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Posted May 27, 2003 by publisher in US Embargo

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By Billy House | Reporter | Arizona Republic

In plotting to snub a Cuban leader, can an Arizona congressman really rub it in by sending his wife to visit the leader, instead?

Apparently, Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and his wife, Cheryl Flake, agree that he can.

In March, Flake had been adamant that he would not be taking time to meet with Fidel Castro during his visit that month to Cuba as part of an eight-member congressional delegation.

“I make it a point not to,” said Flake, sponsor of a bill to lift a ban on Americans traveling to Cuba.

“Why listen to some has-been talk about the wonders of socialism?”

But as it turns out, Cheryl Flake was among a group who did visit with the Cuban leader during that trip. She’s now even written an article about it, headlined “My Evening with Castro: The experience of a lifetime.” (Havana Journal publisher’s note: see above for this article)

“My husband declined, as he had on a previous visit, to meet with Castro but encouraged me to do so hoping that my presence without him might be viewed as even more of a slight,” Cheryl Flake writes.

“It was the experience of a lifetime all right, the longest experience of mine. For over four hours, without a break, Fidel Castro offered nothing but contradictions . . . the evening went on and on, with little input from his guests.”

Speaking of contradictions, the congressman and his wife don’t see any in her visiting with Castro, though Flake himself had made a point of saying he would not do so, spokesman Matthew Specht said.

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