Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who has always been a supporter of Communists around the world, can chortle now that her decades-old campaign to thaw relations with Cuba has become a reality.
Lee has visited the island 21 times, starting in 1977, when she joined the National Conference of Black Lawyers to query natives about the judicial system and race relations. By the time she visited Fidel Castro in 2009, he wrote a memo, which Lee gave to the San Francisco Chronicle, extolling her “political courage.” Castro lauded her in the memo for “the sole vote against Bush’s genocidal war in Iraq” in the House. “It was unbeatable proof of political courage,” he continued. “For that, she deserves every honor.”
There were other reasons Castro admired Lee, of course, including her aid in forcing 6-year-old Elian Gonzales back to Cuba after he and his mother attempted to flee to Florida. His mother died in the attempt; Gonzales, found in an innertube off the Florida coast, was returned to his father in Cuba.
Between 2009 and 2014, Lee saw Alan Gross, an American who had been imprisoned, five times. Gross was released as part of Barack Obama’s deal to open relations with Cuba. Lee boasted, “I took it as a mission to get him out. It was important to move all the obstacles to normalize — and this was an obstacle. I knew what I had to do. And we never lost hope.”
The Chronicle reports that despite the Cuban regime’s record of suppression of human rights, Lee defended her push for opening relations by asserting, “I’ve met with the leaders of the human rights movement there. I’m not carrying the Cuban flag.”
As Discover the Networks has charted, Lee’s record of defending extremists and aiding communist regimes goes back 40 years. In 1973, Lee worked for Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale’s campaign for mayor of Oakland and as an aide to Panther “minister of defense,” Huey Newton.
In 1980, Lee alerted the Communist leader of Grenada, Maurice Bishop, that there was a possible anti-communist spy among them. In 1982, she worked with Congressman Ronald Dellums, who was supposed to inform the U.S. government whether a Grenadan airport built by advisors from the Soviet bloc that featured extra-long runways for possible use by Soviet military planes could threaten the U.S. Lee helped spirit Dellums’ report to Bishop, so he could alter it before President Reagan or Congress could take a look at it.
Lee followed that by joining Angela Davis to facilitate a trio to the United States by Grenada’s deputy United Nations ambassador Ian Jacobs, to “counter attack President Reagan’s verbal attack on Grenada.”
Lee served as an executive board member of the U.S. Peace Council, which was dominated by the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). She later joined Davis to help run the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, a splinter group from the CPUSA.
In June,2002, Lee and thirty other radicals in Congress sued to prevent President George W. Bush from withdrawing the U.S. from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. She heavily supported Van Jones to be the Obama administration’s “green jobs czar” in 2009.
In early 2010, Lee was part of a group that asked Barack Obama to end Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which had been instituted to prevent the flow of arms to Hamas. In 2012, Lee helped host an event titled, “Leading with Love,” which celebrated the five-year anniversary of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, a Marxist-inspired group. In November 2013, she was supposed to meet with Abdul Rahman Naimi, president and founder of the NGO Al Karama, but he had visa trouble. In December, 2013, the U.S. Treasury Department designated him as a global terrorist who helped finance al Qaeda.