involvement in the overthrow of Iranian leader Mohammed Mossadegh, ask him one of my questions. Ask him how consistent he has been on foreign policy. And help him answer a question posed by a Burlington Free Press journalist in 1985, who wondered if his useful idiot trip to Nicaragua would come back to haunt him in a future race.
“The answer is ‘probably.’ But I’ll be damned if I know how.”


http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/02/28/when-bernie-sanders-thought-castro-and-the-sandinistas-could-teach-america-a-lesson.html

As I have said before and I will say again anytime some one claims that Sanders is the better candidate against tRump, the right will have him called commie traitor and doing a perp walk with in a month.

Oh yes, and for more of Bernie's musings on what causes cancer see this: http://www.shakesville.com/2015/07/looking-for-bernie-part-1-sanders-72.html
it has something to do with old bitch teachers and not enough sex for girls starting at 13.

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Reply When Bernie Sanders Thought Castro and the Sandinistas Could Teach America a Lesson (Original post)
Florencenj2point0 Jun 2016 OP
hobbit709 Jun 2016 #1
Florencenj2point0 Jun 2016 #3
Armstead Jun 2016 #9
Octafish Jun 2016 #2
Florencenj2point0 Jun 2016 #4
Octafish Jun 2016 #6
Florencenj2point0 Jun 2016 #7
DemocratSinceBirth Jun 2016 #5
LWolf Jun 2016 #8
flamingdem Jun 2016 #10

Response to Florencenj2point0 (Original post)

Sun Jun 12, 2016, 10:25 AM

1. And in the long run who was right?

And the pukes will bring up anything to the left of Temujin as commie anyhow.

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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #1)

Sun Jun 12, 2016, 10:29 AM

3. in the long run bernie was and continues to be extreme

and while you are correct (I hate to call anyone right these days) being extreme and correct, according to you, may feel all self righteous but it won't win elections. We can't afford as a nation to lose this one.

I want to make up and join together as much as anyone. Unfortunately it's not happening yet.

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Response to Florencenj2point0 (Reply #3)

Sun Jun 12, 2016, 11:58 AM

9. Flamebait is a funny way of reconciliation.

 

And I'd suggest being careful of bringing up praise or support for people and regimes of less-than-ideal character.

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Response to Florencenj2point0 (Original post)

Sun Jun 12, 2016, 10:28 AM

2. As opposed to the Contras, who murdered and raped for freedom.

https://www.hrw.org/reports/1989/WR89/Nicaragu.htm

Christic Institute sued the traitors and found it was like reporting a sin to the Devil.

http://mediaburn.org/video/the-90s-raw-museum-christic-institute-christopher-simpson/

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Response to Octafish (Reply #2)

Sun Jun 12, 2016, 10:30 AM

4. thanks for those links

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Response to Florencenj2point0 (Reply #4)

Sun Jun 12, 2016, 10:51 AM

6. Reagan DOJ destroyed Christic Institute...

...for reporting the truth. New York Times and the rest of Corporate McPravda looked the other way.



Danny Sheehan and the Christic Institute stood up to War Inc in Central America. I heard him speak on a UAW cable tee vee show in the late 80s about the bombing at La Penca, a front line in the Iran-Contra war crime. The scales fell from my eyes and I was certain the whole kitenkaboodle would soon head to the federal penitentiary.

Instead, Ed Meese and the Just-Us department got the case tossed and broke the Christic Institute at the bank; kept Poppy's name out of it; and demonstrated the corrupt nature of the national security state, something which becomes more visible with each passing day.





Remember El Salvador? "Commies" wanted the people to live without fear of sudden death. Next thing they'd demand is some land of their own or a school.

Reagan Was the Butcher of My People

Bush: The question is, why are we supporting El Salvador?

Lady in audience: No, the question is, why are we killing priests in El Salvador?

Bush: The answer is, we're not. Now, you be quiet. President Cristiani is trying to do a job for democracy and the left wing guerrillas must not take over El Salvador.


ETA: You are welcome, Florencenj2point0. While I think Bernie Sanders is correct on the Sandinista "issue," I very much appreciate your perspective. Thank you for the OP.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #6)

Sun Jun 12, 2016, 11:23 AM

7. Reagan was horrible

He also destroyed our economy and emptied out our mental health facilities. That doesn't make Bernie more electable. And I appreciate your point of view and civility!

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Response to Florencenj2point0 (Original post)

Sun Jun 12, 2016, 10:31 AM

5. Let bygones be bygones. No need to "re-litigate" this now

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Response to Florencenj2point0 (Original post)

Sun Jun 12, 2016, 11:54 AM

8. You know,

before I clicked on this thread, I thought, "I'll bet this is another one of those Clinton supporters with a couple hundred posts that just got here to support her in the primaries that I'll have to ignore."

I'm psychic, I tell ya.

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Response to Florencenj2point0 (Original post)

Sun Jun 12, 2016, 01:22 PM

10. The Sandinistas were NOT Marxist Leninists

The leadership was a coalition of leaders and included businessmen and the clergy.

The USA was fully responsible for supporting Somoza who was killing and bombing his own citizens. Bernie was 100% right that they deserved support.

In general US Presidents don't give a damn about Latin America. Bernie knows what is going on there and won't deny history. Obama took some steps in this direction, finally, towards the end of his second term. It's all about domination of weaker countries for US interests. See Honduras and Hillary's involvement and the US base there for an example.

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