The network played a clip at the Democratic debate of the then-Burlington mayor defending Castro in 1985, giving primary voters a taste of the difficulty Sanders could face gaining widespread appeal in a general election. In the video he says, “Way back in 1961 they invaded Cuba and everyone was so
convinced that Castro was the worst guy in the world. … They forgot that he
educated the kids, gave them health care, totally transformed the society.”
Sanders did not fully renounce his past praise for Castro, though he condemned the Reagan administration for meddling in Latin America. “I think the United States should be working with governments around the world. All of these actions, by the way, in Latin America brought forth a lot of anti-American sentiments.” Hillary Clinton, for her part, said the values represented by the Castro revolution and regime were not those she wanted in the United States.