Last week, seven members of the Congressional Black Caucus - Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Melvin Watt, D-N.C., Michael Honda, D-Calif., Laura Richardson,, D-Calif., Bobby Rush, D-Ill., Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, and Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Mo. returned from a visit to Cuba where they met with the dictators of Cuba, Fidel and Raul Castro.
They were quite impressed with Fidel Castro, the longest reigning dictator in the world, the man who deprived an entire generation of Cubans of the most fundamental human rights. Some of their reactions:
CBC Chairwoman Rep. Barbara Lee: "Former President Fidel Castro is very engaging, very energetic."
Rep. Laura Richardson: "He looked right into my eyes and said, 'How can we help you? How can we help President Obama?'"
Rep. Bobby Rush: "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."
"He drank water, we drank water, nothing else was served, but that was just fine! I was, after all, in the presence of history."
"In my household, I told Castro, he is known as the ultimate survivor."
Regarding this last comment, JWR contributor Mona Charen pithily noted: "Funny how easy it is to survive when you don't hold elections."
Charen is a conservative, but when even major liberal editorial pages hold you in contempt, you're in trouble.
The Miami Herald labeled the seven members of the CBC who went to Cuba, "The Clueless Seven"
The Herald's scathing editorial continued: "If only the group had met with even one prisoner of conscience or one of the wives, mothers, daughters or sisters of the 75 independent journalists, librarians and human-rights advocates imprisoned in Cuba's 'Black Spring' of 2003. … Or the seven could have traveled three hours from Havana to see the hunger-striking dissidents led by Jorge Luis Garcia 'Antunez' Perez in Placetas. Or they could have asked to see Oscar Elias Biscet, a doctor serving 25 years in prison for following the peaceful resistance of Martin Luther King Jr. … Or what of the mothers of three young men who were tried in a day and killed the next by firing squad in 2003 for trying to hijack a ferry from Havana Harbor? No passenger was hurt, but that didn't stop the Cuban government from sending a swift and terrifying message to the country's Afro-Cuban masses."
And as the Washington Post, another major liberal newspaper, editorialized: (Rep. Barbara Lee said that) "'Cubans do want dialogue. They do want talks.' Funny, then, that in five days on the island the Congress members found no time for dialogue with Afro-Cuban dissident Jorge Luis Garcia Perez. … Mr. Garcia, better known as 'Antunez,' is a renowned advocate of human rights who has often been singled out for harsh treatment because of his color. 'The authorities in my country,' he has said, 'have never tolerated that a black person (could dare to) oppose the regime.' His wife, Iris, is a founder of the Rosa Parks Women's Civil Rights Movement, named after an American hero whom Afro-Cubans try to emulate. The couple have been on a hunger strike since Feb. 17, to demand justice for an imprisoned family member."
Apparently, it is black Americans that the CBC cares about, not black Cubans. And the CBC calls itself "the conscience of the Congress since 1971"!
Before the CBC further embarrasses the civil rights movement, black America, the Democratic Party, and the United States of America, it should consider disbanding.
There was never a good reason for any members of Congress to create a group whose sole criterion for membership was race (or ethnicity in the case of the Congessional Hispanic Caucus). The CBC is so color-based that even congressmen representing majority-black districts who are not themselves black (such as Rep. Stephen Cohen, D-Tenn.), who applied for membership) are not allowed to be members. Such a group, if it existed anywhere else in America, would properly be declared racist and would be either legally or morally forced to shut down.
But this trip to a communist dictatorship where they ignored the oppression of black and other Cubans and served as useful fools for a tyranny ought to be the last straw.