Cuba's Castro Verbally Attacks Florida Lawmaker

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

( - Wednesday's edition of the daily "Granma" newspaper, the official newspaper of Cuban President Fidel Castro and the Cuban Communist party, called Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), "The Ferocious Wolf Disguised As A Woman."

Ros-Lehtinen told that she's flattered.

The report was broadcast over Radio Havana Cuba during its Wednesday evening broadcast to North America.

Ros-Lehtinen, a Cuban native who escaped with her family to the United States in 1960, has been outspoken in Congress in her criticism of Castro and the communist regime in her native land.

In the article, the newspaper called Ros-Lehtinen "this raging member of the ultra right wing who has adopted the United States as her home while, at the same time, contributing substantially to damaging the image of that country."

"You're honored by your friends and distinguished by your enemies. I have been greatly distinguished this day because Castro has blasted me personally, by calling me, "a ferocious wolf disguised as a woman," Ros-Lehtinen told

"He (Castro) made his statement shortly before Christmas and then, just this week, on the front page of the communist newspaper, the official newspaper of Cuba called "Granma", they have me on the front page, calling me that same name and highlighting many of the actions I have taken in Congress in favor of the enslaved Cuban people. In fact, some of the items that they talk about I had forgotten myself that I was involved with, so, obviously they are keeping very close records of my activities and that pleases me greatly, " Ros-Lehtinen told in an interview from her home in Miami.

Ros-Lehtinen doesn't mind having Fidel Castro as an enemy.

"I can think of no better enemy to have than Fidel Castro. I am a believer in freedom and democracy, so if a tyrant and a dictator and a cold-blooded assassin like Fidel Castro attacks me, then I'm that much better off. He attacks me because I defended the Helms- Burton law, which is a strong bill that we passed (in Congress) to help the opposition in Cuba and help those who are struggling for freedom and democracy. He's (Castro) obviously been keeping close tabs on my activities and I'm very pleased. I hope he continues to attack me because it pleases me greatly, and I feel quite distinguished by having Castro point out my many, many acts in Congress in favor of freedom and democracy," Ros-Lehtinen told

The Cuban newspaper also accused Ros-Lehtinen of placing herself further to the right of Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC). The newspaper said Ros-Lehtinen angrily rejected a proposal of two of Helms' legislative aides who were present in Cuba during the visit of Pope John Paul II to lift restrictions on food and medical sales to Cuba.

On the Helms remark, Ros-Lehtinen told, "There's good company there. He's (Castro's) obviously kind of obsessed with me these days, I don't know how he classifies legislators, he's (Castro's) so left wing. Castro is a communist tyrant. Anyone who is for freedom and against tyranny, I think he would consider a right wing advocate. I guess I'm in that wing. If Jesse Helms is for freedom and against tyranny, I'm proud to be associated with him."

The "Granma" newspaper is the official newspaper of the Cuban communist party and its articles are controlled and reflect the viewpoint of Cuban President Fidel Castro.