The Congressional Fact- Finding visit to Cuba led by William Delahunt (D) and Jeff Flake (R) is now a telenovela.
In Previous Episodes:
The Congressman, who are critical of the administration’s Cuba policy and the series of ecomomic sanctions referred to as the “embargo”, asked the GOA to audit the USAID program to materially assist dissidents in Cuba. Once the report was made public, ridicule of the program and the about how the grant dollars were spent, mostly Cuban by exile organizations, ensued.
Among the items purchased with taxpayer’s dollars were gameboy video games which raised the ever cocked eyebrow of the Miami-Herald. The father of one of the gameboy recipients then wrote an article about the gift his son received which was published in the Nuevo Herald. I translated the letter here.
Next, Delahunt and Flake, along with eight colleagues, flew to Havana to explore ecomomic ties with the new dictator who in a speech on Dec 2, 2006 had offered to negotiate with the US as equals.. The Cuban dissidents who had been receiving the aid, asked to meet with the congressman while they were in Havana, but couldn’t.
The day before the delegation got to Havana, the Cuban regime went on the offensive and using the GOA report labeled the Cuban dissidents as US paid mercenaries.
While in Havana, Raul did not meet with the delegation and they were used to repeat the party line that Fidel Castro was not terminally ill and would eventually return to being dictator.
After the delegation left Havana, the Cuban dissidents felt that they had been left out of the meetings because the congressmen believed that they would stand a better chance of meeting with Raul Castro if they didn’t meet with the dissidents. Marta Beatriz Roque, a leading dissident summed the whole affair up succinctly and eloquently by saying that the congressional delegation "had not only left empty-handed, but with dirty hands as well"
The Cuban Regime also warned the US against supporting dissent in Cuba and threatened to “adopt, at any time, the measures it deems necessary for confronting this type of aggression”