Following Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ comments Sunday defending Fidel Castro, the city of Miami’s elected officials responded by officially sponsoring an anti-communist concert scheduled for April.
Sanders said during a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday night on CBS that he opposed “the authoritarian nature” of the Cuban regime, but that it was “unfair to simply say everything is bad.” (RELATED: Bernie Sanders Doubles Down On Castro Comments By Defending Communist China)
“When Fidel Castro came to office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program,” Sanders said to Anderson Cooper on the show. “Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?”
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Commissioner Joe Carollo agreed to promote the “anti-communist concert” Monday alongside all of the elected city officials, who agreed to waive up to $21,500 in rental costs, broadcasting fees and police fire services, the Miami Herald reported.
Suarez censured Sanders over his remarks on Castro.
“Sadly, even now, we see individuals defend and even promote communism and socialism,” he said, according to the Miami Herald. “Just yesterday, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders glorified socialism in a 60 Minutes interview by defending elements of Castro’s regime.”
“What Senator Sanders conveniently omitted from his colorful characterization of communist Cuba was Castro’s forceful and violent imposition of power, attacking human rights and freedom of speech, thereby minimizing the sacrifice of those who fought to break free from his suffocating hand,” Suarez continued.
The concert will feature 22 artists who are performing free of charge, the Miami Herald reported, and ticket proceeds would go toward covering their expenses. The concert is intended to be “a statement by Cuban musicians who are not permitted to perform in Cuba,” Commissioner Manolo Reyes said, according to the Miami Herald. Reyes added that artists who support the Cuban government are often allowed to perform in the U.S. while those who oppose Cuba’s government are prevented from performing in Cuba.
— Manolo Reyes (@Manolo4Miami) February 25, 2020
Additional money raised through the concert will go to the nonprofit Cuban Democratic Directorate, which aid political prisoners in Cuba and their families, the Miami Herald reported.