Ilhan Omar, Pramila Jayapal Make Secret Trip to Cuba

Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MI) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) listen as Speaker of the House Nancy Pe
Joshua Roberts/Getty

The Miami Herald revealed this week that Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) traveled to communist Cuba at an unspecified time in February – a visit the Cuban government has yet to discuss and the lawmakers did not publicize.

The Congresswomen reportedly met with Castro regime officials as part of a secret delegation representing the “Congressional Progressive Caucus,” the Herald observed. In addition to the two lawmakers, a representative from the office of Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) also reportedly attended.

Following the publication of its report on Tuesday, the caucus issued a statement confirming the visit: “Representatives Jayapal and Omar traveled to Cuba last week, where they met with people from across Cuban civil society and government officials to discuss human rights and the U.S.-Cuba bilateral relationship,” a spokesperson told the newspaper.

The details of the trip remain a mystery at press time. Outside of the statement from the Progressive Caucus, the members of Congress involved have not commented on the matter. The Cuban Communist Party has not at press time addressed the reports of their visit, nor has its official state newspaper, GranmaGranma typically publishes effusive propaganda pieces praising any American politicians who lend support to the regime by visiting and treating its criminal leaders with respect, such as Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The Cuban External Relations Ministry (MINREX) last confirmed a visit by American officials on Wednesday, informing that American diplomat Kerri Hannan held meetings in Havana with regime henchmen.

No “civil society” organizations have at press time corroborated the Congressional Progressive Caucus claim that Reps. Jayapal and Omar met with “Cuban civil society” to discuss “human rights.” The concept of a free “civil society” in Cuba is illegal, as the Communist Party severely represses the operation of groups such as the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), believed to be the country’s largest dissident organization. The head of UNPACU, José Daniel Ferrer, was arrested on July 11, 2021, during a wave of anti-communist protests in which an estimated 187,000 participated nationwide. As of Wednesday, the human rights group Amnesty International reported that Ferrer has been missing for three months, as the regime will not allow his family to visit him or tell them his whereabouts.

Cuban opposition leader Jose Daniel Ferrer speaks during a press conference to present the ��Towards a national project, the minimum program�� in Havana on May 12, 2016. / AFP / YAMIL LAGE (Photo credit should read YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images)

Cuban opposition leader Jose Daniel Ferrer speaks during a press conference to present the “Towards a national project, the minimum program” in Havana on May 12, 2016. (YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images)

Other civil society groups have faced similar fates. The Ladies in White – an organization bringing together the mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives of political prisoners – faces routine weekly arrests featuring outsized police brutality for attempting to go to Catholic Mass to pray for their families. The leaders of the Free Yorubas of Cuba, an organization for anti-communist adherents of the Nigerian-origin santería religion, are facing severe health complications after languishing for years in prison. Artist collectives, journalists, and other active participants in civil society face similar repression and are highly unlikely to receive an audience with American members of Congress.

The presence of the radical leftist congresswomen in Cuba occurred in the same week that Havana hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who stopped in the island nation to launch a regional tour that also included visits to fellow rogue states Venezuela and Nicaragua. Figurehead Cuban “president” Miguel Díaz-Canel said in a public statement on his meeting with Lavrov that he offered the top Russian diplomat “an affectionate greeting for President Vladimir Putin” and the two discussed “making bilateral relations more dynamic on topics of common interest and regarding relevant matters on the international agenda.”

Lavrov, in turn, demanded that the United States remove Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. The list, maintained by the State Department, also includes Iran, Syria, and North Korea. The Castro regime appears on the list as a result of its close ties to the narco-terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), including the hosting of its top terrorist leaders, its policy of offering safe harbor to radical leftist terrorists who conduct attacks on United States soil, and its close relations with Iran – the world’s premier state sponsor of terrorism – and its terrorist proxies such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

Lavrov called declaring Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism an “absurdity.”

In January, Rep. Jayapal made the same case, demanding the administration of fellow leftist President Joe Biden remove Cuba from the list.

“Being on this list has made it nearly impossible for Cuba to do international business, driving an economic downturn that has led residents to flee the country,” Rep. Jayapal demanded, according to the Herald. “It’s time to re-engage with Cuba.”

In reality, the “economic downturn” that has “led residents to flee the country” is a result of over half a century of communist plunder, brute mismanagement, and environmental decay. Dissidents have documented instances of the Castro regime rationing out rotten food to its impoverished citizens while hosting lavish feasts for well-connected foreigners. To help citizens through their poverty, the Castro regime has suggested they ingest rodent meat and cockroach milk.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.