They said Cuban Americans were easily fooled by “misinformation.” We were plain idiots for believing a Biden administration would bring in supporters and defenders of Cuba’s socialist dictatorship. Yeah, we’re the idiots. . .
Becerra Declined to Bring Humanitarian Aid on 1996 Cuba Trip
President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Health and Human Services Department rejected a request from a top human-rights group to bring humanitarian aid to Cuba on his 1996 trip to meet with dictator Fidel Castro.
Before Xavier Becerra’s trip as part of a “fact-finding” congressional delegation to Cuba, the former California lawmaker was asked by Freedom House to bring an aid package including medicine and coloring books for the Cuban people. Becerra refused, according to a December 1996 column by journalist and author Robert Novak.
“The materials they were asked to distribute contained no anti-Castro propaganda but publications as inoffensive as a Christian coloring book for children,” Novak wrote in reference to Becerra and a Democratic colleague set to join him on the trip. “The congressmen themselves did not respond to repeated requests by this column to explain their decision, and their aides said they had no answer.”
Becerra, now California’s attorney general, did not respond to a request for comment on Freedom House’s requests to supply aid to the communist island. Freedom House said it could not provide any record of the specific ask for Becerra’s help but did confirm that the organization ran a program where it used people from outside the organization to bring supplies into Cuba.
Becerra’s trip to Cuba included a four-hour dinner with Castro, according to a report in the Miami Herald. Though Becerra said the trip was professional “fact-finding,” he took steps to get special permission by the Treasury Department for his wife and children to join the delegation.
Becerra’s Cuba trip was organized by Alicia Torres, a longtime pro-Castro activist. He was joined by his fellow California Democrat, Esteban Torres. The pro-Castro junket came as the United States was levying renewed sanctions on Cuba; it left its mark on Rep. Torres, who told the Herald upon return that he “just didn’t see” any evidence of Castro’s human-rights abuses while on the island.
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