Sometimes, authenticity and consistency are just rigidity and insensitivity in the face of the reality of what your ideology wreaks. https://t.co/axa3aohzY1
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) March 4, 2020
Maybe it’s ideological commitment, or maybe it’s just a stubborn inability to see beyond his own point of view. The Cuban government was treating Bernie Sanders very nicely — why should anyone else have complaints?
From the local Miami Herald:
… “I don’t know what’s so wrong about this country,” Sanders said during a one-hour meeting with the prisoner and two other members of Congress visiting Havana, Gross told the Miami Herald.
“I thought it was a pretty insensitive thing for him to say,” Gross said. “Couldn’t he see, with his own eyes, what was going on around the country that he’s been traveling through? And I was a hostage to the government of the country that he didn’t see anything wrong with.”
Gross said he didn’t reply to the senator. Although there were no guards present, Gross suspects Cuban authorities were recording the conversation…
Sanders’ campaign did not respond Wednesday to Gross’ comments, published first by NPR Wednesday less than two weeks before the March 17 Florida Democratic primary…
Sanders’ comment on Cuba in 2014 came almost at the end of an hour of an “engaging conversation,” said Gross. Sanders was part of a congressional delegation that visited Cuba in February 2014. He met with Gross along with Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and Jon Tester.
Sanders was not “really involved” in most of the talk, Gross said.
Gross does not remember the details of the discussion other than that the subject of U.S. policy towards Cuba came up. Being imprisoned with little food available, he said what he remembered the most was that Heitkamp and Tester brought him two bags of cookies and a “giant” package of M&Ms with peanuts.
“I appreciated the visit,” Gross said. “Each one of them wanted to see me free. I had no contact with any of them before that time or after.”…
At the time he was imprisoned in Cuba, Gross was working as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development in a project to expand internet access for the Jewish community on the island. He was not the only one sneaking in internet technology banned by the Cuban authorities. Radio and TV Martí, two US government stations broadcasting to Cuba, also introduced satellite communication equipment into the country.
But Gross, a U.S. citizen, was the only one arrested in 2009 and charged with espionage. He was sentenced to 15 years. He was finally released on Dec. 17, 2014, in a prisoner exchange in which the Barack Obama government returned three Cuban spies to the island…