Bill Delahunt

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Bill Delahunt

Template:TOCnestleft Bill Delahunt is a former Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, who represented the 10th district of Massachusetts from 1997 to 2011.

Supported by Council for a Livable World

The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported Bill Delahunt in his successful House of Representatives run as candidate for Massachusetts.[1]

Progressive propaganda event

According to Boston Democratic Socialists of America activist Jason Pramas, a couple of months after September 11th "shattered politics-as-usual for the American left", a number of local Boston activists in the labor-welfare coalition Working Massachusetts, in Jobs with Justice, and "in my group, the Campaign on Contingent Work", thought that the economic downturn accelerated by the terrorist attacks was actually creating an excellent climate for "progressives to take the political high ground in Massachusetts".

So in November of 2001, two ideas — Jobs with Justice’s plan to hold a Faneuil Hall speakout similar to the epic Democratic Socialists of America -led “Hearing on Economic Insecurity” in 1996, and a CCW/Working Massachusetts plan to hold a conference to help further unify the work of area progressives (and not-coincidentally) relaunch Working Massachusetts.

The major difference between "our event and the 1996 event" was that the worker panels testified to the local Jobs with Justice Workers Rights Board consisting of "eminent personages like Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner and Boston College Professor Juliet Schor" (both DSA members) — rather than testifying to a panel of Congresspeople. A few politicians showed up, most notably Congressman Bill Delahunt, State Treasurer Shannon O’Brien and State Senator Warren Tolman, but the overall focus of the day was that the "area progressive movement should express public shock and outrage at the local state of economic affairs in the light of the mass media. And propose that a freshly-emboldened popular movement could change the current political equation in favor of working people."[2]


When commenting on the situation in Haiti, Boston Democratic Socialists of America newsletter The Yankee Radical, March 2004 observed;[3]

Among those trying to get to the bottom of the Haitian events now, in real time, when they can still be influenced, are the Congressional Black Caucus (www.congressionalblackcaucus. net) including DSA member Rep. Major Owens (D-NY), along with our own Rep. William Delahunt (D-Cape Cod). Other sources on the unfolding events in Haiti: Dr. Paul Farmer's locally-based group Partners in Health..

Colombia Support Network letter


In 2002, the Colombia Support Network organized a :dear colleague" letter to President Andres Pastrana Arango, of Colombia, through Ned Steiner, a staffer in Rep. Sam Farr's office.

The letter called on President Pastrana to end a military blockade on the Colombian town of San Jose de Apartado, a sister community of Madison Wisconsin, where the Colombia Support Network is based.

We write to you to bring your attention to the humanitarian crisis facing the civilian population of the Peace Community San Jose de Apartadó and its outlying settlements.
We urge the appropriate authorities of your government to dismantle the paramilitary checkpoint on the road between San Jose and Apartadó, ensure the continued safety of the road, and fully investigate recent threats and attacks on the Peace Community.
The Peace Community San Jose de Apartadó and its settlements, including the village of La Union, receive the permanent accompaniment of international organizations.

These include Peace Brigades International (PBI), as well as the U.S. Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), which currently has two US citizens in La Union. We support the work of these two respected organizations as well as the Peace Community in its effort to build a non-violent alternative to the conflict.

Representatives who signed the Colombia Support Network inspired letter in 2001 included Bill Delahunt. [4]

FARC hostages

In March 2007, seven members of the U.S. Congress sent a letter endorsing three European governments' (France, Spain, Switzerland) proposal for a demilitarized zone, where eventual "humanitarian exchange" negotiations would take place to secure the release of Colombian guerilla FARC hostages. The representatives even offer to be present in the zone at key moments in order to guarantee the talks' success.

As you know, though, the FARC instead insists that negotiations for a "humanitarian exchange" of prisoners take place in a 480 square-kilometer zone in southwestern Colombia from which all military personnel have been removed. The Colombian government has been unwilling to pull security forces out of this zone, particularly if the FARC insists on its own forces carrying weapons.
The result has been stalemate, with both sides far from dialogue and the hostages far from winning release. This has gone on for too long. We agree with you that the status quo is unacceptable.

Signatories were Jim McGovern, Jan Schakowsky, Raul Grijalva, Sam Farr, Peter Welch, Maurice Hinchey, Bill Delahunt.[5]

Relationship with Hugo Chavez

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez salutes military-style US congressman William Delahunt after meeting 18 January, 2008 at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas. Chavez and Delahunt met to discuss several international matters, among them the Colombian conflict and the alleged networks Vinancing Colombia's AUC paramilitary right-wing guerrillas.

Building bridges

Mr. Delahunt, who served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee while in Congress from 1997 through 2011, has a history of quietly attempting to forge positive diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Venezuela.

During the early 2000s, he partook in a little reported effort known in foreign policy circles as the “Groupo De Boston,” which brought U.S. members of Congress to meet socially with Venezuelan lawmakers in Caracas. Subsequently, the effort saw several Venezuelan lawmakers arrive on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts, to partake in more social meetings.

Mr. Delahunt also met personally with Mr. Chavez in 2005 to help arrange a program that would eventually see the Chavez government supply subsidized heating oil to thousands of low-income and elderly residents in Massachusetts.[6]

Another visit

In March 2009 Massachusetts Congressman William Delahunt met with President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and "says he’s encouraged about the possibilities of improved relations between Venezuela and the United States".

The Democrat says he had a "very positive and constructive conversation" with Chavez.[7]

Chavez funeral

In March 2013, the Obama administration has dispatched an official delegation to Caracas to attend the funeral for deceased Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

In addition to James Derham, who served as Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in the Venezuelan capital, the State Department said that the delegation to the socialist revolutionary’s funeral would include U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks, New York Democrat, and former U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, Massachusetts Democrat.

Cuba trip 2002

The Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy Foundation sponsored a fact finding and educational trip to Cuba December 12-15, 2002 led by Congressman Bill Delahunt (D-MA), Senator Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ ret) and the former Attorney General of Arizona. Delegation members met with Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque and Pedro Alvarez, CEO and Chairman of Alimport and had a five hour meeting with President Fidel Castro.[8]

Cuba Trip 2006

Delahunt with Cuban Foreign Minister, Felipe Perez Roque

From Dec. 15 - Dec. 18, 2006, a Congressional Delegation of ten congressmen and women from the U.S. House of Representatives visited Havana, Cuba. Leading the delegation were Jeff Flake and Bill Delahunt. The other participants were Hilda Solis, Jo Ann Emerson, Jerry Moran, Michael Conaway, Jane Harman, Lincoln Davis, Gregory Meeks and Jim McGovern. The delegation met with Cuban Foreign Minister, Felipe Perez Roque and other communist officials. The delegation asked to meet with Raul Castro during their weekend visit to Cuba, but there was no word on whether such a meeting would take place.[9]

Fighting the Cuba travel ban

According to Boston Democratic Socialists of America's The Yankee Radical June 2009;[10]

This travel ban, enacted in 1962, is now under attack from a left-right coalition including the Chamber of Commerce, agribusiness, Human Rights Watch and civil liberties groups. The other side, comprised of cold war hard liners and much of the Cuban émigré community, is using the lack of free elections and democratic rights in Cuba as arguments for keeping the ban. Although as Sam Farber notes in his recent book on the Cuban revolution, the original justification for the travel ban and trade embargo had nothing to do with reasons like these—it was Castro’s interference with the “freedom” of American corporations to dominate the Cuban economy.

According to Amnesty International, Cuba now has 58 political “prisoners of conscience”, down from the thousands of years past. Amnesty nonetheless opposes the American trade embargo and travel ban, as do most Cubans, including Oswaldo Paya, the leading democratic oppositionist. And this year efforts to at least lift the travel ban might actually succeed, give[[n our new President and Democratic Congress. The Senate bill, S.428, is sponsored by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Dick Lugar (R-IN); in the House, Cape Cod Congressman Bill Delahunt is a key advocate. Contact his office for more information..

United States/Cuba Educational Seminar June, 27th 2009

The Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy Foundation announced a United States/Cuba educational seminar,"Rapprochment with Cuba: Good for Tampa Bay, Good for Florida, Good for America." The seminar took place on June, 27th 2009 at The Italian Club in Ybor City.

Speakers included:[11]

  • Mr. Fernand Amandi, Vice President of Sergio Bendixen, a national polling firm
  • Ambassador Jorge Bolanos, Chief of the Cuban Interests Section (by video teleconference)
  • United StatesCongressman Bill Delahunt, (D-MA)author of "Travel Bill in the United States Congress"
  • Alfredo Duran Esq. Veteran of the Bay of Pigs
  • Dr. Wayne Smith, professor John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and the former Chief of Mission at the American Interests Section in Havana, Cuba

Voted against cutting funding for ACORN

In September 2009, following the lead of their Senate colleagues, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to cut off funds to ACORN. the vote was 345-75. All of the 75 were Democrats, and included Bill Delahunt . [12]

Reception Honoring Martha Coakley

On Jan. 12, 2010 a reception honoring Martha Coakley was held at the Sonoma Restaurant, 223 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington D.C. Among those present were Senator John Kerry and Representatives, Ed Markey, Richard Neal, Bill Delahunt, John Tierney, Stephen Lynch, Barney Frank, John Olver, Jim McGovern, Michael Capuano and Niki Tsongas.

Hosts of the reception donated $10,000 and included Nick Allard, Thomas Hale Boggs Jr., the Boston Scientific Political Action Committee, Chuck Brain, Susan Brophy, Mary Beth Cahill, Steve Champlin, Licy Do Canto, Gerald S. J. Cassidy, David Castagnetti, Steve Elmendorf, Candy Ergen, Cahrlie Ergen, Shannon Finley, Larry Harris, Tom Hogan, Carol Kenner, Stephanie Markiewicz, Andy Miller, Heather Podesta, Tony Podesta, Robert Raben, Linda Singer and Bill Titelman.

Co-hosts of the reception donated $5,000 and included Marty Bienenstock, Sheryl Cohen, Chad Dale, Joe Eyer, Jamie Gorelick, Robin Leeds, Fred Liowther, Bernie Nash, Frank Purcell of the CRNA (Nurse Anesthetists) Political Action Committee and Melissa Schulman.

The administration for the reception was organized by Julia Hoffman.[13]

J Sreet endorsement

In 2008 Delahunt was endorsed by JStreet PAC.[14]

Calling on Israeli Govt. to lift Gaza Travel Ban

On Dec. 22, 2009, thirty-three U.S. Representatives wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling on her to request that the Israeli Government end the ban on student travel from Gaza to the West Bank. Bill Delahunt was one of the signatories of the letter.[15] The entire letter together with a complete list of signatories can be read by clicking here.

Supported Lifting the Gaza Blockade

On Jan. 27, 2010, U.S. Representatives Keith Ellison and Jim McDermott led 52 other members of Congress in signing a letter addressed to President Barack Obama, calling for him to use diplomatic pressure to resolve the blockade affecting Gaza. Bill Delahunt was one of the signatories of the letter. [16] The entire letter together with a complete list of signatories can be read by clicking here.

Mideast Congressional Mission

In February 2010, the first JStreet-sponsored congressional mission toured Israel, Jordan and Palestinian-controlled areas. Five members of Congress participated in the tour; Lois Capps, Bill Delahunt, Bob Filner, Mary Jo Kilroy, and Donald Payne.

It was stated that the mission "will meet with Israeli government and opposition leaders as well as key regional leaders, including Jordanian King Abdullah II and Palestinian National Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The delegation will travel widely in Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and Jordan taking a close look at the situation on the ground through the eyes of policy makers and civil society leaders."[17]

JStreet is a Jewish organization that, according to its website, "was founded to change the dynamics of American politics and policy on Israel and the Middle East".[18]

At Chavez's funeral

In the funeral hall, more than 30 political leaders including Cuba's Raul Castro and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stood at attention before Chavez's flag-draped coffin. Many of them were welcomed by Nicolas Maduro, the vice president who will later be sworn in as interim president. The glass-topped coffin, which has been open since Wednesday, was shut for the funeral.

Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and former Congressman William Delahunt (D-MA) attended the Venezuelan leader's funeral. Hollywood actor Sean Penn and Reverend Jesse Jackson were also at the funeral. "We pray God today that you will heal the breach between the U.S. and Venezuela," Jackson said.[19]

External links