Florida progressive group defends Bernie Sanders, accuses state party of putting ‘thumb on the scale’
An internal poll from Mike Bloomberg finds Bernie Sanders will sink down-ballot Democrats.

Bernie Sanders
'Florida Democratic Party leadership revealed their hand.'

The Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida defended presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and slammed party leadership for its characterization of Sanders’ remarks about Fidel Castro.

Today, Florida Democratic Party leadership revealed their hand when issuing a statement critiquing presidential front-runner Senator Bernie Sanders for his comments on Cuba,” reads a statement from the group.

The move comes after a day of widespread condemnation of a Sanders interview with 60 Minutes aired Sunday night. In it, Sanders defended comments he made in the 1980s praising certain actions of the Castro regime.

“We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba, but you know, it’s unfair to say everything is bad,” said Sanders, in the recent interview. “When Fidel Castro came in office, he had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing even though Fidel Castro did it?”

Florida Republicans pounced, with Gov. Ron DeSantis accusing Sanders of attempting to “whitewash the brutality of the Castro dictatorship.

But the most notable scorn came from Democrats, particularly in South Florida.

The Progressive Caucus took particular issue with a statement from Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo.

Florida Democrats “condemn dictators destroying democracies in the world, and stand in solidarity with people fleeing dictatorships in Cuba, Venezuela & Nicaragua,” Rizzo tweeted. “Candidates need to understand our immigrant communities’ stories as well as provide solutions to issues Floridians are facing.”

The Progressive Caucus read that as a direct swipe at Sanders.

“Although not mentioned by name, this was clearly a hit piece aimed at the leading candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination.”

The group said party leaders balking at Sanders ignore the more important part of his statement.

“In a recent ‘60 Minutes’ interview, Sanders condemned the past authoritarian leadership of Cuba but also praised their ‘massive literacy program.’”

The liberal organization pointed to footage of President Barack Obama, made not in a campaign interview but while trying to normalize relations with Cuba. “In Cuba, you’ve made great progress in educating young people,” Obama said in video widely shared by Sanders supporters. “Every child in Cuba gets a basic education. That’s a huge improvement from where it was.”

The Progressive Caucus suggested an anti-Sanders agenda in selective outrage.

“Chairperson Rizzo and the FDP did not display the same indignation when President Obama made similar comments in 2016,” the statement concludes. “The Florida Democratic Party should be more careful not to put their thumb on the scale in this race. They will have only themselves to blame if voters don’t turn out for our candidates in November.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


18 comments

  • sal janos

    February 24, 2020 at 10:15 pm

    Democrats are corrupt and are poisonous to taxpayers and their families. Be it Joe Biden, Sanders, Bloomberg, Pete or Elizabeth Warren. They all follow the left’s radical hyena’s of Nancy Pelosi, Sheila Jackson Lee, Maxine Waters, Al Green, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Talib, Ayanna Pressley, llhan Omar,Val Deming, and Hakeem Jeffries.

    If you vote Democrat, this is what they’ve promised….

    Democrat-Socialist Goals & Platform:

    -Sanctuary Cities & States..(all candidates)
    -De-fund & terminate Border Patrol & ICE.(goal open borders)
    -Drivers licenses for illegal aliens.
    -Voting rights for illegal aliens.
    -Late term abortions up to 9 months.
    -Opposed to ANY voter ID Laws.
    -Weaken our Military.
    -End all deportations of illegal aliens, if you get here, you stay. (Goal open borders)
    -Destruction of all private health care (Bernie Sanders & Elizabeth Warren)
    -The Green new deal.(which would create massive unemployment)
    -Free medicare care for all including illegal aliens (taxpayer funded with a 52 trillion estimate)
    -Free college for all, including illegal aliens. (tax payer funded) Sanders-Warren
    -Disarming Americans.
    -Decriminalization of illegal entry into our country. (goal open borders)
    -Socialism.
    -Citizenship for 30 to 50 million illegal aliens & TPS.
    -Reparations for any race harmed by Caucasians (all candidates)
    -Massive tax increases.(all candidates)
    -Open Borders, No Borders.
    -Welfare & Food Stamps for illegal aliens. (all candidates)

    *View their speeches / debates on you tube or the candidates websites.*

    Taxpayers pay special attention to Bernie’s “Key Points.”

    https://berniesanders.com/i

    • Jim Donelon

      February 24, 2020 at 10:56 pm

      What a load of crap !!!

      VOTE REPUBLICAN AND DESTROY AMERICA !!!

    • Patricia McAvaney

      February 24, 2020 at 11:33 pm

      You are so I’ll informed I don’t even know where to start!!

      • sal janos

        February 25, 2020 at 1:00 pm

        You are not informed. Try listening to a Bernie speech.

    • Abby

      February 25, 2020 at 3:56 am

      You would like a real winner. I mean racist. I mean idiot…

      • sal janos

        February 25, 2020 at 1:02 pm

        If you’re a taxpayer, you’re an unconscious one. Try listening to a Bernie speech.

    • JILL ROE

      February 25, 2020 at 1:09 pm

      “Maxine Waters, Al Green, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Talib, Ayanna Pressley, llhan Omar”

      If Bernie wins, this will probably be his White House staff.

  • amos richardson

    February 25, 2020 at 2:25 am

    The leadership of the Democratic Party should learn some history. Castro did not overthrow a democracy. He liberated a country owned and dominated by the American Mob. His first call was to Washington, “I have liberated my country, come and help me build a paradise.” Washington told him to “give it back.” Castro had to make the call to Moscow. They were the only choices he had. Yes, he became a Communist. Yes, he took the best care of his people that he possibly could. Despite the poverty in Cuba caused by US sanctions, they still educate their population, unlike the US.

  • Abby

    February 25, 2020 at 4:03 am

    Thank you Progressive Democrats of Florida! All the anti Sanders garbage is only showing us that the establishment is happy working for Dump. Shame on them.
    Bernie Sanders 2020. Green New Deal Medicare for All!

    • JILL ROE

      February 25, 2020 at 1:07 pm

      You pay for it Abby. You want to save the world? great! Join the peace corps. Don’t do it with my taxes. America First!

      • Aimee

        February 25, 2020 at 3:11 pm

        Unless you are making over $250,000, your taxes aren’t going up. If you make more, it’s a progressive tax, so only money over $250,000 gets a higher rate (4% higher than now at 37%). Income over $500,000 will be taxed at 43% and the next increase is over $2,000,000 at 48%. The highest bracket is for income over $10,000,000 and that will be 52%.

  • Bernie Sucks

    February 25, 2020 at 6:33 am

    Yes, Cuba is great. That’s why so many Americans get on rafts and risk their lives in the open ocean – so they can make there way to the island paradise with great literacy rates.

  • Jeffrey Solomon

    February 25, 2020 at 8:31 am

    Fla Dem leaders & both parties leadership nationwide cant keep their thumbs off the scales – ever. Why would anyone expect different. Always has & always will happen.

  • Sandy Oestreich

    February 25, 2020 at 11:22 am

    CANDIDATE WARREN is THE ONE TO WIN!

    In a primary where voters have been obsessively seeking “electability,” and where other candidates have been willing to spin fables or dramatically change positions to secure votes, Warren’s basic decency and honesty have cost her. And the sexism undergirding much of the conversation around electability hasn’t helped.

    THERE’S A NOT SO SUBTLE MEDIA PUSH TO IGNORE WARREN COMPLETELY. ONLY REASON WE CAN THINK OF IS THEIR DRIVING FORCE, IGNORING WOMEN’S INNATE ABILITIES TO UNIFY, STRIVE FOR JUSTICE ENDLESSLY, AND CARE FOR AMERICANS WHO NEED IT SO THEY CAN GO BACK TO WORK.

    WE THINK THEY ARE VIRTUES THAT OVERSHADOW THE SHOUTING AND BOMBASTIC EMPTY RHETORIC OF DEAR SANDERS: HE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW NOW WHAT HIS HEALTHCARE PLAN WILL COST!!! OVER THE YEARS WHEN IN VERMONT LEGISLATURE, BERNIE GOT JUST ONE BILL PASSED.

    VOTE FOR WARREN, AND WATCH THE ACTION TO BOOST OUR AMERICA WHILE KNOCKING TRUMP OFF THE STAGE! BERNIE ABSOLUTELY CANNOT DO THAT, WHICH IS ESSENTIAL~ FACE IT, ALL OF HIS EMPTY VERBOSITY DOESN’T HOLD A CANDLE TO WHAT WARREN WILL ACTUALLY DO!

    WE ARE VOTING FOR CANDIDATE WARREN. HERE’S WHY:

    SANDERS'”NEW WAY” MAY BE INEFFECTIVE. YOUNG FOLKS WANT ACTION. IS BERNIESTILL ONLY FOCUSSING ON ‘what’s wrong with USA:  THAT GETS US NOWHERE. WARREN HAS:
    1. ABILITY TO PUT TRUMP “IN HIS PLACE” WITHOUT SCREAMING AT HIM–SHE IS MORE RESPECTED
    2. SHE HAS WELL-THOUGHT-OUT PLANS
    3. SHE IS CALM, COOL AND COLLECTED, NOT REDFACED AND FINGER-POINTING LIKE BERNIE
    4. BERNIE’S EXPERIENCING A TRANSIENT PUSH..WE ARE STILL LOOKING “FOR THE FACTS,MAN”
    5. RESPONSIBLE VOTERS DO NOT VOTE ON THE BASIS OF A CANDIDATE’S BOMBASTIC PLEAS; THEY VOTE ON BASIS OF FACTS

    VOTE FOR ELIZABETH WARREN who’s Back on Track NOW THAT SHE’S DONE WITH TRUMP’S “trial”!   SHE IS THE ONE WHO CAN DO IT ALL! WE’VE BEEN TRACKING HER SINCE WE READ HER BOOK YEARS AGO!  SHE’S GOT THE MOXIE, THE SMARTS, THE EXPERIENCE, AND STAGE PRESENCE over trump like none other!

    • JILL ROE

      February 25, 2020 at 1:04 pm

      She lied her entire life about her race & culture.

      No thanks.

    • Aimee

      February 25, 2020 at 3:17 pm

      Her attacks on her “friend” Bernie have only hurt her. Backtracking on Medicare For All has also been a mistake. She’s no progressive. She even said the candidate with the most votes shouldn’t necessarily be the nominee. She puts party over people and, because of that, she’s being rejected. Bernie is the real deal. He was never a Republican and he doesn’t flip flop on important issues. This has nothing to do with her being a woman.

  • Anonne

    February 25, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    Pea brain politics. We can’t ever have an honest discussion about Cuba or anything because of fearmongering. Acknowledging one positive thing does not constitute an endorsement of Castro’s repressive tactics.

Comments are closed.


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