Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) claimed he spent his “whole life” opposing “authoritarian” socialism in places like the Soviet Union and Venezuela, but his own words prove otherwise.
During a Sunday morning interview on “State of the Union,” Sanders told host Dana Bash that his brand of “democratic socialism” isn’t the same socialism that has been widely condemned by President Donald Trump for creating the atrocities witnessed in Venezuela.
Instead, Sanders claimed he has spent his “whole life” opposing that type of socialism.
Watch Sanders’ interview:
“I think it’s important for the American people to understand what my definition is of Democratic Socialism. It’s certainly not how Donald Trump defines it. I have spent my whole life fighting for democracy, fighting against authoritarianism, whether it was in the Soviet Union, Venezuela or anyplace else.”
Although Sanders claimed that he “spent [his] whole life” fighting against the authoritarian, socialist regimes in Venezuela and the Soviet Union, there are several examples where Sanders did the opposite.
As IJR previously reported, Sanders backed several Marxist candidates in the early 1980s from the Socialist Workers Party. The candidates he “proudly endorsed and supported” openly supported the Soviet Union and China, to the point that the FBI opened an investigation into the ties between the party and Soviet spies.
In the late 1980s, Sanders was filmed praising the Soviet Union for their socialist programs that went “go far beyond what we do in this country.” As IJR previously reported, Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt flattened Sanders for trying to claim that the Soviet Union was worth admiring.
See his past comments below:
Bernie Sanders was lucky to be able to get to the Soviet Union in 1988 and praise all its stunning socialist achievements before the entire system and empire collapsed under the weight of its own spectacular failures. pic.twitter.com/bENmwVKi0g
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) February 25, 2019
As far as Venezuela is concerned, Sanders wrote an op-ed raving about Venezuela in 2011. He claimed that Venezuelans were better at embodying the “American dream” than Americans were.
“These days,” Sanders wrote, “the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela, and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today.”
He later tried to distance himself from the comments praising Venezuela. While he may no longer openly support Venezuela, he also hasn’t done much “fighting against authoritarianism” in Venezuela, either. In fact, he wouldn’t even call former Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro a dictator when asked about the atrocities taking place.
Although it has been several decades since Sanders was praising the Soviet Union, it’s hard to say he spent his “whole life” fighting authoritarian socialism.