Six spring breakers representing the Congressional Black Caucus in the House spent five days visiting with Fidel and Raul Castro. This was heralded as the first meeting with Fidel by American officials since 2006, when it is believed his health took a turn for the worse.
The U.S. has no embassy in Havana as we have no official relationship with the Communist country but there is an office named the U.S. Interests Section is located there. A spokesman confirmed the visit.
The members of the entourage were led by Rep. Barbara Lee, (D-CA). You may remember her as the only member of the House of Representatives to vote no to the action in Afghanistan after the attacks of 9/11/01. All of the visitors were Democrats.
They left Cuba without talking to reporters. They also left Cuba without talking to political dissidents.
What is it with the Congressional Black Caucus and their trips to Cuba? In February 1999, Maxine Waters, (D-CA) led a delegation there. In January 2000 and again in May 2000, more members went to visit Fidel.
Following the leadership of President Obama, the delegation felt free to do some America bashing while there. One member said, "despite Obama's electoral victory, American society continues to be racist. He added that Obama represented the only opportunity that nation had to move on and leave behind all the wrongdoings accumulated by former governments." That from a piece at Breaking News online. So, the U.S. is portrayed as racist to a Communist dictator by an American elected official and just for good measure, some bashing of previous administrations. Have no fear, Cuba, Obama, the Chosen One will save you.
"One of them expressed that it was necessary to take advantage of this historical moment, when the presence of a black President in the White House coincides with a current of opinion that is in favor of normalization of relations."
President Obama has recently been quoted as in favor of lifting some of the restrictions of the embargo in place. Currently there are restrictions on trade and travel to the country. Cuban Americans are not in favor of this action, by the way. An influx of more tourist dollars and trade deals would fatten the wallets of the Castro brothers and their cronies but not the average Cuban.
What is with the Congressional Black Caucus licking the shoes of the Castro brothers? What's in it for them? Pay backs? I thought a main concern of the Caucus was human rights. There are none in Cuba. Fidel is fond of imprisoning critics and killing them at whim. There is no religious freedom - Cubans are not allowed to even have a religious book, whether a Bible or other, to even be out in the open in their own private home. It is an imprisonable offense.
The group sang the praises of Fidel and Raul because they "let" them worship on Palm Sunday. Interesting. Too bad the ordinary Cuban has no such freedom.
Jules Crittenden has a good post about the grand tour of Cuba for these congress people.
This is kind of incredibly ill-conceived jaunt by members of the Congressional Black Caucus is a direct result of the kind of groveling and apologetic speeches President Obama delivered in Europe and Turkey. By trying to be the Chosen One for the world, believing all his professional marketing hype from his Chicago cronies, Obama provides much entertainment for those he is trying so desperately to impress. President Bush, the one Obama is so desperate to distance himself from, had strong ties with President Sarkozy and with Germany's Angela Merkel. Neither are eager to embrace Obama. Obama makes hay over his emerging relationship with Russian leaders and the Chinese. Bush also had good relations with them but the far left - including Obama - were quick to criticize those good ties.
Words matter. Celebrity candidates fall far short on leadership, both domestically and internationally.