Former Prisoner Alleges Bernie Sanders Told Him 'I Don't Know What's So Wrong' with Cuba
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont went so far as to defend Cuba to an American who was being held a prisoner of the country’s communist government, the former prisoner has revealed.
Alan Gross was arrested in 2009 and held until 2014, the same year a congressional delegation that included Sanders visited Cuba to ask for his release, according to NPR.
During a meeting with the delegation that included Sanders, Gross recalled that the Vermont senator said little before offering what he took as praise of Cuba under its communist government.
“He said, quote: ‘I don’t know what’s so wrong with this country,'” Gross told NPR. “I just think, you know, it was a stupid thing for him to do.”
“First, how could he not have seen the incredible deterioration of what was once the grandeur of the pre-Castro era. And two, how could be so insensitive to make that remark to a political hostage — me!”
Gross had been working with the U.S. Agency for International Development to expand internet access to Cuba’s Jewish community, and spent 1,841 days in captivity.
Gross said he was compelled to speak out after Sanders offered praise for the literacy achievements of the Cuban regime under dictator Fidel Castro.
“I mean, it’s relevant now. The guy’s running for president of the United States,” Gross said. “And for him to make those statements demonstrating a basic lack of a grasp on reality is problematic to me. I don’t want to see this guy in the White House.”
Sanders has been under attack for praising Castro’s regime.
Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida was among his critics.
“First of all, it is appalling to those personally affected by the Castro regime legacy of firing squads, torture, imprisonment, brutal oppression and terrorism to witness a U.S. presidential candidate seek to decipher some nominal good from the abject and all-pervasive evil of totalitarianism,” he wrote in an Op-Ed for Fox News.
“Many of those who support Sanders today may not have been around to witness the evils of communism over the past few decades. Sanders has no such excuse.”
Diaz-Balart said Cuba aggressively works against U.S. interests.
“Sanders’ comments in regard to Cuba are particularly shocking given the Castro regime’s long and sordid history of threatening U.S. interests. The regime in Cuba partners with rogue regimes, terrorists and Anti-American interests such as the terrorist state of Iran, Russia, communist China, the Maduro regime in Venezuela, the FARC and Hezbollah,” he wrote.
Cozying up to Cuba was a mistake the current administration has rightly repudiated, Diaz-Balart wrote.
“The Obama Administration chartered a course to legitimize the Castro tyranny. Thankfully, President Trump understands the danger of the Cuban dictatorship and has corrected this course,” he said.
“I was disappointed that the Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives chose not to consider such an important resolution condemning Sanders’ admiration of a murderous dictator, a resolution that should have enjoyed bipartisan support. It’s very alarming that the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is willing to turn a blind eye to this evil.”
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