Ilhan Omar and Pramila Jayapal Take Secret Trip to Cuba

( – Two far-left congresswomen have made a secretive visit to Cuba, one of the world’s few surviving communist states. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) quietly visited the Caribbean island last month to discuss normalizing relations. By a strange coincidence, they visited at the same time as a senior Russian cabinet member.

Congresswomen Lead Far-Left Delegation

On February 27, the Miami Herald reported that Omar and Jayapal had led a delegation of around a dozen people to Cuba sometime between February 19 and February 23, while the House was in recess. The congresswomen, who are both members of the extreme-left group known as “the Squad,” didn’t announce the trip in advance.

Unusually, it also wasn’t reported in Cuba’s state-controlled media, which usually gives a high profile to visits by foreign socialist politicians. However, when the Herald asked the US Congressional Progressive Caucus, it confirmed the visit had taken place.

Cuba has been under US sanctions for more than 60 years and is currently on the federal government’s list of countries that sponsor terrorism. Omar and Jayapal are both strong critics of the US position and advocate normalizing relations, despite Cuba being a one-party state with an appalling human rights record and a long history of sending military support to communist rebels around the world.

Official US contacts with Cuba are usually restricted to discussions of immigration and security issues, but Omar and Jayapal’s group — which also included a staffer for Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) — met Cuban regime officials to talk about “the US-Cuba bilateral relationship.”

The “progressive” delegation was in Cuba at the same time as Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, who visited the island as part of a Latin American tour. Cuba was a Soviet client state between the 1959 revolution that brought Castro’s communist regime into power and the collapse of the USSR in 1991. Since Vladimir Putin became president of Russia in 2000, relations between the countries have returned to their Soviet-era closeness, and Cuba is now a firm Russian ally and backer of Putin’s aggression.

Conservatives Slam Visit

Republican lawmakers weren’t pleased when the visit became public. Representative Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) said the Progressive Caucus should be called “the Congressional Communist Sympathizing Caucus” and said Omar and Jayapal’s trip was “outrageous.” Representative Carlos Giminez (R-FL), who was born in Cuba before the revolution, accused them of appeasing the communist regime, while Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), whose parents were Cuban, blasted the “Pro-Hamas members of the Marxist congressional squad.”

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