April 8th, 2009
06:19 PM ET
5 years ago

Congressman denies Castro's 'racist' claim

Fidel Castro praised the seven Democratic congressional delegates and alleges that one member said that despite President Obama's electoral victory, 'America continues to be racist.'
Fidel Castro praised the seven Democratic congressional delegates and alleges that one member said that despite President Obama's electoral victory, 'America continues to be racist.'

(CNN) - A Missouri congressman is denying former Cuban president Fidel Castro's claim that a member of the fact-finding delegation described the U.S. as "racist."

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat and member of the Congressional Black Caucus, is one of the seven lawmakers who visited the island nation on a congressional delegation. Members of the CBC met with President Raul Castro and three of which met with brother, Fidel, at the home of the Cuban revolutionary leader.

In a statement released by the Cuban government, Fidel Castro praised the seven Democratic congressional delegates and alleges that one member said that despite President Obama's electoral victory, "America continues to be racist." The former Cuban president would not disclose the name of the delegate who allegedly made such statement.

Cleaver denied such a comment was ever made at a news conference following the delegation's return Tuesday night.

"That did not happen," Cleaver said

Rep. Barbara Lee, chairwoman of the CBC who led the delegation to Cuba, said she did "not have any comment with regard to that. I am not privy to anyone saying that in any meaning. I don't remember that."

Cuban-American Republican lawmakers blasted the CBC members' visits with Raul and Fidel Castro.

"Regardless of one's position on US Cuba policy, one would expect that any US official or Member of Congress visiting Cuba would have the courage to meet with members of Cuba's struggling independent civil society and raise concerns about the regime's systematic violation of human rights with Cuban officials," Florida Sen. Mel Martinez said in a statement issued Wednesday.

"To meet with the Castro brothers and not bring up the subject of their appalling human rights abuses is a shameful missed opportunity," Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen also said in a statement.


Filed under: Congressional Black Caucus • Cuba • Mel Martinez
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Peter

    I believe that this may be blown out of context, but Castro wouldnt really lie I bet

    April 8, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  2. dumbocrat alert

    i know racism when i see it and i see the members of the black caucus.

    April 8, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  3. The Broker.

    But they are: Racist's. To recognise the other genre, is Democracy.
    What is hypocracy? CNN, and their sudden love for Obama.

    April 8, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  4. ppeterson

    Hmm...... Democrats bad-mouthing our great country to a brutal dictator. Business as usuall for the far left in our congress.

    April 8, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  5. Jon in CA

    Gee, isn't the "Congressional Black Caucus" a race-based group designed to promote BLACK causes??

    Noooooo way would Barbara Lee or any of the CBC suggest America is racist!!

    (eyes rolling)

    So either Castro is lying or members of the CBC. Either way – NEITHER deserve to be trusted.

    April 8, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  6. James

    DOES ANYBODY REAL CARE WHAT A COMMUNIST DICTATOR LIKE CASTRO THINKS???

    April 8, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  7. JonDie

    Of course, Castro is right if he did say that many Americans are racists...because many of us are racists, especially in the GOP.

    April 8, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  8. pam Eugene OR

    We are still a nation with a lot of racists. It is a fair statement whether the CBS said it or not. You just have to read some of the comments on this blog to see how racist some of us are.

    April 8, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  9. Len in Washington

    The "Old Guard" in Florida needs to just "give it up."

    It's WAY past time to do something different than rely on emotions from 50 years ago. It doesn't do anything to the Castro brothers but it hurts the hell out of regular people.

    Release Cuba from it's Dictatorship by winning it's citizens over first.

    April 8, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "To meet with the Castro brothers and not bring up the subject of their appalling human rights abuses is a shameful missed opportunity," Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen also said in a statement.

    Let's play that out, shall we:

    Fidel: Welcome, nice to meet you. I am glad to have this opportunity to meet with you and hopeful we can get the embargo lifted before my time comes.

    Congressperson: You two are human rights abusers of the worst kind and should be ashamed of yourselves.

    Fidel: Well, it's getting late...I should be heading to bed now. My guards will escort you to the airport and make sure you get on your plane...tonight.

    Super effective 5 minute meeting!!!

    April 8, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  11. taylor68

    I don't see how anyone with their eyes open could, in good conscience, deny that our country continues to exhibit racism. Maybe less overt, but its their.

    We have a vocal Right wing that is against anybody and anything that does not believe in exactly what they believe in. They exhibit prejudice against people of other countries, races, religions, and even economic theories. You can't even part your hair on the left anymore without Newt making a crass comment and all the "news" casters running for an interview.

    This is getting unbelievable. I'm hoping its just because we just see more because of the 24/7 availability... but I don't think so.

    April 8, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  12. Kim-SC

    Well, well, get in bed with DOGS and you get FLEAS! The Castro brothers are nothing but trouble and that is what the "black caucaus" gets for going to talk with them...hahaha. Was it said? Probably, nothing they do in the name of furthing their cause shocks me, the thing is they really believe they can say whatever they want about America and somehow these DICTATORS will take their side. Little tip they do not care about Americans PERIOD.

    What a bunch of idiots, did the American taxpayer pay for you to go to Cuba and call us racists in front of a bunch of dictators? Like I don't know the answer to that question already. Iran is next I am sure!

    April 8, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |