Bernie Sanders wants normal U.S.-Cuba relations but is fuzzy on details
The Democratic presidential candidate isn’t familiar with Cuba policy
He supports President Obama’s diplomatic relations with the island
And he’s aware he has to explain democratic socialism in South Florida
BY PATRICIA MAZZEI
Bernie Sanders knows he wants the United States to treat Cuba like any
other country when it comes to diplomacy.
“That is good for the people of Cuba,” he said Wednesday in a brief
interview with the Miami Herald. “That is good for the people of the
What he doesn’t know is what that relationship would look like in practice.
Asked about three specific Cuba policies — the Cuban Adjustment Act;
wet-foot, dry-foot; and the immigration status of Cuban nationals
convicted of state and federal crimes — Sanders said he didn’t know
enough about them to opine.
“I just don’t know all of the details about that,” he said.
Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders supporters gather before Miami debate
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton supporters turn out near Miami Dade
College before the Democratic debate on March 9, 2016.
Jose A. Iglesias firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cuban Adjustment Act allows Cubans to apply for U.S. residency after
a year and a day in the United States. Wet-foot, dry-foot policy allows
Cubans who reach U.S. soil to remain in the country. Unlike with other
immigrants who have been convicted of crimes, the United States doesn’t
deport Cuban felons who have served their time — 28,400 of them — who
instead live free in the country in spite of their immigration removal
Sanders, a veteran Vermont senator and congressman, is not the first
presidential candidate this election cycle to stumble on Cuba policy in
South Florida. Republican Ben Carson struggled to respond last November
to similar questions posed by the Herald. Like Sanders, he acknowledged
needing more information. Carson has since left the race.
On Tuesday, Sanders declined to take a position on Colombian peace talks
after he was asked about the negotiations on a Miami Colombian-American
He told the Herald on Wednesday that he’s traveled some in Latin
America: to Cuba and Nicaragua as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, but also
to Bolivia, Chile and Mexico.
The Vermont senator held his first Florida campaign event Tuesday in
Miami. A few hours later, he notched a surprise win over Democratic
presidential rival Hillary Clinton in the Michigan primary, potentially
giving Sanders a boost in upcoming Rust Belt states like Ohio.
He faces a bigger challenge in Florida, where he’s not well known and
hasn’t campaigned much, in part because Clinton has such a wide lead in
In Miami, Sanders is not just unknown: He’s a democratic socialist
trying to appeal to Hispanics who in many cases personally suffered
under Latin American political regimes that claimed to be socialist.
Sanders knows his political ideology may scare some voters, so he’s
gotten used to explaining his beliefs.
“Democratic socialism is what exists and has existed for many years in
European countries. Almost every Western European country has had at one
time or another — or today — labor governments, democratic socialist
governments,” he said. “In many cases, those governments have done
extraordinary things: They’ve provided healthcare as a right. They’ve
provided university tuition free.
“Obviously I think any student of politics understands that democratic
socialism is not communism, is not authoritarianism,” he added. “Most of
the countries that I referred to, whether it’s in Scandinavia [or
elsewhere] have higher voter turnouts. They are vigorous democracies.”
And what about the argument that those are small, homogeneous countries
far different from the United States?
“Germany is not a small country. Canada is not a small country. It is
maybe not as diverse as the United States,” Sanders acknowledged. “We
can learn from other countries. We are different. . . . Those are ideas
that can be implemented and should be implemented.”
Source: Bernie Sanders wants normal U.S.-Cuba relations but is fuzzy on
details | Miami Herald –