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Black Caucus Members Praise Castro April 8, 2009

This was an interesting story that broke out of Politico:

Key members of the Congressional Black Caucus are calling for an end to U.S. prohibition on travel to Cuba, just hours after a meeting with former Cuban president Fidel Castro in Havana.

“The fifty-year embargo just hasn’t worked,” CBC Chairwoman Barbara Lee (D-Ca.) told reporters this evening at a Capitol press conference after returning from a congressional delegation visit to Cuba. “The bottom line is that we believe its time to open dialogue with Cuba.”

Lee and others heaped praise on Castro, calling him warm and receptive during their discussion. But the lawmakers disputed Castro’s later statement that members of the congressional delegation said American society is still racist.

“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-Ca.) said Castro was receptive to President Obama’s message of turning the page in American foreign policy…

Having read the excerpt what is your initial reaction? Thunderous applause? A hair raising WTF?

Before we draw any conclusions let’s first examine Castro’s historical relationship with the African American community.

In our collective memory, Fidel Castro is cast as the ruthless Cuban dictator, enemy of the United States. However history has been silenced about Castro’s  firm support of African American Civil Rights.  Before I go any further, I want to first preface this post by saying that I (Afrocity) in no way, shape or form support Fidel Castro or his policies. I actually do NOT AGREE with the statements or actions of the Congressional Black Caucus. I simply wish to offer a few historical facts which may allow a greater understanding of the position of the CBC.

In 1959  Castro led a coup d’etat in which he overthrew dictator, Fulgencio Batista. Shortly thereafter Cuba strengthened ties with the Soviet Union by relying upon them for oil and Castro declared Cuba a socialist state. As tensions grew between Cuba and the US, Castro deflected criticism of his policies by accusing the United States of being a racitst nation for its treatment of African Americans.

In 1960,  a delegation of African American writers and prominent black politicians were invited to Cuba at Castor’s request including Amiri Baraka ,NY Congressman Adam Clayton Paul.  Harold Cruse,Julian Mayfield and John Henrik Clarke. Black Americans  were also encouraged by Castro to consider Cuba as a travel destination and he hired boxer Joe Louis for a publicity campaign. Castro was quick to point out that under a socialist state all people are created equal regardless of race or color and that this was in sharp contrast to America’s treatment of minorities.  Castro also made notable visits to Harlem where he met with Powell once again and Black activist Malcolm X. Cuba offered scholarships to doctors who studied in Cuba yet wanted to serve in minority communities of the US. Decades later Castro supported Nelson Mandela and supported the end of apartheid.

Having read the above does your opinion of the recent Congressional Black Caucus trip to Cuba? Is your opinion more favorable?

Speaking for myself, I can give a very firm ‘No’ on that.

Mr. Castro do not expect me to play court and smoke cigar’s with you just because you supported civil rights and “hung out” in Harlem a few times during the 1960’s. It does not mean that I excuse what you have done to the people in your country. I would not break bread with you based upon your relationship with MY COUNTRY. Country first.

Fidel Castro and Malcom X in Harlem

Fidel Castro and Malcom X in Harlem

And incidentally, looking at that Politico article it goes on to say:

Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Ca.) said Castro was receptive to President Obama’s message of turning the page in American foreign policy.

“He listened. He said the exact same thing” about turning the page “as President Obama said,” said Richardson.
Richardson said Castro knew her name and district. “He looked right into my eyes and he said, ‘How can we help? How can we help President Obama”

I am not so sure that the US (white or black) wants or needs Fidel Castro’s help especially if it is like the kind below.



6 Responses to “Black Caucus Members Praise Castro”

  1. BlueCanuck Says:

    Hi Afrocity. Spot on observation. Just because a dictator did one thing decent, doesn’t give him a pass on decades of oppression.

  2. TheRealKim Says:

    Your post rocks! Keep them coming and your about you, fabulous. I have added you to my blogroll and will keep coming back.

  3. Ford_Prefect Says:

    I think that this,
    “It was almost like listening to an old friend,” said Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Il.)
    is probably the most revealing statement in the post. He likely seemed like an old friend because he was speaking their language. The language of socialism. It isn’t really surprising that he would be in favor of racial equality, since socialists believe in everyone being equally poor.

    BTW, Afrocity, congrats on a great start to your blog.

  4. boldandbald Says:

    There is an interesting article about this at American Thinker today. The CBC’s impression of the Castro regime as being friendly to the cause of equal rights is a little off base.

    *some snippets:

    “Congressional Black Caucus Smitten With Castro”

    “In fact, these lily-white European soldier’s sons (Fidel and Raul) forcibly overthrew a Cuban government where Cuban Blacks served as President of the Senate, Minister of Agriculture, Chief of Army, and Head of State (Fulgencio Batista), a grandson of slaves who was born in a palm-roofed shack.”

    “Today the prison population in Stalinist/Apartheid Cuba is 90 percent black while only 9 percent of the ruling Stalinist party is black. As these Black legislators cavorted in Cuba, a Black Cuban anti-communist named Antunez, who suffered 17 years in Castro’s dungeons (essentially for quoting Martin Luther King and the UN Declaration of Human Rights in a public square), was on a hunger strike against Castroism.”

    (From Antunez’s sister)

    “”The Cuban government tries to fool the world with siren songs depicting racial equality in our country. But it is all a farce, as I and my family can attest, having suffered from the systematic racism directed at us by Castro’s regime. My brother suffers the scourge of racial hatred every day. The beatings are always accompanied by racial epithets. They set dogs on him. They deny him medical attention.”

    Is the Castro regime really who the CBC wants to associate themselves with? If so it tells you an awful lot about who they really are.

    • afrocity Says:

      Or, Bold n’ Bald it tells you just how ignorant the CBC really is. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) is from Chicago. He has been ill lately I think with throat cancer so I will go easy on him. If those on the trip are anything like Rush, it is more than likely the CBC has no idea of the political implications of their visit and this is another far left publicity stunt to use American values for fodder. They should visit their fellow minority groups in Florida. Those who fled Cuba leaving behind their possessions and memories.

      This reminds me of that scene in American Carol where the natives try to stowaway on the boat when Michael Moore leaves for America.

      • boldandbald Says:

        You know, I am never sure which scares me more, thinking that people like this are too stupid to know what they are doing, or that they know exactly what they are doing. I tend to think it is important to figure it is the later. If we count on them just being stupid we may be underestimating them to our own downfall.

        I haven’t seen that movie yet. Unfortunately I don’t have much time for movies or my books, what with a job, a wife, a kid, a dog, a house, a whole list of blogs …..

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