Election 2020

Former Obama-Era Cuban Prisoner Says Sanders Told Him, 'I Don't Know What's So Wrong' With Cuba

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Alan Gross, a contractor who worked for the Agency for International Development, spent five years in a Cuban prison because he was working to expand internet access for the small Jewish community. He spent “1,841 days in detention, during which he lost five teeth and over 100 pounds. He also said his interrogators threatened to pull out his fingernails and to hang him.”

But during a visit by a U.S. congressional delegation during his captivity, Gross and Bernie Sanders got into a heated discussion because Sanders told him, “I don’t know what’s so wrong with this country.”


Gross said [then-Sen. Heidi] Heitkamp and [Sen. Jon] Tester brought him a big bag of peanut M&M’s, a memory that Gross remains fond of today because of his undernourishment at the time. Sanders brought an issue of The Atlantic magazine. Gross was also allowed to wear civilian clothes for the visit — a treat because normally he was allowed to wear only prison pajamas.

He said he had a pleasant conversation with Heitkamp and Tester, while Sanders remained mostly quiet for the duration of their one-hour meeting.

“Senator Sanders didn’t really engage much in the conversation,” Gross said.

But near the end, the Vermont senator offered a comment to the detained American, saying he didn’t see what was so wrong with the country.

What kind of human being would tell a man locked up unjustly that he was clueless about the regime that was holding him hostage? It staggers belief that Sanders could be so tone-deaf.

I guess Bernie isn’t much of a “people person.”

Gross, as a prisoner in that country, said he took offense to the remark.

“I just think, you know, it was a stupid thing for him to do,” Gross told NPR. “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!”

I’m sure Bernie didn’t think it was so grand because it was built by capitalists.

It’s absolutely no surprise that Sanders harbors these sentiments. So why is it relevant?

“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.”

Precisely. Bernie has a blind spot for authoritarian leftist regimes. And the more left they are, the more he gives his love. I think Sanders is in love with the idea of spilling the blood of capitalists. Every single communist or socialist left-wing regime has “found it necessary” to murder political opponents if they refuse to become enlightened enough to accept socialism.

Why should Bernie Sanders be any different?