Rush: Castro like “an old friend”

Opening up diplomatic dialogue with Cuba is one thing, this is another: “It was almost like listening to an old friend,” said Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Il.) [after meeting with Fidel Castro], 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 ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
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586968_090408_rush2.jpg
US Democrat congressman Bobby Rush speaks during a briefing on April 07, 2009 at National Hotel in Havana, next to (L to R) US Democrats congresspersons Emanuel Cleaver, Marcia Fudge and Mel Watt. Cuban President Raul Castro told US lawmakers visiting Cuba that he was ready to speak with President Barack Obama's administration on condition of equality and respect, a statement said Tuesday. AFP PHOTO/ADALBERTO ROQUE (Photo credit should read ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)

Opening up diplomatic dialogue with Cuba is one thing, this is another:

Opening up diplomatic dialogue with Cuba is one thing, this is another:

“It was almost like listening to an old friend,” said Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Il.) [after meeting with Fidel Castro], 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.

For the most part, the Congressional Black Caucus’s meeting with Castro seems to have been quite a lovefest. Fidel seems to have gotten a bit creative in his recollection of it, though:

In a statement following the meeting today, Castro said that the delegation had expressed to him that a segment of American society “continues to be racist,” and is at least partly to blame for the travel restrictions.

But the delegation this evening said those remarks were not expressed in the meeting.

“That did not happen,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), told reporters.

Without in any way condoning the embargo or the diplomatic isolation of Cuba, the CBC’s visit seems to have been about the worst way to engage the regime — almost a parody of the way Barack Obama’s campaign pledges of reaching out to hostile regimes was characterized as appeasement by his opponents. 

ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images

Joshua Keating is a former associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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