MIAMI ( – Former presidential candidate George McGovern said Thursday that he will board a plane Friday bound for Cuba. McGovern, 88, will be visiting Fidel Castro for the first time in almost 17 years.

McGovern said the trip was to see Castro while the former Cuban is still alive.

“I’ve lost enough friends with regrets that I didn’t go see them while they were still alive, so I want to see him,” McGovern told the Associated Press.

McGovern ran for the presidency as a Democrat in 1972 against Richard Nixon. He lost in one of the most lopsided elections in U.S. history.

McGovern, who has a home in St. Augustine, said he didn’t know what he and Castro would discuss, but said they would probably talk about the U.S.’ nearly 50-year-old embargo against the Caribbean nation.

“It’s a stupid policy,” McGovern said. “There’s no reason why we can’t be friends with the Cubans and vice-versa. A lot of them have relatives in the United States and some Americans have relatives in Cuba, so we should have freedom of travel.”

McGovern pointed to the older guard of Cuban exiles in Miami for keeping the embargo in place for decades. He said the exiles made, “sure that every Congressman knows that Castro is a monster and we shouldn’t have anything to do with him.”

McGovern also pointed out to the massive hypocrisy the U.S. is involved with by dealing communist China, but not communist Cuba.

“We seem to think it’s safe to open the door to a billion communists in China, but for some reason, we’re scared to death of the Cubans,” McGovern said.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (14)
  1. Phil Landers says:

    Castro is an “ex Cuban”? So what is he now? A Venutian I’m guessing?

  2. motumbo says:

    first time I heard from this guy…..could care less

  3. Teacher says:

    Can he convince the Cubans to start speaking the language of the USA (it is called English) while they live here?

    1. xoxoxox says:

      sorry pal….your opinion is old and it’s not gonna cut it anymore… should go and learn Spanish….otherwise move out of Miami…..idiot

      1. rausky79 says:

        Hey xoxoxo I totally agree with you. He is an IDIOTA (IDIOT).

    2. Me says:

      I agree with you. If I moved to another country, I would learn their language before doing so. It’s not only rude, but not very American since America is an English speaking country.

    3. rausky79 says:

      Teacher, what do you teach? You probably teach IGNORANCE,HATRED,and RACISM!! Leave Miami if you don’t like us Latinos. I feel sorry for the children you “teach”! Racist,ignorant people like you make me proud I’m a Latino,and can speak four languages, while you only speak one!!

  4. jr says:

    it’s time for all these Old Friends to go to heaven.
    We have a lot of them still hurting us from the inside.
    Be careful my Dear America of the enemies within.

  5. Proud exile says:

    ” Here ” may be where you are , ” teach ” , but not in Miami-Dade County , this is Territorio Libre de America… Old LOSER George can go and visit fide and they can exchange poop bags if he wants , no one cares , we trampled him in 72 and he cant forget it…

  6. Hater says:

    Castro isn’t the problem. It is the Cubans that run Miami and their cronies that are the problem. This is why Miami-Dade County is in the crapper today. The same thieves, liars, and clandestine self interest groups that ran Cuba prior to Fidel came to Miami and made billions on the back of the American tax payers. They don’t want the embargo lifted the truth of who they really are might be made public. The biggest corruption in the world happens in Miami-Dade County Politics. Oh! They also hate Governor Rick Scott for taking away a billion dollars from Medicare of which they cannot steal through bogus clinics like Leon Medical Center & CAC Ramsey and all those mini-bus driving collecting the elderly buses you see flying through Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

  7. LovUSA says:

    Cubans,anymore Miami Citizens..Venezuelans,Salvador,Haitians,Colombians & LOT OF ILLEGALS.. & Before,1959,Miami was an Old,Ugly,Dark City(with Riots),Miami Beach was the Elephant Cemetery,just boring City..HATER & OTHERS INF: Before Castro,Cuba Public & Private Schools,TEACH ENGLISH LANGUAGE,even had Bilingual Schools(spanish,mornings,after lunch english) & schools,only english language..We had an Insitute,teach:French,Italian,Japanese,Chinese,etc & English (five years course) Americans,visited Cuba,before Castro,Felt at Home..READ & LEARN..HAPPY FREEDOM DAY!!!

    1. American says:

      LovUSA, it’s Independence Day. Get it right.

  8. USA says:

    Dear George
    If Fidel is a friend please stay in Cuba

  9. joee says:

    Tell me where you will be holding your next cross burning? Is it a white hood affair?

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