White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki refused to condemn communism by name on Wednesday. A reporter asked her whether President Joe Biden considers opposition to communism to be the driving factor behind the protests and Cubans’ flight to the United States. Rather than acknowledging the evil oppression of Cuba’s communism, Psaki condemned the government’s “mismanagement.”
“Don’t we know that the reason people want to leave Cuba is because they don’t like communism?” a reporter asked. After some back-and-forth about mechanisms to enter the country, he repeated the question: “Do you think that people are leaving Cuba because they don’t like communism?”
“I think we’ve been pretty clear that we think people are leaving Cuba — leaving Cuba or protesting in the streets, as well — because they are opposed to the oppression, to the mismanagement of the government in the country. And we certainly support their right to protest,” Psaki replied.
Biden's Press Secretary Jen Psaki refuses to condemn communism in Cuba, blames "mismanagement" pic.twitter.com/wkE2sfF7om
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The communist government has arrested dozens of protesters, including one journalist who got arrested as she was speaking on a Zoom video.
While Biden has defended the protesters, his statement made no mention of socialism or communism. Some of his allies have long defended the communist government.
“Cuba has solved some very important problems,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who supported Biden after he lost the Democratic primary, said in 1989. “I did not see a hungry child. I did not see any homeless people. Cuba today not only has free health care but very high-quality health care.”
During the 2020 campaign, Sanders 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?” He also suggested that the Cuban people didn’t remove Castro from power because “he educated their kids, gave them health care, totally transformed the society, you know?” In reality, the counter-revolution against Castro failed because the Cuban dictator silenced dissidents via firing squad.
Biden partially won the 2020 Democratic primary because Democrats feared that Sanders would win, so they coalesced around the more “moderate” alternative. Yet Biden lurched to the Left during the campaign, reversing his decades-long support for the Hyde Amendment, echoing Sanders’ rhetoric on universal health care — even though he did not support the Medicare for All proposal — and supporting more big-government social programs.
Cuba has a very specific kind of oppression that goes far beyond “mismanagement.” Biden and Psaki should be able to condemn communism by name. The fact that they have not done so seems rather telling. In fact, the use of “mismanagement” instead of “communism” suggests that Psaki thinks Cuba’s problem isn’t communism, but the misapplication of it.