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2020

FLASHBACK: Venezuela's Maduro Endorsed Bernie Sanders in 2016

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As the Sanders campaign appears to be losing momentum after a crushing second place finish on Super Tuesday, perhaps the Vermont senator can call on his former political ally in Venezuela for a much needed boost.

During a television broadcast in June of 2016, when Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was in the midst of losing the election to failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Maduro issued a stunning endorsement of Sanders.

According to CNN, “Maduro — who has expressed support for Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, in the past — called the Democratic candidate ‘our revolutionary friend’ and claimed that only “‘an archaic (electoral) system that is 200 years old'” would prevent Sanders from winning the presidency.

Maduro may have been right, as in 2016 the Sanders campaign quickly lost momentum when it became clear that Democrat super delegates would tip the scales in favor of Clinton, leading voters to assume the race was already over.

The Venezuelan socialist had spoken kindly of Sanders earlier in 2016 as well, calling Sanders “an emerging candidate with a renovating and revolutionary message” in March of that year.

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However, Maduro spoke negatively of President Donald Trump around the same time. Since his 2017 inauguration, President Trump has repeatedly blasted the socialist country, and called for regime change.

Sanders raised eyebrows in his 2020 campaign after he seemingly minimized the crimes of the deceased communist dictator of Cuba, Fidel Castro, for having a great “literacy program.”

The Wall Street Journal reported:

Mr. Sanders’s enthusiastic support for the Socialist Workers Party in the 1980s is well documented, as is his endorsement of Castro and Nicaraguan Sandinista Daniel Ortega, both of whom were Soviet pawns during the Cold War. On CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Feb. 23 we learned that Bernie’s ideology hasn’t changed much since he was advocating for tyranny in his youth.

Interviewer Anderson Cooper played a film clip from the 1980s in which Mr. Sanders explains why Cubans didn’t side with the U.S. against Castro: Because he “educated the kids, gave them health care, totally transformed the society.” To Mr. Cooper, he said: “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, of course, was factually incorrect. The Cuban literacy rate was around 80 per cent when Castro wrestled control of the country, and the country already had universal, free education. In fact, Castro actually dismantled the country’s higher education system as part of his war against capitalism.

Sanders finished second on Super Tuesday, losing to former vice president Joe Biden in states that were generally assumed to be easy wins for the Democratic socialist. Biden is now ahead of Sanders in the delegate count.

Sanders, who is 78, and Biden, who is 77, are now the oldest men in the race for president. President Trump is only 73.

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