WATCH: Bernie Under Fire for Defending Castro’s Cuba, Touting His Literacy Program

Bernie Sanders is under fire for defending some aspects of Castro’s regime and touting his “literacy program.”

WATCH:

Fox News reports Sen. Bernie Sanders, the frontrunner for the Democrats’ presidential nomination, doubled down on his support for some of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro’s policies, saying in an interview that aired Sunday, “it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad.”

Speaking to CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, pointed to social welfare programs introduced under Castro’s regime that he described as redeeming, despite the communist dictator’s often repressive human-rights violations against Cubans.

“We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. You know? 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?” Sanders told Anderson Cooper.

Fidel Castro relinquished power to his brother, Raúl, in 2011; Fidel died in 2016.

Some Republicans jumped on Sanders’ comments. “It really makes a difference when those you murder at the firing squad can read & write,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, tweeted.

In a resurfaced speech given at the University of Vermont in 1986, Sanders praised the socialist policies implemented in Cuba by the Castro regime and criticized bipartisan efforts in the U.S. to tamp down on Castro’s spread of communism.

While Sanders said in the new interview he “condemns” any human rights violations Castro committed, he also took aim at President Trump for his unlikely friendships with some dictators or strongman leaders, including North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.