Cuba, Castro Cuba, Raul Castro discussed on Dave Ramsey
Press publication, subtitled an American journalist under Castro's shadow, David. Thank you for joining us tonight. Well, thank you for having me. What made you decide that you would put together such a story about the the Cuba of twenty eighteen. You know, I think any any journalists. They get signed Havana has has in the back of their mind are gonna write this great book on Cuba one day. And so when I moved down there. I just kept a notebook kept several notebooks full these random observations, but the idea that someday I would I would put it together, and it took about nine years, but but eventually I got to it, and and sort of cobbled together all these notes, and and sort of mishmash bit of investigative reporting with my own personal memoir, and sort of a hope of creating a bit of a layman's approach to unraveling this enigma country. Was Ernest Hemingway looking over your shoulder. You know, there's a certain romanticism about that. Right. Can't I can't deny that he and Graham greens, and the others who kind of went down to Cuba with rose tinted lenses about what the what the island is only what the island could be informed. Some of the writing, you know, I think that's a big part of what is to Americans, and it is to the world the sense of this romance wrapped up in this fishermen in the seats type of mentality and cube. Is that many ways just there's a lot more to it as sort of an underbelly that I hope to to expose it. All right. Let's look at the other side of the stereotype the the nineteen Fifty-nine time capsule. The the sixty year time warp when everybody drives around from an ancient era. And and this sort of thing is that still true in twenty eighteen post Castro and post embargo when it is in terms of. The cars. I mean, there's a sixty thousand. They call classic cars is still rumbling across the island, and sort of the largest collection of these old behemoths anywhere in the world. Of course, that's the outside of the cars, and the inside you have you have Russian engines and Chinese spark plugs in cobbling baling wire and really just sort of a hodgepodge of of things that there are anything, but the classic Ford and Chevy. It's kind of a microcosm in some ways or a metaphor for the for the island it self veneer of of this sort of old mentality, you know, sort of the godfather to ask romance. And and you know, pre Fidel Castro Batista days of this sin city, Las Vegas bordello in the Caribbean. And but on the inside we've seen obviously a lot lives changed since then. But you know, these cars, you know, they still they still rumbled across the island people. I will say this the Cubans are among the most industrious people that I've ever encountered the general stereotype, and what they've able to do to make these cars run is is is sort of how they've managed to survival years. They just sort of find a way to make it work. I was gonna say this country. There's a phrase that you will hear on occasion. Your cars totaled can't get parts. Well, obviously, obviously the whole population of automobile drivers in Cuba. Haven't had their vehicles totaled. So I'm having to assume that you quote can't get parts that they must be involved in makeshift parts. Yeah. You know, when I if you write a taxi down in Cuba, whenever you walk out of the car. I think Americans particularly New Yorkers have a tendency of just sorta slamming the door shut. And that is just the last thing any Cuban cabdriver wants 'cause they have to protect the vehicle's, and they have gotten parts, you know, you might smuggling parts from south Florida from Spain in those wrapped little blue plastic wraps, and that that kind of meant to ward off the sticky fingers of Cuban customs agents, but by and large these are these are ripped up and redone automobiles that that sort of cobbled together parts of many different many different vehicles. You might find old factory carburetor within excuse me old farm Carberry of a tractor within. Nineteen fifty seven Plymouth, and the thing would work for maybe a couple of weeks and then break down, and they'll just find something else to to fill the gap. And it's kind of kind of the stereotype, I mean, if you own a car in Cuba, sort of a rite of passage is to be seen pushing the car on the side of the street as it broken down. Just kind of what happens down there. What about the availability of and the price of gasoline and motor oil transmission fluid. This sort of thing. Actually, it's a it's a very good question. It's not all that dissimilar from what you might find out elsewhere in southern United States the gasoline in the divorce, particularly that that Cuba gets has for many years in subsidized by the Venezuelan. They sort of have this to and fro relationship in which Venezuela offers, Cuba, subsidize energy in exchange for doctors, medical services, and even security services. Which in some ways has propped up the Madeira administration there, so even as that country in Venezuela teeters on the brink of collapse and almost becoming a failed state. They still have managed to subsidize oil that they send to Cuba, albeit it has reduced over the years, but it sort of gives you a sense of that symbiotic relationship between these two countries. And of course, we come to another stereotype the political stereotype. Pictures of Fidel everywhere billboards of Fidel speeches by Fidel, three four five hour speeches on the only TV and radio outlets available. Yeah. Most of us would at this point say, well that stereotype can't still be truly he's gone and Nali is he gone, but brother, Raoul is gone, you're in the post Castro era. And yet, there's still a communist government. So at this point, we realized that our stereotype probably isn't correct. But we're not really sure what is correct. Right. Well, you go down there, and you'll still see I mean, you won't see advertisements like you, see states and many other countries. What you really see is a lot of billboards declaring the triumph of the revolution. And and murals of Che Guevara? Fidel Raoul, you know, these these sort of bearded revolutionaries and that sort of hearken back to the glory of the Commons passed fifty nine revolution. Fidel had this penchant for being sort of this bombastic leader. Whereas Raoul was this sort of tactician a little bit more a bit of a pragmatist, and so many historians sort of liking these two is the kind of like the perfect union Yang dictatorship in which one person has sort of had grandiose larger than life personality on the others being role would would manage behind the scenes now while role is technically gone and has handed over the presidency to fifty six year old technocrat by the name of DS canal. He still is actually technically head of the communist party, you're not going to relinquish that until twenty twenty. And so, you know, while the day to day operations of the country. Still be is are being governed by the canal, the bigger questions about the direction of country, the move towards increased power the legislature and other big big questions that are there's sort of looming in this post Castro era are still being over. Seen by Raul Castro. So while we're technically in a post racial presidency. We're not quite in a post Castro Cuba yet. That's that's really the big question. Fidel Castro has died when Raul Castro dies. That's the real question. Are we going to see this jockeying for power like we saw with the Soviet Union where the old oligarchs gave ways the rise of Ladimir Putin? Are we going to see a move towards more empowered legislature, which there are signs on? So is there ever indication that you would see in Cuba? After North Korea. The second hereditary communist monarchy was there ever any? Because after all you went from one Castro to another are there are there young Castro's around. They're like we used to talk about young Kennedy's in this country. There are. In fact, I opened my book when I inadvertently had drinks with with rebel Castro was only son Alejandro Castro Castro Speen, and I I had a sort of a long night drinking on inadvertently with with Alejandro in a bar, but only hundreds head of the head. But he's he oversees basic counter, espionage and surveillance within the interior ministry and the armed forces. And he's growing in power when I met him. He wasn't the the figure that he is now, but he was since that will side when when he negotiated or student when he was in Panama shaking, President Obama's hand negotiated with Ben Rhodes and in Geneva in Canada, that's related to the detente, and many people think that he is still a guy that's kind of behind the scenes, it's will rule Cuba, at least in part from sort of. In the shadows. There. I think from Rowell's perspective, it was just too untenable to have the Kim type of dynasty that you you saw in in Korean. So with canal officially in the presidency. I would think that Alejandro has quite a bit of power behind pulling behind the scenes, although the levers of power are capricious, and sort of shrouded in secrecy in Cuba. But he's a man that I would keep your eye on interesting, and we will keep an eye on much here that we are talking about in as much as this is Cuba. And there it is ninety miles off our southern coast for the last better than half a century. A thorn in the side of this country before that a playground for mafi. Also, a variety of things that that Cuba was and as for what Cuba is and what Cuba will be. We'll pick the brain some more when we come back. And our guest, David Ariosto. Again. He is an international journalist has worked for CNN NPR, Al Jazeera, America. Reuters and National Geographic and is now the executive producer of Jeeves zero media at the Eurasia group. He's written. This is Cuba published by St. Martin's press, subtitled an American journalist under Castro's shadow one eight six six five zero JIMBO back in a moment. What do you want to spot that burglar when he's casing your home? 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