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And we are getting brand new details on the meeting between members of the United States congress and the Castro Brothers.
A delegation of three lawmakers from the congressional black caucus traveling to Cuba to meet with Fidel -- Raul Castro.
They say it's time to turn the page as President Obama signifies a shift in US Cuba relations.
Democratic congresswoman from California Laura Richardson is a member of the congressional black hawks and Homeland Security committee.
She was one of the three members to meet with Fidel Castro she joins us right now thank you for joining us congresswoman.
Thank you -- begin with the why why did you feel it necessary to travel to Cuba.
And then of course the surprise of meeting with the Fidel -- Well first prize she said I'm a member of the transportation committee and the Homeland Security committee.
Under my jurisdiction is the Coast Guard where we -- -- migration issues.
And on TNI a we have a drop in trade of over 15%.
So having the trade embargo and having the ability to trade with the neighboring country of eleven million people is an important discussion.
Now I assure you were not expected to meet with Fidel Castro but when you did of course he is a man -- -- in his eighties.
We know that he has been -- health were you surprised by his.
His ability to come -- actually talk to you hold a conversation to be very -- Oh no not at all in fact you know I'm kind of calling it the one of three and you know and in the meeting with Fidel.
We were meeting with president Raul Castro and after a very successful over four hour meeting I asked the question is it possible for -- to meet with president Fidel.
And within an hour or so he made the arrangements and we met with -- Fidel and his lovely wife.
-- about twelve hours later.
You know what was interesting of all the stories you hear president former president Fidel.
We walked into his home he was standing he greeted us he took pictures with us and we had over a two hour meeting.
He knew my name he knew my district he knew about you know the potential -- Impacts of you know the iceberg situation with my area I mean he was completely brief prepared and -- into a very long discussion.
About you know his remembrances of America.
Where we've kind of come and some of his interest in American politics today.
What's -- was very charming as a host but what about the people of Cuba do you have any concerns about the fact that.
Some of their human rights of violations have that have gone on there in Cuba how we assist them in the future.
We know what was particularly interesting about our trip was.
We have an opportunity to go throughout Cuba for five days.
And so I experience the freedom to travel there were no police you know following us around typically with congressional delegations.
Usually there are several police cars and a lot of involvement.
No police cars following us we went to two church services.
There was no.
You know police -- the doors saying you can't have the freedom to worship.
One of the church's there was a female pastor.
On and then also we had the freedom of speech there -- press conferences.
Every single morning.
There was no.
No demonstration of force or anger or dissidents at all.
And so what I walked away with and I think many members of congress walked away with -- is that -- but you know with its own independent nation is working through it's issues as every country is working through its issues.
But we experienced and -- very un on an across the board bases for five days.
A tremendous amount of freedom.
Congresswoman opted to rupture but I'm running out of time here based on your findings where -- -- to accomplish with the Obama administration.
In terms of its future relationships with Cuba.
I think what we played a -- is helping President Obama did do exactly what he says he intends upon doing.
Turning the page we can talk about what happened fifty years ago -- we can talk about what's happening today.
And President Obama has expressed an interest to relieve the travel band and we intend upon giving him a report of all the things we learned.
And actually working with him to do that having a fifty year old embargo is not helping America every other country is working with Cuba except us and that should change.
Congresswoman Laura Richardson thanks for sharing that with us today.
Thank you for having --
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