Members of progressive House 'Squad' make secretive trip to Cuba

 March 1, 2024

Never afraid to court controversy and spark outrage, two members of the progressive House “Squad” traveled to Cuba last week while the lower chamber was in recess, as The Hill reported, and the backlash they have since received has been significant.

The contingent making the trip included Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and deputy chair Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and a small cadre of others.

Citing a report that first appeared in the Miami Herald, The Hill said that the congresswomen held meetings with individuals hailing from “across Cuban civil society” as well as with “government officials.”

The purpose of the latter engagements, the lawmakers declared through their caucus spokesperson, was to “discuss human rights and the U.S.-Cuba bilateral relationship.

As The Hill noted, both far-left legislators have long criticized America's economic embargo of Cuba ad have urged normalization of relations with the country.

Back in 2021, both women were part of a group of 40 Democrats who voted in opposition to a resolution in support of protestors against the Cuban government, a move indicative of their stance on relations with the island nation.

As the Washington Examiner noted, the same year that the congresswoman took that particular stand, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) took direct aim at their actions, declaring their position to be on the “wrong side of history.”

Of particular note this week was the fact that the delegation's travels did not receive any coverage from Cuban state media, something which the Herald described as unusual.

It was not long before the Democrats' foray into Cuba prompted harsh responses from a number of their fellow lawmakers, with Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) stating emphatically that Cuba “must remain on the List of State Sponsors of Terrorism,” regardless of what the congresswomen might argue.

Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL) weighed in as well, saying that it was “no surprise that the Hamas Caucus made a pilgrimage to Cuba last week to get a refresher course on communism to bring back to DC.”

Perhaps the most cutting critic of the trip was Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), herself the daughter of a Cuban exile from Fidel Castro's time in power.

During an appearance on Fox & Friends, Malliotakis did not hold back, saying, “These are anti-American members of Congress, okay? They are communist sympathizers, and they go to Cuba, which is not only a state sponsor of terrorism, but they side with our adversaries. They are in bed with Iran, North Korea, communist, China, Russia.”

She added that “it's unconscionable that these members of Congress would go there trying to appease the government of Cuba. And then they go under the guise of wanting to do something about human rights. Do they know that the people in Cuba, including my relatives, earn about $15 a month, $15 a month?”

Whether there will be additional repercussions for the far-left lawmakers after they took it upon themselves to conduct this arguably ill-advised expedition, only time will tell.