Keith Ellison Praises Fidel Castro's "Mixed" Legacy: "He Stood Up For Peace And Freedom In Africa"

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Candidate for chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Keith Ellison spoke with SiriusXM’s Karen Hunter on Monday about the death of Fidel Castro and his priorities for the Democratic Party. He praised Castro's legacy in Cuba, saying that "he confronted people with a lot of power on behalf of people that didn’t have any."

Ellison noted that his legacy was a "mixed bag," however: "He also did jail people who were political critics of his, he also did not allow… free speech."

He added: "Did he use harsh dictatorial tactics? Yes, probably he did…but, did he also stand up for peace and freedom in Africa? Absolutely. His Cuban forces took on the South Africa apartheid military forces and defeated them."

KEITH ELLISON: He was a revolutionary leader who confronted a system of government that excluded everybody except the military and the money-rich.

And he took them on, defeated them and then set the country up in a way where…Did he use harsh dictatorial tactics? Yes, probably he did…but, did he also stand up for peace and freedom in Africa? Absolutely.

His Cuban forces took on the South Africa apartheid military forces and defeated them.

And, actually deployed doctors anywhere from Chernobyl to all over South Africa, anywhere people were sick. He sent those doctors there. He made medical education very available, made medicine available.

So if you look at his legacy you have to say that he confronted people with a lot of power on behalf of people that didn’t have any.

He also did jail people who were political critics of his, he also did not allow… free speech…It’s a mixed bag.




About claims from top Democrats that the DNC chair should be a full time position, he said: "It doesn’t matter if the Chair’s in office or not in office, if the business is wrong we’re going to keep losing."

ELLISON: Did we lose the last election because of the status of the Chair? I think we lost because we didn’t have adequate turnout. Why didn’t we have the right turnout? Because we have not been energizing voters on the ground with a message of economic and social empowerment. Which is why in places like Milwaukee, Detroit, even suburbs of Philadelphia we were not able to generate enough votes…I think Hillary Clinton got 5 million fewer votes than Barack Obama got in 2012.

To me that whole conversation is a side conversation. That’s a matter of methods and procedures…

What is the problem? What is the antidote to fix the problem? To me it is going granular, strengthening local communities on the ground so that they cannot just win the Presidency but also city council, school boards, state legislative races. You know we lost 910 state legislative seats since 2008?...

We have to have a top-to-bottom reform movement that puts the Democratic voter in charge. Voters first. That’s what we need to do. And, if we don’t do it, it doesn’t matter if the Chair’s in office or not in office, if the business’ wrong we’re going to keep losing.

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