Cozying up to Cuba
12:31 PM, FEB 25, 2015 • BY JUDITH AYERS
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and eight other members of a
congressional delegation that recently headed to Cuba, the Dominican
Republic, and Haiti, spoke positively of the trip at a press conference
on Tuesday. They not only met with government officials in each country,
but they also visited the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba, and
spoke with Cuban members of civil society. "People in the streets were
very enthusiastic," said Pelosi.
Members emphasized that the trip was based on conversations between the
leaders of each respective country. During the discussions, which were
reportedly especially "lively" in Haiti, there were agreements but there
were also disagreements -- especially when it came to discussing human
rights in Cuba.
The ball "is now in the Cuban government's court," said Rep. Eliot
Engel, a New York Democrat. "For us to move forward they need to make
No topic was left untouched in any country, said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a
Democrat from Connecticut. "Conversations were frank" and DeLauro, She
stated that the trip was ultimately a cultural exchange and that she
wanted to lead away from 'failed' policies of the past.
Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts encouraged establishing an embassy in
Cuba and admonished the U.S. to end the embargo. He said that we need to
"show Cuba and the world how a democracy functions, let us have a vote
and a debate."
While all the members of the delegation said that this was a historic
moment, Steve Israel, a New York congressman, said that it was only
"historic only if it leads to change."
But for all the positivity and steps forward, Pelosi did say that the
members of the delegation held "no illusions…it is a Communist country
with a centralized economy." Immediately after, she restated the need to
end the embargo, however, emphasizing that ending it would be mutually
beneficial in many respects.
Pelosi described the trip overall as "productive, it was positive, it
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