US Democrat congressman Bobby Rush speaks during a breefing on April 07, 2009 at National Hotel in Havana, next to (L to R) US Democrats congresspersons Emanuel Cleaver, Marcia Fudge and Mel Watt.

The Congressional Black Caucus visited Cuba yesterday in an effort to convince Congress that they should loosen restrictions on access to and financial aid for the Communist nation. After the propaganda machine was well lubricated on both sides, some interesting quotes emerged:

“A fourth member of the Caucus said that despite Obama’s electoral victory, the American society continues to be racist.” – Statement by Fidel Castro, April 6, 2009

“[Another lawmaker] added that his government should apologize to Cuba for all these years of hostility and for the blockade policy, because only then will we be in the position to move on together towards the solution of the bilateral differendum.” – Statement by Fidel Castro, April 6, 2009

“I got the sense that [Fidel Castro] really wants President Obama to succeed.” – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), April 6, 2009

“He said to us, ‘how can we help President Obama?” – Congresswoman Laura Richardson (D-CA), April 6, 2009

“It was almost like listening to an old friend.” – Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL), April 6, 2009

“[Raul Castro] is one of the most amazing human beings I’ve ever met.” – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), April 6, 2009

Raul Castro is “just the opposite of how he’s being portrayed in the media… I think what really surprised me but also endeared to him was his keen sense of humor, his sense of history and his basic human qualities.” – Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL), April 6, 2009

“Fifty years of foolishness is over. It’s time for the children to sit in the corner and the adults to take over.” – Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL), April 6, 2009 calling Cuban refugees, exiles and supporters of human rights “children.”

“We’ve been led to believe that the Cuban people are not free, and they are repressed by a vicious dictator, and I saw nothing to match what we’ve been told.”- Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL), April 6, 2009

“Certainly the Clueless Seven, led by Rep. Barbara Lee of California, didn’t make a fuss about 50 years of the Castro brothers’ rule, the human rights violations or the escalating and disproportionate number of black Cubans held behind bars.” – Miami Herald Opinion, April 7, 2009

Feel free to share your stories, thoughts and anecdotes of “freedom” and liberty in Cuba in the comments section below.