Cuban student leaders fighting dictator Fulgencio Batista's regime have questioned Rafael Cruz's account of his activities before leaving the country, the New York Times reported.
While Cruz -- whose son Ted is running for the Republican presidential nomination -- has described himself as a saboteur who threw Molotov cocktails against Batista's administration, fellow members of the resistance movement said that the Tea Party favorite actually took part in protest marches as opposed to running anti-government operations. Cruz himself has not identified any buildings he targeted or specific acts of sabotage he supposedly committed.
One former student leader, Leonor Arestuche, described Cruz as an "ojalatero," or wishful thinker -- the kind of person who spent their time "wishing and praying that Batista would fall, but not doing much to act on it."
Cruz's allegation -- which he has stated during public appearances -- that he met with resistance leader Frank País 12 years before País was killed has also come under question. Cruz has said that País was killed during a rebel operation in Santiago on Nov. 30, 1956. However, it has been widely reported that País actually died at the hands of local police in June 1957.
When asked about the discrepancy by the Times, Cruz said, "I don't remember where País was killed." The senator said in his book A Time for Truth, published earlier this year, that all of the students involved in the operation were killed alongside País
Yet other participants in the failed uprising also stated that they did not remember meeting Cruz during the incident. Cruz has said that he was part of a group waiting to get weapons from a boat led by the country's future leader, Fidel Castro. When the boat did not arrive to meet with Cruz's contingent, he said, they were told to "scram." Cruz has not been able to identify anyone taking part in the failed attack.
"I mean, we were scattered," Cruz told the Times. "I was with one other guy at a little coffee place or something like that, and I don't remember his name."