- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 19, 2015

Since arriving Tuesday in Havana, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has met with several high-ranking Cuba officials, including Cuban Foreign Ministry Josefina Vidal and National Assembly Vice President Ana Maria Mari Machado.

Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, is leading the first delegation of House members to Cuba since President Obama announced Dec. 17 that he was taking steps to normalize diplomatic relations with the communist island nation, such as easing travel and financial restrictions.

The first bilateral meeting was with Mrs. Machado, Mrs. Pelosi said.

“During the meeting, we exchanged views about the actions taken by President Obama and President Raul Castro. We agreed to continue our interparliamentary dialogue on areas of agreement and disagreement,” she said in a statement.

Mrs. Pelosi and the delegation of Democratic House members spent nearly four hours meeting Wednesday with Mr. Parrilla.

“We discussed areas of interest to the United States and Cuba, and our delegation listened to their concerns, including the embargo, bank and credit financing. We underscored our commitment to human rights in Cuba and agreed to build upon the historic opportunity before us to make progress in our relationship,” Mrs. Pelosi said.

She also has meetings with Roman Catholic Cardinal Jaime Ortega and community leaders. The visit by Mrs. Pelosi’s delegation reflects the easing tensions between the Cold War adversaries. But Cuban President Raul Castro has warned that the relationship cannot completely normalize until Washington lifts the 1962 embargo, which would take an act of Congress.

The delegation included Reps. Eliot Engel, Nydia Velazquez and Steve Israel of New York, Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, Anna Eshoo of California, Jim McGovern of Massachusetts and David Cicilline of Rhode Island.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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