Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) defended his Reagan-era affinity to left-wing regimes in an interview with the New York Times last week, saying that he "did his best" to oppose the anti-communist foreign policy stances of the United States.
"As a mayor, I did my best to stop American foreign policy, which for years was overthrowing governments in Latin America and installing puppet regimes," Sanders said in an interview with the New York Times. "I did everything that I could as a mayor of a small city to stop the United States from getting involved in another war in Central America trying to overthrow a government."
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Sanders also visited the socialist President Daniel Ortega, traveling 14 hours to Nicaragua on the sixth anniversary of the Sandinista revolution. According to the Times, Sanders celebrated the revolution with Ortega, amid shouts of "Here, there, everywhere, the Yankee will die" from the large crowd.
"After many years of economic and political domination, Nicaragua is determined not to be a banana republic anymore, and it’s free to make its own decisions," Sanders told the crowd.
Sanders told the Times that he does not recall the anti-American chanting but said, "Of course there was anti-American sentiment there. This was a war being funded by the United States against the people of Nicaragua. People were being killed in that war." He also said he has since changed his opinions on the Ortega regime, adding that he is "very concerned about the anti-democratic policies of the Ortega government."
Sanders also extended his goodwill to the Soviet Union in the 1980s as well, traveling to Moscow, Yaroslavl, and Leningrad to establish better relationships with these cities. Sanders visited showed great admiration for Russian life under the Soviet regime at one point telling a Russian man, "I’m not very happy about this, but there are not many people in the state of Vermont who speak Russian. In fact, one of the things that we want to do is to see if we can develop a Russian studies program in our high school," according to Politico.
When he returned from the Soviet Union, Sanders praised the regime to an American audience: "The truth of the matter is, they like Americans, and they respect Americans, and they admire Americans," he said.