An American once imprisoned for five years in a Cuban jail, Alan Gross, recalled in an interview with NPR Wednesday that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist, once told him “I don’t know what’s so wrong with this country” while on a Congressional Delegation trip to that prison in Cuba in 2014.
“He said, quote: ‘I don’t know what’s so wrong with this country,’ ” Gross told NPR.
As he continues to set his sights on the 2020 Democratic presidential bid, Sanders has come under fire for applauding Communists like Cuba’s Fidel Castro.
Gross was arrested in Dec., 2009 while working as a subcontractor for USAID to expand internet access to Cuba’s Jewish community.
During his 1,841 days in jail, Gross lost five teeth and 100 pounds.
“The first year of my captivity was akin to sensory deprivation because I saw about 20 minutes of sunlight during the first year,” Gross said.
The Obama administration advocated for Gross’s release. Ultimately, he was released in a swap for three spies convicted in the U.S.
“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.”