If U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) did not want to get used as propaganda tools during their trip to Havana last weekend -- they failed miserably.
But that's what happens when you let U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) lead you down the primrose path.
Collins came back smitten from her trip, where they met with endless Castro regime officials -- but couldn't spare a second for Cuba's courageous dissident leaders.
Surely, Flake warned them that if they met with dissidents, their Castro regime hosts would get upset and cancel their meetings -- so they obliged.
Just imagine what the world would be like if Congressional leaders did the same to Havel, Walesa, Suu Kyi, Sakharov and Mandela during their darkest hours.
Some did and history looks back at them shamefully.
Collins was so impressed by her Castro interlocutors that she posted a picture with them. And, of course, she's probably unaware of the background of some of these apparatchiks.
On the far right (picture below) is Gustavo Machin Gomez, a Cuban spy who was declared persona non grata and expelled from the United States in 2002.
On April 14th, 2000, Machin was one of nearly two dozen Cuban "diplomats" that violently assaulted a small group of peaceful demonstrators outside the Cuban Interests Section (CUBINT) on 16th Street in Washington, D.C.
Machin was expelled from the U.S. in November 2002, pursuant to the Ana Belen Montes case. Montes, a former Defense Intelligence Agency official, was convicted in U.S. federal court for serving as a Cuban agent -- the highest level spy ever caught at the Pentagon.
He would later become Cuba’s Ambassador to Pakistan, where he is believed to have targeted U.S. counterterrorism operations in the region.
Collins was also impressed that the lead Castro regime negotiator with the U.S. is a woman, Josefina Vidal (center).
Of course, she's probably unaware that in May 2003, the U.S. declared 14 other Cuban "diplomats" as persona non grata and expelled them for espionage. This was due to the Castro regime providing Iraqi intelligence with information on U.S. troop movements during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Among the "diplomats" expelled was the First Secretary of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C., Jose Anselmo Lopez Perera. His wife, Josefina Vidal, also known to the U.S. as a Cuban intelligence officer, accompanied her expelled spouse back to Cuba.
Yet, unfortunately, Collins was less impressed (or simply unaware) that while she visited Havana last Sunday, 68 members of The Ladies in White were violently beaten and arrested by their hosts.
The Ladies in White are a courageous pro-democracy group composed of the wives, daughters, sisters, mothers and other relatives of Cuban political prisoners.
It would have been a great act of solidarity for the Flake-Collins-Roberts delegation to meet with the leader of The Ladies in White, Berta Soler, in Havana.
But, again, they chose not to.
Of course, Flake knows all of this -- that's why he's just smirking.
at 10:45 PM Sunday, June 21, 2015
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