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Fidel Castro to Congressional Black Caucus members: 'How can we help President Obama?'


How's this for hope and change: U.S. officials flying to Cuba, not to interrogate prisoners at Guantanamo Bay but to meet with the Castro brothers in order to ease the 50-year tensions between the two nations.

The aging, ailing, cigar-smoking icon Fidel Castro had three members of Congress visit with him today in Havana, which resulted in the bearded one asking, "How can we help President Obama?"  In an effort to improve the relationship between Cuba and the U.S., Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) and Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) were the first U.S. officials to meet with the 82-year-old former dictator since his intestinal surgery in July 2006.

Greg Adams of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana confirmed that the three members of the Congressional Black Caucus met with Castro, who handed the communist torch to his brother Raul in early 2007. Cuban state television is expected to release more details of the meeting tonight, Adams said.

Six members of the caucus met with Raul Castro on Monday for more than four hours. That meeting was also a first, as he had not yet met with any U.S. officials since he became the Cuban in charge.

"I'm convinced Raul Castro wants a normal relationship with the United States," Lee said after the meeting with the 77-year-old, the Associated Press reported. "He's serious."

"I think that what really surprised me, but also endeared me to him, was his keen sense of humor, his sense of history and his basic human qualities," Rush said. "I intend to do everything that I can when we get back to the States to make sure that normalization with our relationship with Cuba is given proper consideration both within the House of Representatives and the neighborhoods of America."

According to Lee's official website, the other members of the delegation were Reps. Melvin Watt (D-N.C.), Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio), Michael M. Honda (D-San Jose) and Laura Richardson (D-Long Beach). 

-- Tony Pierce

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Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) speaks during a news conference in Havana today. Cuban President Raul Castro met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus for more than four hours, his first face-to-face discussions with U.S. leaders since he became Cuba's leader last year. Back, from left to right, Reps. Emanuel Cleaver II, Barbara Lee and Marcia L. Fudge. (AP Photo / Javier Galeano)

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"I think that what really surprised me, but also endeared me to him, was his keen sense of humor, his sense of history and his basic human qualities," - Bobby Rush.

Maybe Congressman Rush should ask Cuban dissidents about Castro's "basic human qualities."

The comments crack me up. Were you guys all spewing this vitriol when Bush made trips to China?

The Congressional Black Caucus seems to have forgotten that Fidel Castro and his communist government are among the principal human rights violators in the World today. In today's Cuba, those who express dissent against their repressive government are imprisoned on false charges. Cuba's prisons are filled with innocent citizens who made the mistake of not swearing allegiance to their leaders, Fidel and Raul Castro. The members of the Congressional Black Caucus are either very naive or very stupid for having praised Fidel and his murderous brother Raul for their "humanity". The US should not normalize relations with Cuba until both of these tyrants and their repressive government are history.

Has Obama had his title changed to Chairman yet?

Hey, Fidel, you can help Obama, and the rest of us by giving him a one-way ticket to Havana. I'll pay the baggage fees.

And please remember, that the dimocrat black caucus does not speak for the vast majority of us, so don't be getting any warm fuzzies.

Bobby L. Rush is the same commie that solely introduced H.R. 45, which is a bill trying to basically make it impossible to own a gun. Take our guns away and we will end up like every other nation that went down that dark path...

How many thousands of political prisioners did he torture on the Isle of Pines (their political prison on the Southern coast of Cuba)??? I was in the Coast Guard in the 60's down in Florida and we rescued hundreds of refugees fleeing the tyrany. Now that he's old and the "revolution" has slowed down we want to legitimize him. Don't forget that Bobby Rush was part of that movemnet.

Well that’s really great. There seems to be no limit to how many “Useful Idiots” America can produce in politics and academia. The sheer irony of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), a group of US elected officials committed to perpetuating their special treatment and victim status against all sorts of perceived injustice, even after our country has elected it’s first anti-capitalist black president (who’s spiritual guide is a raving racist anti-American bigot who preaches at a church committed to racial bigotry …just research“ Black Liberation Theology” …under the guise of that wonderful Marxists ideology responsible for the deaths of over 100 million humans...but that’s another story), are now engaging with the proverbial Michael Jordan of civil rights violations.

The Castro brothers (who are nothing more than murderous dictators) would take away every right these “Useful Idiots” (Lenin phrase) hold dear. Let’s remind everyone what the Castro brothers did to anyone who yearend for freedom: then killed or enslaved them. Cuba is one giant prison because of the Communist/Marxist ideology perpetuated by Castro. Wait…do you see a connection here?

Eliot - Chicago


More cheap labor under the boot of communism !

Just think we don’t have to send our jobs all the way to China anymore – now we can lose our jobs just over the Florida Straits.

The dismantling of American Industry has never been easier.

Ahh, progress.

The article SHOULD say:

Former Black Panther Spokesman Bobby L. Rush(D-Ill)

Fidel wants to help obama become a better commie.

Why do some seem so surprised with this? Everything Obama is doing or proposing has been well known for a long time. His books and speeches are full of this stuff. The people he hung with all his life are well known. People, you are getting exactly what you voted for. Had enough hope and change yet?

All you people who are bitching about Obama being a Communist, Bobby Rush being a Communist, etc.

STOP and think about this:

Why do we not trade with Cuba? Because they're Communist?

Then why do we trade with China, which is a MUCH bigger threat and clearly has goals antithetical to our own?

Why is this not hypocritical? I posit that Cuba is much less a threat than China and we should be helping our neighbors in the Caribbean develop their economies rather than a huge country with a population 4 times greater than our.

Cuba is no threat; China is.

They really are stupid

Castro himself said they were Lee, Rush, and Laura Richardson, not Cleaver II.

Amazing. Black Americans, black leaders, who once fought for the liberation for their people, long oppressed by slavery and bigotry, have now become what they have despised. They are now with "the man" in Cuba. The one who oppresses and enslaves is now their friend. These black leaders are no longer slaves. Now, they are friends of the slave-owners.

President Obma is a true American...Everybody wants to be his friend...

Great, leave another area open for Terrorists to sneak in to the US and put all our lives in danger. Obama is so worried about being the most beloved in the world as the savior our our planet, that he's losing sight of realism. They're probably laughing their heads off at us...yeah, sure we want to help you and be your dumb. And who represents the 40% Latino's in this country, or all other races for that it payback time?

Send the black people to Cuba if they like him so much - including Obama! The Bell Curve in action!

On a one-for-one basis, send the Congressional Black Caucus legislators and their allies to Cuba and in return allow entry of Cubans into America who seek freedom from Castro's tyranny.

YOU PEOPLE AMAZE ME! Telling him to 'go off to europe or africa and leave the republic alone' JUST...WOW! You people are so blind! He's like 70 years old, he's dying, and he's reaching out to the country that has kept him oppressed and under a watchful eye with it's finger on the button for 60 years! He's got a tiny little 'communal' island where people work together and share (and they farm rice or whatever for the US, who undoubtedly pays them 3¢ a day! WAKE UP!

Why do you hate America? Why do you want MORE enemies? You people disgust me. And 'OH OH When did he step down?' IF YOU READ THE NEWS (online) DAILY, ...THAT WAS A LONG TIME AGO! Raul's been in charge for, just to hazard a guess, a year? 9 months? LOOK IT UP AND GET BACK TO ME.

I saw it happen in Cuba and now in Venezuela,Americans wake up or you will go down the same road,Obama is a Socialist and maybe a Communist don't be fooled by pretty speaches,Castro gave us pretty speeches too but we all regret the day he was borned.

America is the last hope for freedom loving people let's keep this Monsters from gaining any more power and save democracy.

Obama: Proof that even America's idiots are free to vote.

Haven't we been trading partners with China for years? They had Tienemen Square. And since the Soviet Union broke up, we've been trading with a Russia that elected the old guard to new positions of power. The USSR executed political prisoners. I don't think there is any reason why we can't move on and formalize relations with a country that is 90 miles from our homeland's shores. Especially with the way that we've reconciled with these other countries.

I am so sick of watching these black American liberal Congressman always coplaining about slavery( I agree with them) and then going to Cuba and kiss castro's ring and not care about the millions of Cubans that have been enslavede for 50 years and yes that includes black cubans,and not ask for ant thing in return from castro like basic human rights and the fredom of having elections,freedom of speech,freedom of desent ,etc,etc they are all in the pocket of Castro and have always been
"Hypocrats" not "democrats'

You guys are all haters because it inolved Black poeple had it been white that when on this mission it could have been a different story. BLACK IT IS YOUR TIME GOD HAS GIVEN IT TO YOU, OBAMA RACK ON AM WITH YOU.
I am not a supporter of Castrol evil crimes but there has to be a solution to this problem so if Black Causcus are taking that step so be it someone has to do because CUBA PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING, there is not perfect time or way to start but doing nothing is not an option. We have to look past Castrol now and think of Cuba citizens cos Castrol is only one person when compare with million of cuba but he is in charge so we must as well use him one way or the other. We past the horrible slavary act just to live in peace with the same poeple directly or indirectly committed this act inorder to answer One America: Those guys fighting and dieing in Iraqi are not consider white, Black, Histanic or blue but Americans that the way it should be let us look beyound if we want to get somewhere. Castrol will pay for his price someday but let us look beyound Castrol and think of Cuba poeple.

"Perhaps I am mistaken, I thought the constitution clearly defined who did what. Congressional representatives were NOT the ones to negotiate with foreign states. Then, I've only read it a few times. Posted by: oakknoll"

(Search for foreign, and then look just a few lines above it)

"Section. 8.
Clause 1: The Congress shall have Power ...Clause 3: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes"

I'm not sure if you were being serious, having 'only read it a few times,' but don't do that; if you're not sure: LOOK IT UP. Because I just had to go and prove you wrong. Congressional reps are EXACTLY the people who should do it, to regulate commerce to/from the foreign entity. (2 houses in Congress: House of Representatives, and the Senate. (This is the Federal government, not each state gov.)

Here's the thing. Cuba is not going to attack the US (much more likely the other way). An opening to Cuba will probably allow for a lessening of opression from the Cuban government. If we can have good relations with Vietname, China and Nepal (to name a few), there's no reason we can't have good relations with Cuba.

How endearing. Did they ask Fidel how many black Cubans are in positions of power in Cuba? I would have thought these Congressional leaders would look down on countries where a small group of old white guys run a country that's mostly non-white.

Greyhawk: what a meaningless comment. You've contributed absolutely nothing to this conversation. Your mom must be so proud.

"I hope Obama's minions asked the Castro's to release their prisons of dissenters, since they're letting the Guantanamo folks free."
Link please? Where on earth did you pick that up? Rush Limbaugh? They're US prisoners, shouldn't they be on US soil? You know, so they can receive the full protection of the Bill of Rights? Because remember Bush? HE'S BEEN TORTURING THEM on Cuban soil, using exactly that excuse so he can evade the BOR to torture and kill people.

Bush & Co were the perps of 9/11, and BEFORE you say a word, read (or at least glance at, because it's voluminous...that means 'huge, many volumes')

You people arguing against 'a guy who caused the cuban missile crisis (because Russia, NOW DEFUNCT, put missiles there and told him to aim them at Miami)... ARE YOU BLIND?! He was a pawn for the Russians, then we b!tcHslapped them into place, 90 miles SE of Florida. ("You may launch a missile at us, but we'll absolutely destroy your island and everything on it." "OK OK just kidding! lets be friends, huh?")

You people make me embarrassed to be in the same species as you. Then again, maybe I'm not, from the sound of MOST of you.

Fidel is a smart guy, this was a brilliant thing for him to do.

Where is the Congressional White Caucuse? Oh, we don't subscribe to constantly wearing our race on our sleeve? They are now in Congress, some of the most powerful positions in the free world. For them, is race still an issue?

Black Caucus is Detroit City counsel on steroids. Corrupt, racists, and embarrassing.

to AD "Wow! Can you imagine the vast market for US goods that could open up in Cuba? They want so much and could provide a little boost to the economy if they want to buy." The Cuban salary for a Doctor or a Janitor or contruction worker or any individual in Cuba is approximately $20.00 per month. Plus their ration book that the gov't provides for gov't stores. How much of a boost in the US economy will it be to try to sell goods to the citizens of a country where people receive $240.00 per year from the gov't? Notice I said recieve from the gov't instead or earn. I feel for the Cuban folks, it is not their fault, now, don't forget the Cuban gov't trades with the whole world except for us. So there is really not excuse for them being in the situation their in except by the design of their own gov't. Now that the devil (Bush) is gone, the Cuban gov't is actually is slightly concerned that Obama will move too fast to open relations with Cuba and they won't have anyone to blame. Believe me, even the Cuban people know it, they just can't do anything about it.

I am so sick of watching these black American liberal Congressman always coplaining about slavery( I agree with them) and then going to Cuba and kiss castro's ring and not care about the millions of Cubans that have been enslavede for 50 years and yes that includes black cubans,and not ask for ant thing in return from castro like basic human rights and the fredom of having elections,freedom of speech,freedom of desent ,etc,etc they are all in the pocket of Castro and have always been
"Hypocrats" not "democrats'

Mike: "Castro's greatest desire is to get US government backed credits which no other country in the world is willing to give him becuase he already owes over $45 Billion to several countries and does not ever intend to repay."

And what's the US Deficit at? We're in the trillions. WAKE UP!

Who else is Cuba allies with right now? (What other superpower nation are they remotely close to? Like it or not, they've been under the OPPRESSIVE US law for 50, 2010 will be 50 years since 1960; I know Kennedy was elected in 1960, and I know he dealt with the CMC. Then he was assassinated. By Republicans.

Well, Obama promised change, didn't he? I guess he makes good on his promises.

Everyone get out your red clothes, we're gonna need them.

That gives me a very warm and fuzzy feeling inside...In fact Im all ready to go give random hugs to everyone I see, that's how happy I am...

Isnt it funny that anytime there is an American getting cozy with the communists, it always seems to be a Democrat. Do you suppose its because they have so much in common?

maybe cubans can buy some of those millions of unsold new american cars sitting in storage lots.

do they have any money?

What a startling display of ignorant invective in these comments. Just pathetic.

Thanks, Joe Grima, for raising the level of discourse ever so slightly.

The rest of you can return to Rush/Sean/Joe/Ann/Glenn/whoever hits your fearmongering sweet spot.

LOGAN ACT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For Christ's sake, how much more before people in this Country will have had ENOUGH?!?!

Why don't we just re-animate Musolini's body now, and declare an oligarcy?
What a freaking mess. Why doesn't anyone know their history?

I dont know what to feel about this. On one side it's good that we build relationships with our neighbors but on the other hand they cannot be trusted, unfortunately.

Proof once again that even though not all traitors are democRATS, all democRATS are traitors.

Open your borders (both ways) to tourists so people can see what it is really like, both in cuba and in the US. That is the #1 thing that will bring change - education to reality. When people see what it is like in the real world they will DEMAND change. And woe to them that try to stand in the way.

Why the surprise about Communist adulation from the Dhimmicrats?.

When some said he could not organize farmworkers and take on the growers, he said, 'Si Se Puede' - 'YES WE CAN.' It's a philosophy of hope and aspiration that inspires us today." - BO endorsing a national holiday for Communist Cesar Chavez - 31 March 2008

BTW Hilary Clinton also supported a holiday for Cesar Chavez.

What can Castro do for the US? He can show the visiting US Socialist Caucus a six month vacation providing them with the same hospitality and living quarters that Castro showers on his own people, the same wages, the same basic costs and standard of living and freedoms that his own people enjoy. Maybe some of these American Socialist dingbats would be cured of their left wing, anti American, reverend Wright & Louie Farrakhan inspired views.

On the surface, reaching out to other governments, regardless their position or practice can be a good idea. However, doing so without a strategic set of principles, including expectations and possible returns and improvements from both sides is INSANE.

Having the Black Caucus, for that matter ANY Caucus as our lead-off transition team is absolutely ludicrous. Open dialogue is never bad; however when “humor” from a known communist, censor of speech and confirmed killer of Cuban citizens is a “pleasant surprise and endearment:….are you freakin’ kidding me? Can you say naive? Sadly, this type of foreign outreach is becoming the norm. Assuredly, our enemies are laughing in their boots, plotting our down fall and making plans to make us feel comfortable as we’re led to the slaughter. Wake up my fellow American’s!

High praise flows from one communist dictator to yet another.

Why am I not surprised?

Racist comments: check
Bad el Rushbo impersonation jokes: check
Uneventful visit to a country we will not normalize relations with in the next 10 years: check

Nothing more to see here people, the South FL Republicans will get this killed dead as the conservatives chances in 2012 if they pick Palin to run for president.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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