Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

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

Click here to register for automatic Tweets on each new Ticket item.

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)

Comments () | Archives (349)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Are members of Congress allowed to negotiate with Communist nations on behalf of Americans? Is this not an act of treason? It's certainly an act of betrayal against those who elected the representatives. I'm glad it was at least reported by LATIMES, albeit in quasi-positive tones, but where is the rest of the media on this?

The best is yet to come.
Wait until Obama befriend's Osama.
It is on it's way.
All we American's have to do is turn into MAD DOG'S, just like the likes of them.
Osama Bin Laden
Obama and Biden
Looks the same to me.

FIdel: How can we help President Obama?

Obama: Well Dictator Castro, you could start by killing yourself...

Oh wait - this is Barry the LIB we're talking about here. He'll be too busy bowing, kissing rings, etc. to even manage a coherent response. God, I miss Ronald Wilson Reagan!

Gee I think I remeber a young politician 50 years ago which ran on a platform of CHANGE!
He never said what the change was. His name was FIdel Castro.
Does that sound familiar???
Obama and him are two of a kind.
This black man for president is the cruelest hoax ever perpitrated upon the African American people. All they could see was his color and that's why he was setup for this election. Because nobody cared about what the change was, only that he was black.
So the blacks voted for that reason and the whites because of "white guilt" over racism.
What a carefully planned trick on the American people.
Ignorant Democratics~ are getting there Change! But now we're all going to pay for it.
God Help us all!

Ever notice how all the murderous, evil tyrants love Nobama, our jug-eared mini tyrant?

He's making this country ripe for all sorts of crap that we don't even want to think about.

'Thanks ACORN, Pelosi, Reid, Frank and all other liars, thieves, crooks and other democraps.

Lent is the proper time to remind us how a treacherous Judas sold someone who we deearly love for 30 pieces of silver. I hope when these marxist wanabies come from Cuba and presented the silver loot to the Democratic Congress and their friends. They will not dare to utter the same arrogants words of old ,Let the blood of more than 100,000 cubans fall on the heads of our children .I hope they do not fall on those extremes. You can be free from bodily shackles ,but the real freedom is freedom of the mind.Pact with Tyrants ishould not be a security blanket for the government of the United State.

Must be the congressional black caucus is looking for a few good communist men that they can bring to this country and stand up against the right wing gun toters since they can't find any leftist here with the balls to kill their own countrymen.
What could Cuba have to offer besides death? Baseball players? Nope, all the good ones have defected so far. Expert anything? Nope they all came across on boats already. Medical doctors? Sorry Cuba only has the rusty knife kind.
Must be death. Yes like attracts like in this case, how can we kill our enemies? Cuba is so good at it maybe the congressional black caucus can learn something from such expert murderers of the defenseless.

Since President Obama is in an aplogetic mood for the USA's "cimes and arrogance" I wish these fools had demanded Castro apologize for betraying the Cuban Revolution in 1959 by making Cuba an ally of the USSR. Cuba is around 20 to 25% is black and there has never been a black (or a woman) in any higher positions in the Communist government. Do these American blacks forget that Castro has persecuted religion and denied Cuban all basic freedoms the USA Constitution guarantees for everyone, including American blacks? Lenin had a great term for stupid Western losers who atcually beluieved the USSR was a "paradise on earth". He called them "useful idiots". The Black Caucus are idiots and have no use if they take the side of a brutal dictator.

That was a suprise the members of congress visits Cuba. Whats next Obama makes a State Visit. I'm sick and tired of a bunch of exiles telling where I can travel to and not travel to. I want to make my honeymoon in Havana. But if people are a bunch of cry babies and dictating Americans where they can't travel to and do business in then why don't you cry babies move to the Islamic Republic of Iran. They don't allow their citizens and residents to visit and do business along with some other nations. We just act like those nations that hate Israel and don't permit Citizens to Visit and do business in regarding to Cuba. Its Anti American to tell people where they can travel and do business in. I like to see sanctions on Syria gone but we don't tell the American they can't visit Syria or Iran or North Korea.

this article failed to mention that the Congessional Black Caucus also called America a racist nation during their nice little trip to Cuba. Wow I love being called a racist on a daily basis by my own Government. I guess I better go cling to my guns and religion now.

AD...You made me laugh. Normalize relations so we can boost our economy by opening up our products for sale to the Cubans who want so much. They want so much because, not only do they have nothing, BUT THEY HAVE NO MONEY WITH WHICH TO BUY ANYTHING. All thanks to their government and their valueless currency. Normalization of relations and lifting the embargo for Cuba's dictators is about the US sending Cuba aid with no strings attached, not about letting the Cubans buy American toothpaste, cellphones, and Levi's!

And kudos to all who recognize the stupidity and hypocrisy of the Black Caucus and anyone who thinks that the Castros are filled with a sense of humor and basic humanity. Jes*s, they have been murdering dictators for 50+ years and they laugh at Americans every single day!!!

How to help including everyone concerned particularly
all Cubans--die you worthless socialist dictator and
mass murderer! These ignorant "dupes" have to surely
among the most gullible, dumb "useful idiots" as Lenin
called the leftists in Europe.

I am so afraid of this administration that I can't sleep at night. This is the weakest administration that I have ever witnessed. Go to another planet and do all of us a favor..oh and take Obama with you.

Well..... You wanted change didn't you!

well,i haven't seen such comments blindly put together by a bunch of half-brained individuals driven by race and fear of becoming just a part.To whom it may concern,"keep your friends close but your enemy closer"....someone has to clean up your mess.
Also,"accross the Pond" is not accross the seas.check the WORLD map.

OMG!!! Were going to hell in a handbag!! What are you Dems thinking?? Those CBC members should just stay there if they think it is just such a wonderful country; and what I mean by that is, live like the rest of society is living there. In poverty. I'm sure the Castro's are just chomping at the bit to get Amrerica to side with them. It's going to be a grand old party with fireworks and all.

I heard that Obama was a genious? Some people have book smart and some have common sence. Umm, what does he have? No wisdom with Obama. I fear for our country and will be at the Alamo next Wednesday with Glen Beck for the tea party. Friends with the enemy? America wake up this guy is a loon and a pin head. If you lay down with dogs you will get fleas. Fidel is a dog and we do not need his fleas.

Marxist/Socialist members of the American Congress playing huggy kissy with Communist Cuba ! What have we come to ? ? Our ONLY hope is to take it back in 2010 since the RNC and current Republican members of Congress are nothing but sniveling lapdogs to this administration. Hello Socialism......Goodbye America.

When are they going to wake up!!! Nothing will change until Obama actually sees and knows and is informed of what the people really think of him and what he is doing. But NO
they protect him from everything because he does not want any static - he will just barrel ahead as if NO one has the right to question him. He is defintely the Dictator of America.
We better wake up as it is here and loud and clear!!

Wasn't Bobby Rush a founder of "The Black Panthers" in Chicago? Didn't he call for the destruction of the American Judicial system and Government in the 60's while President Kennedy was trying to keep the missles out of Cuba? Wasn't he the Black Panther that believed in Armed insurrection against the White people? When are the American people going to wise up and pay attention to History? Didn't we say enough to racism when the country elected Obama? Then why do these so called "Representatives of the People" only represent their own personal agendas? The silent majority needs to be silent no longer, take a stand and vote these people back to the private sector. We the people need to change the term limits, benefit packages and Pork. To quote a Great American; "We need to Take Back America!"

When are they going to wake up!!! Nothing will change until Obama actually sees and knows and is informed of what the people really think of him and what he is doing. But NO
they protect him from everything because he does not want any static - he will just barrel ahead as if NO one has the right to question him. He is defintely the Dictator of America.
We better wake up as it is here and loud and clear!!

After reading a few of these posts it is obvious that the average American is more informed than the schmucks in the Washington driver seat...the Cold War wasn't a load of laughs folks. The black caucus are only educated dopes with no understanding of the lessons history has taught us. They're radical arrogance only stirs up worthless dust clouds. In reality, their montra is only worth the ink that prints it or the computer motherboard that supports it. When the rubber meets the road they're just another bunch of attention-deprived nuts arguing amongst themselves. Throw a camera in front of them and they're liable to say or do anything.

Level headed Americans UNITE! Understand and appreciate your history to ensure your freedom to do so tommorow.

We shared a somwhat peaceful relationship with Cuba prior to Castro and Che's malarky. Change was on the horizon that did not include selling off the rights of the people. Many Americans would like to see a good relationship grow with Cuba but only when ALL wrongs of the past have been accounted for (on both sides).

I'm all for normalization of relations with Cuba, just as soon as THEY normalize relations with the Cuban people.

wait a second, Castro, the same guy who doesn't let his own countrymen leave the island on their own free will, they are basically prisoners and Obama wants to make nice with him....why doesn't he say, will left the emabargo if you let your citizens be free..........................

Oust Obama! Since he's not being a natural-born citizen, he's ineligible to be president. Arrest him for treason and let him cool his heels in prison. Deal with the head of the snake, then the body --including these three congressmen-- will stop slithering on its own accord.

It's not so amazing how the far left media like the LA Times panders to the socialist agenda every chance it gets.

Goodbye to our beloved USA if the left gets its way.

Why does the left hate America so much that it wants to destroy it?

Posted by: Grayhawk From: Marge

You are so right, BUT you failed to add one more, that being president BARACH HUSSEIN OBAMAMAN!

Looks like all you need to be a 'representative of the United States' is to be a liberal black person. thanks for not including all of us non-blacks in this group. I have a fundamental problem with being Castro's friend.

Misery wants company. Change is coming on Jan 21, 2013

I've been to Cuba, and the people may be poor, but they have great health care including dental work, and doctors that are willing to work hard for low pay. We had to take our doctor friend out to lunch - the cab drivers and service employees are among the best paid because they have access to dollars instead of pesos. They may not have all the resources that we do, but they've got good schools and committed teachers.

When this travel ban ends, a lot of mistaken apprehensions about Cuba will fall away - Cuba will learn some new things, but I'm willing to bet the USA will learn more.

blame the idiots who voted for this shmuck!!!!
Impeach his ass!!

I think it is fine for the congress members to visit Cuba. I think everyone should be allowed to visit Cuba, if the wish.

I am not worried about communism spreading from Cuba to the United States. An open exchange of people and goods would only improve the chances of the Cuban people moving toward democracy. I have far more confidence in our governmental form. Though we may vigorously disagree with each other in this country, simple interaction with a socialist nation is not likely to convince us to turn over our vote, property and future to an already failed system.

The concept of a Black Caucus is outdated. Young people today do not see people in terms of black or white and we should not even reference race as a determinant of anything in governmental and social matters.

Though I have German roots, two generations back, I would find it odd if a group of German heritage congress members, black, white or otherwise, purported to represent my views and called themselves the German Caucus. I would be offended if they ever called themselves the White Caucus.

Maybe it is time that the Black Caucus become a social club like the Friends of Norway and leave the discussion of crucial issues, including foreign policy to those less fixed on race as a determining factor of anything. By definition, a caucus excludes others, Barak Obama is healthy for this country because he is inclusive, intelligent and I think, honest. I don’t think of him as a black president and I don’t think of Max Baucus as my white senator, though he looks like he could use some rest and sunshine.

A friendly overture to the Cuban people is long overdue. The overture should have come from the Administrative Branch of our government, but I have no objections to congress members helping to move things in the right direction

I would like to know if these idiots "congress men" knelt down before castro and kissed his stinking legs) animals have legs no feet)you read what they are doing with the Castros and is hard to believe.I wonder if they invited him for breakfast at the white house.They are more anti-american than the communists themselves.If they like so much the castros, why they didn't stay there and leave this beautiful country in peace!!

Embracing a dictator?? WOW. Are you guys completely oblivious to who we talk to all the time who are nothing but dictators??? Bush holds hands with dictators in public. So how is it that the people who are already suffering from a dictatorship, should suffer more with sanctions that are outdated and useless.. Despite their ruling philosophy and their ideologies, they are not a threat to us militarily or in any other means. Of course we need to lift the sanctions from that country and try to help the people out there. If it doesn't work, so be it. But atleast we try to reach out a hand.

i can answer fidels question.,,
two words., die already.,,
one less communist dictator would help the world.,
so nobama gets helpd.,,

the good thing about the nobama reign,,is it is exposing all the morons n socialist ppl in our government, now we can defeat them.,, its already happening.,,cris dodd.,,the banking guy is going to loss reelection.,,one down.,,n lots to go.,,this is going to be fun.,,,hang in there,,america is not going to turn into france.,,

These fools in the Black Caucus seem to forget that even though Cuba is about 22% black Castro has never, since he took over Cuba in 1959, had a black or a woman in any high positions in his government or in his circle of Marxist friends. Gays were brutally abused by order of Castro in the eraly 60'd and set to be worked to death in labor camps created by Che Gueverra. These American blacks are morons who support dictatorship in its worst form. Shame on these idiots.

All these put downs. These congress men and women are idiots. Fidel is a monster. Obama a closet communist.

Have you ever cared to think why there is such a difference of opinion. Perhaps it is because people of color do not have a chance in the US. You all think it is fare and glorious.

So sad. so sad.

I have been to Cuba a few times. I love it.
I am not black, hispanic.

i've been wondering when someone would finaly put it in to words...........communist... people it's here. i also want to he denying the white part of his haritage? he's white and black.

Look folks, the polices regarding Cuba that America began 50 years ago have failed. Period. This isn't 1959. This isn't the Bay of Pigs in which CIA-led miscreants tried to ambush Castro and ended up solidifying his position in that country. The people actually embraced Castro more, thanks to the CIA.

Those three Congress people did a GOOD THING in that they opened dialogue and have new ideas to improve a ridiculous policy. Three cheers for them!

I just saw more Radical Cuban Exile called Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida. She should just shut her mouth up influence of these Cuban Exiles are over. If she and exiles don't want to visit Cuba then you don't have too otherwise let Americans take their money and take a vacation or Business Trip and spend it. Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck can shut their mouths up.

oh good, now I feel better. If we could just go get these same inspired member of the Congressional Black Caucus to meet with the Somali pirates, Iran & North Korea everything would be settled and perpetual peace would begin. After that maybe this group can join with Al Gore and fix the Global warming crisis. Am I the only one that thinks every member of congress simply looks upon us as their humble subjects?

It's amazing...The times has done it again. Ths staff
editor only selects stories, that have a left leaning
Why doesn't someone on the Times staff request an inspection of Cuban prisons, as most media reporters
insist on a guided tour of Gitmo ?
Answer..... Presidente Castro would tell them to go
to Hell . This would make any liberal reporter happy,
because he or she would not have to report the truth.

As a Cuban American raised in Cuba until I was 11 years old. And being one of the lucky ones that this "GREAT NATION THE U.S.A. took in, even thought my father stayed jailed in Cuba for 10 years after I came here with my mother, not seeing my dad for 10 years I owe to Fidel & his regime. It shames me that Americans are shaking this monsters hand, and acting like he wasn't a murderer. Shame on you! The Cuban people wil live in missery as long as the Castros are in power. Get your asses back home and help here. When the Castros are gone go to Cuba & make your deals.

Somebody needs to read Castro's comments today in the official Cuban rag, according to him, there is nothing Cuba can do to help because they are not a threat to the United States. I think he missed the point that a change in relations with the U.S. would require a change in Cuba's political system. I wonder how he missed that with these yahoos sending such a clear message of U.S. interests. Even better, yesterday he wrote that one of the Congressistas said the U.S. should apologize for the last 50 years ask for forgiveness.

If all of these politicans are in love with Castro and him with Obama , maybe we should try trading all of them to Cuba for some cigars. The only problem is they may swim back.

These congressmen, fools and buffoons, fell all over themselves to compliment the murderous leaders of the sunniest and poorest concentration camp in all the Americas.
It was socialists saluting communists all over again.

This goes to show that we American voters have to not just be sure that our locally elected congressmen will represent us but be a credit to ALL of USA also.


Terrence above questions the legitimacy of U.S. statesmen meeting with dictators responsible for executing enemies of their political party. I'd love to see that number in comparison to the total of all innocent people and U.S. military personnel killed by order of ANY of presidents in the past 50 years. Wake up, our leader's hands are just as red as theirs.

After reading all your comments, it seems quite obvious you close-minded American retards won't be sharing the white sandy beaches of Cuba with me anytime soon. And I have no problems with that whatsoever. It's no wonder you're still using the imperial system. And that your health care system is amongst the worst in the industrialized world. And that your judicial system is the strictest in the world. Funny how what used to be the most enviable country in the world has become the most ridiculed.

Asja, don't know where you live but in this country we are free to speak our minds against our illustrious president whenever we find it necessary. We'll do so any d@mn time we please.

« | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

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.
President Obama
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: