Can you imagine the betrayal one must feel when a delegation from your home country visits you in prison and sticks up for the country holding you as a political hostage?
That is the exact horror experienced by Alan Gross, an American who was held as a political prisoner by Cuba from 2009 to 2014, when he was visited by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) while still in captivity. Gross came forward to accuse Sanders of sympathizing with the communist regime instead of himself in an interview with NPR.
An apologist for dictators
According to NPR, Gross was taken into custody in 2009 during a trip to Cuba to set up the internet for the Jewish population in the country. He was subsequently arrested and accused of espionage by the Castro regime.
After he was released, Gross recounted the horrors he experienced while imprisoned. “The first year of my captivity was akin to sensory deprivation because I saw about 20 minutes of sunlight during the first year,” he recalled.
Gross alleged that the regime threatened to rip his fingernails out and hang him, and he also experienced extreme health deterioration while in captivity, losing 100 pounds and five teeth.
In 2014, prior to Gross’s release, Sanders came to visit as part of a larger delegation. Gross explained that in an exchange with the then-senator, “He said, quote: ‘I don’t know what’s so wrong with this country.’”
Another member of the delegation, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), did not directly hear the exchange, but he did tell NPR that there was an “uncomfortable exchange” between Sanders and Gross.
Communist or “Democratic Socialist”
“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 lamented.
Bernie Sanders likes to say his campaign is a movement against everything that is wrong with this country.
Sanders despises capitalism, the same capitalist environment that enabled him to become a millionaire during his decades in public service.
As if that is not bad enough, he regularly applauds players in communist governments, getting outraged when he gets called out on it. Though many of his supporters deny it, one could easily make the argument that Sanders is at the very least, a communist sympathizer.
“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,” Gross concluded.