A senior White House aide to President Barack Obama will attend Cuba dictator Fidel Castro’s service, according to the White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
The White House decided against sending an official delegation to represent the United States at Fidel Castro’s memorial, but will allow senior aide Ben Rhodes to attend as an informal symbol of his work to normalize relations with the communist country.
“America sometimes makes itself a prisoner of our own history. We have a very complicated history with Cuba,” Rhodes explained during a discussion of his work for Obama in the Atlantic.
Earnest said that Rhodes had already planned a trip to Cuba this week, and would attend along with Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the Chargé d’Affaires at the newly reopened U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba.
Rhodes’ trip, Earnest explained, would show the appropriate amount of respect for the Cuban people, but without the honor of an official delegation.
Rhodes angered Washington reporters back in May after he dismissed them as being ignorant about foreign policy.
“The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns,” he told the New York Times Magazine. “That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”