AFP is reporting that Fidel Castro's niece, Mariela Castro, "hailed" President Obama for supporting gay marriage and the loosening of US-Cuba travel restrictions.
Speaking at a gay-rights conference in California, she also called the largely Republican Cuban-American community "a small group of delinquents."
"I would vote for President Obama," she said. "I think he's sincere and speaks from the heart."
AFP noted that her trip has been denounced by "opposition Republicans," but it totally failed to mention that Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Broward congresswoman, and Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (the only statewide elected Democrat) also opposed the granting of her visa.
Nelson specifically raised the issue of a wrongfully jailed American in Cuba.
"Allowing Raul’s daughter to come to the U.S. when the regime still holds Alan Gross makes no sense," Nelson said.
Castro apparently never mentioned Gross. But, according to an AP article, she made sure to give lecture about "justice and social equality."
Really. She said that. While Gross rots in jail.
"If we don't change our patriarchal and homophobic culture...we cannot advance as a new society, and that's what we want, the power of emancipation through socialism," she said . "We will establish relationships on the basis of social justice and social equality...It seems like a Utopia, but we can change it."
Nor, apparently, did she say that her uncle, with the support of her dad, rounded up gays during the AIDS crisis and had them sequestered in homosexual shtetls. Also, during the 1980 Cuban boatlift, Fidel Castro kicked gays out of Cuba, labeling them as "undesirables." (Old Miami Herald story in text file here)
It's unclear if reporters got near her. If so, hopefully someone asked her to square the contradiction of the scion and supporter of a dictator lecturing in the U.S. about equality and justice.
**Update: Republican Mitt Romney's campaign wants Obama's campaign to disavow the endorsement:
“President Obama should disavow the endorsement of the daughter of Cuban dictator Raul Castro. It is galling that an envoy from a Communist regime would come to our country and lecture the American people on who to vote for while the regime refuses to hold free and fair elections and systematically violates the human rights of its people. The decision by the Obama Administration to welcome Mariela Castro to our shores—a decision that has received rightful criticism from both Republicans and Democrats—continues to be an egregious affront to the people of Cuba and those who love freedom everywhere.” – Romney Campaign Adviser Alberto Martinez