A Congressional Venceremos Brigade


There are admirable goals behind the Congressional Black Caucus visit to Cuba—ending America's failed embargo policy and lifting all travel restrictions to the communist dictatorship—but it is a shame that those pushing the policy change, like Rep Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), are long-standing apologists for the Castro regime. Take, for instance, this CNN interview with Lee, during which the Congresswoman evades a straight-forward question about human rights abuses and lack of democratic institutions on the island.

The Politico reports that "Lee and others heaped praise on Castro, calling him warm and receptive during their discussion."

"It was quite a moment to behold," Lee said, recalling her moments with Castro. "It was almost like listening to an old friend," said Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Il.), adding that he found Castro's home to be modest and Castro's wife to be particularly hospitable. "In my household I told Castro he is known as the ultimate survivor," Rush said.

Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.) told MSNBC that Americans misunderstand Cuba, likely suffering from false consciousness provoked by sinister reports in the capitalist media. "The things I had heard of Fidel, it's almost like you would think he is horrible, he's angry, he would hate America," she said. "But everything I saw and witnessed was completely the opposite to (sic) that."

Rep. Lee, a former acolyte of Maurice Bishop's New Jewel Movement in Grenada, believes that increased trade with Havana might result in a cure for my diabetes. "They found a vaccine for hepatitis B; they're working on some HIV/AIDS vaccines, for meningitis… When you look at the (possiblities for) cancer discoveries, the medicine for diabetes….I was very excited."