April 7th, 2009
06:30 PM ET
5 years ago

Fidel Castro meets with CBC members

(CNN) – Three members of the Congressional Black Caucus met with Fidel Castro Tuesday in Cuba, marking the first time the former Cuban president has met with US leaders since in 2006.

A delegation of congressional Democrats, led by Barbara Lee of California, arrived in Cuba last week to discuss bilateral relations with and review new policies regarding trade and commerce between the US and island nation. The group of seven includes members of the CBS, Reps. Mel Watt of North Carolina, Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, Marcia Fudge of Ohio, Bobby Rush of Illinois, and Laura Richardson on California, and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus member Mike Honda of California.

President Raul Castro, brother of Fidel, held talks with the six Congressional Black Caucus members of the delegation Monday in Havana.

The trip follows the introduction of a bill last week by a bipartisan group of senators to lift the travel ban on Cuba, maintaining the end of the travel restriction would advance democracy, promote human rights, and benefit US agriculture and small business groups. If passed, The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act would allow US citizens to travel freely to nation for the first time since 1962.

Cuban-born Republican Sen. Mel Martinez opposes the legislation, arguing that opening the communist-led island for tourist travel would perpetuate the repression of the "Castro regime."

But new changes to US Cuba travel policy could be coming soon. White House Adviser Jeffrey Davidson said Monday he would not be surprised if the Obama administration announced the easing of restrictions to the island before the Summit of the Americas on April 17. The move would fulfill a campaign promise by the then-presidential candidate to ease Cuban-American travel restrictions.

President Castro has said he is open to talks with the Obama administration.

Listen: CNN Radio on the new move in Congress to change U.S. relations with Cuba


Filed under: Cuba • President Obama
soundoff (175 Responses)
  1. Leah, Vancouver, BC

    Strange how so many people all on this blog have never been to Cuba spouting off like experts. Imagine the republicans who still believe America is still a superpower being afraid of such a little island.

    Most Canadians hope you don't lift the embargo as over two million of us go there a year and it is pleasant to meet and talk with Canadians from all over our country. Wonderful people, increased economic interest from around the world, amazing beaches....food not so great...

    April 7, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  2. Sb

    Will Castro stop Bloomberg and the MTA from increasing fares !!

    April 7, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  3. MESA MICK

    It's about time.
    A 48-year old foreign policy that hasn't worked – in fact has failed – should be lifted on general principles if nothing else.
    As for the FL Latino-repuglicon opposition – Deal with it, the revolution has been over for decades and you ain't gonna get any more votes from the new generation of Cuban-AMERICANS by ranting and raving about how bad Castro's Cuba is...

    April 7, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  4. alvino

    We were attacked by Japan in1941, but now, everyone in America seems to like driving Toyotas and Hondas, so I think maybe it is time to end the embargo with Cuba.

    April 7, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  5. Jasmine in Germany

    I believe Presient Obama will reestablish communications and negotiations with Cuba, which in turn, will honor Cuba with a viable place on the map, once again.

    April 7, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  6. phoenix

    It will be in America best interest to lift the embargo against Cuba. It's time to move America/Cuba relationship forward. Great job Congressional Black Caucus.

    April 7, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  7. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Where is the report on the fact that a member of this Congressional delegation, all Black Caucus members, is quoted by Castro as saying the US is a racist nation?

    April 7, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  8. Bradley from CA

    @Lucy April 7th, 2009 3:57 pm ET

    Imagine. Obama said "And together we can change the world". The only other candidate I would have voted for is Fidel Castro himself. Imagine. Free health care, Free education. If you can keep people healthy and educated, you can't control them.
    _______________________________________________________

    Free health care and free education doesn't necessarily mean healthy and educated people.

    April 7, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  9. Veronica

    I never could understand how this country could do business with other communist countries, yet, Cuba was always treated as the bastard child.

    Needless to say, lifting the useless embargo is long overdue.

    April 7, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  10. GuyInVA

    Who better to meet with the Castros than Bobby Rush? "Viva La Revolucion", right?

    April 7, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  11. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    The Cuban Government is as trustworthy as North Korea, China, Russia, Iran, and Vennezuala. Another photo-op for these democrats who think Cuba is great like their Hollywwod pals.

    April 7, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  12. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    Only a Liberal would like to go to a country where the government charges Union Wages fro the peoples labor and gives the worker $20.00 a month to live on.

    April 7, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  13. JonDie

    It's about time.

    April 7, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  14. Jamela

    I think this is a great thing that they are discussing to lift the band on going to Cuba even if they do not pass the Bill. This ban is unfair to the people of Cuba who live there or want to to travel to the US but they do not want to deal with the troubles of getting back home. This is also unfair to those whom have family there and they want to visit them so this would be a great accomplishment if they pass it.

    April 7, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  15. JB in WI

    Great idea I think. How much tax can we get from a Cuban cigar

    April 7, 2009 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  16. Carla

    Personally I feel the embargo should have been lifted long ago/however it is amusing to read the posts on here from people who think that by doing so we are going to convert Fidel Castro to turn his thinking around/though he may be old and almost gone his hold through his brother and others is still there. make no mistake this is a communist country you are dealing with and you will see only what the government there wants you to see/Havana is beautiful go visit and spend your money but do not be fooled for a moment that any of this money will go to the people who live there/Dr's and taxi drivers can make the same and while education is free jobs after are hard to find/they have free health care but people still die because the medications they need are not available.

    April 7, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  17. mb-texas

    Travel to Cuba is wrong and against the law.But travel to communist China is ok.Trade with China is what keeps China going.Time
    to be a good neighbor and open up Cuba travel and trade beyond what is allowed now.

    April 7, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  18. Willy Brown

    One big socialist party

    April 7, 2009 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  19. Melvin

    Thanks,

    I will love to go to Cuba someday

    Mel Martinez needs to take an earlly retirement; he is one of the few standing from the Bush scum!!

    I bet he will doo doo on his pants if he mets Castro

    April 7, 2009 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  20. S Callahan

    I would love to travel to Cuba...some of the best artists in the world reside there....beautiful music.....

    A long time friend of mine had to 'escape' from Cuba nearly 50 yrs ago when he was a child with his immediate family...becuase of the situation he was denied knowing his relatives....this would be so healing for him.

    April 7, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  21. Barbara - Atlanta

    Way to go CBC! This is definitely a start.

    April 7, 2009 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  22. Obama-NOPE

    Friends of a feather flock together.

    April 7, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  23. MAC, Hollywood, California

    comment by byrd; regarding the godfather, it was not filmed in cuba, was sopposed to be cuba, but filmed in the Dominican Republic, so those beautiful scene your saw in the movie the godfather that was in Santo Domingo. which by the way has better cigars and very sweet women, who use cuban men!

    April 7, 2009 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  24. S.M.R.

    Things are looking up for our GREAT NATION. :)

    April 7, 2009 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  25. Ray

    I CAN'T BELIEVE HOW STUPID SOME OF YOU PEOPLE ARE EVERY ISSUE IS THE FAULT OF THE RIGHT SO STUPID AND I LOVE ALL YOU RUSH HATERS BY THE WAY HOW'S RACHEL MADCOWS RATINGS DOING? THIS OBVIOUSLY IS A VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE TO THIS ADMINISTRATION AFTER ALL HE DID SEND THE BLACK CAUCUS DOWN THERE AND BY THE WAY NO OUTRAGE FROM ACORN OVER THE 200 PLUS MILLION IN BONUSES FOR FANNIE MAE NOT EVEN A STORY ON IT GOOD JOB CNN

    April 8, 2009 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.