Byline: Steve Miller, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People says it has not discussed opening a chapter in Cuba with Fidel Castro's government.
NAACP President Kweisi Mfume, who led a delegation that visited the island last month, said in a statement released last week that "we had no discussions with the Cuban government officials or citizens regarding a possible NAACP branch in that country during our recent goodwill and trade mission to that nation. Our four-day trip was part of the NAACP's historical mission to establish people-to-people contacts both inside and outside the United States."
The statement came in response to a story in The Washington Times on Nov. 27 quoting an NAACP official about the organization's plans to open an office in the communist island nation.
"Cuba likes the idea of an NAACP chapter established there, and we are very open to it. We have no timeline on this and haven't set a date to open the office," Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP's Washington office, told The Times.
Contacted yesterday about Mr. Mfume's statement, Mr. Shelton said there are no plans at this time to establish a chapter.
It was not clear whether The Times' front-page story had changed any plans by the NAACP to locate in Cuba, and Mr. Mfume did not return calls for clarification.
"The purpose of going was to interface with Cuban officials, Cuban organizations and the people to develop a relationship that would do a number of things, including establishing a familiarity and open the door of opportunity that will allow African-American farmers to sell their agricultural goods to the Cuban government," Mr. Shelton said.