from Pressure Points and Middle East Program

The CODELs That Bowed to Castro

February 20, 2015

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Recently I wrote here about how Secretary of State Kerry absorbed the shouting and screaming of the Iranian negotiator in the nuclear talks, apparently without any objection. But it seems Kerry is not the only U.S. official amenable to being pushed around.

In the last week former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, now the Democratic Leader there, led a congressional delegation or CODEL to Cuba. Needless to say, the delegation met with Cuban dissidents and human rights activists as well as with Communist Party and Cuban government officials, right? Wrong. Not a one.

Why not? The Castro regime didn’t want them to. In fact, it threatened them. Here’s the story, from Capitol Hill Cubans:

Last month, a delegation led by U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) met with a group of dissidents. In response to this encounter, the Castro regime cancelled all subsequent meetings with its officials, including dictator Raul Castro himself.

To ensure such dissident meetings did not become a constant, the Castro regime threatened to put a halt to all Congressional delegations visiting the island -- including Pelosi’s.

The condition for these Congressional trips to resume was that they don’t meet with dissidents -- and Pelosi happily complied.

Last weekend’s delegation, composed of U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Mark Warner (D-VA), also happily complied.

This is shameful. It does of course give the lie to theories (indulged in by the Obama administration, for example) that the new Obama policy would lead to more openness in Cuba. In fact, we now have a situation where more members of Congress want to go there, and do go, but while there they stiff the very people we should be supporting: those peacefully working for freedom. Instead, these solons of the Republic --and let’s again mention Klobuchar, Warner, Flake, McCaskill, and Pelosi--complied with the Communist regime’s demands and did not see ONE single human rights or democracy activist.

Obama policy toward Cuba is bad enough, but these visits are making things even worse by suggesting that our Congress simply has no interest in freedom there. Is it too much to ask that America’s elected representatives refuse to be pushed around by the Castro regime that way? They would be much better off staying home than lending themselves to Castro’s propaganda exercises and official lectures--and surely the people of Cuba would be as well.

Eight years ago Nancy Pelosi visited another dictatorship, that of Bashar al-Assad in Syria (against the advice and desire of the White House). There as in Cuba she lent herself to regime propaganda. I well recall her report to President Bush when she returned from that trip, and she was simply fooled by Assad. Looking at the fire that has consumed 200,000 lives in Syria, one might have thought she’s be twice shy about being burnt by brutal dictatorships. But one would be wrong.

 

 

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