Cuba, Raul Castro, Castro Cuba discussed on Jim Bohannon
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 Cuba of twenty eighteen. I think any any journalists I get assigned Vanna has has in the back of their mind are going to write this great book on Cuba one day. And so when I moved down there. I just kept notebook kept several notebooks full random observations with 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 cobbled together all these notes, and and sort of mishmash of investigative reporting with my own personal memoir and. Hobo for creating a bit of a layman's approach to unraveling this enigma country. Was Ernest Hemingway looking over your shoulder. There's a certain romanticism about that. Right. I can't I can't deny that he and Graham greens, and the others who kind of went down to Cuba with these rose tinted lenses about what the what the island is 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 seat type of mentality and cube is many ways, it's just there's a lot more to it sort of an underbelly that I hope to to expose. All right. Let's look at the other side of the stereotype the the nineteen Fifty-nine time capsule will be the sixty year time warp when everybody drives around yards from an aged era. 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 sixty thousand they call classic cars is still rumbling across the largest collection of these old. Anywhere in the world. Of course, that's the outside of the cars 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 Shelvin kind of a microcosm serve some ways or a metaphor for the to the island itself in the veneer of of this old mentality. You know, so the godfather to esque romance, and then pre Fidel Castro Batista days of when it was in the city is the sort of Las Vegas board Delo in the Caribbean. And but on the inside we've seen obviously a lot has changed since then. But you know, these cars, you know, they still they still rumbled across the island. I mean, people I will say this the Cubans are among the most industrious people that I've ever encountered general stereotype, and what they've able to do to make these cars run is is sort of how they've managed to survival for years. They just sort of find a way to make it work say this country. There's a phrase that you will hear on occasion. Your car is totaled can't get parts. Well, obviously, obviously, the the whole population of automobile drivers in Cuba. Haven't had their vehicles total. 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, which I am have a tendency of slamming the door shut. And that is just the last thing any Cuban cabdriver wants 'cause they have to protect their vehicles, and they have gotten parts, you know, you might smuggling parts from south Florida from Spain in those wrap blue plastic wraps, and that that are kind of meant to ward off 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 Crafter within. Nineteen fifty seven Plymouth, and the thing would work for maybe a couple of weeks, and then breakdown, and they'll just find something else to to fill the gap. And it's kind of a 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 has it broken down. Just kind of what happens down there. What about the availability of the price of gasoline? 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 devoid, particularly that Cuba gets has for many years been subsidized by the Venezuelan they 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 Medeiros administration there, so even as that country. Venezuela teeters on the brink of collapse 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 the two countries. And of course, we come to other stereotype political stereotype. Pictures of Fidel everywhere billboards of Fidel speeches life Fidel, three four five hour speeches, the only TV and radio outlets available. Most of us would at this point say, well that stereotype can't still be true. 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 in 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. You'll still see mean you won't see advertisements like you see in the states and many other countries. What you really see a lot of billboards declaring the triumph of the revolution. And and murals of Che Guevara? Kamera Fidel Raoul. You know, these these sort of bearded revolutionaries and that sort of hearken back to the glory of the Commons passed and fifty nine revolution. Goodell had this pension for being so this bombastic leader, whereas Raul was this sort of tactician out a little bit more of a pragmatist, and so many historians sort of liking these two is kind of like the perfect union Yang dictatorship in which one person sort of had that grandiose larger than life personality among the others being rule would manage behind the scenes now while role is technically gone and has handed over the presidency to fifty six year old technocrat by name of DS canal. He is actually technically head of the communist party, you're not going to relinquish that until twenty twenty. And so while the day to day operations of the country still are being governed by the canal, the bigger questions about the direction of country, the move towards increased power the legislature, another big big questions that are sort of looming in this post Castro era are still being overseen by Raul Castro and so while we're technically in the post Raoul 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 with the Soviet Union where the old oligarchs gave waste 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. Yard. I opened my book. Why inadvertently had drinks with with Raul Castro's only son Alejandro Castro Castro Speen, and I had a sort of a long night of drinking on inadvertently with with Alejandro in a bar, but only hunters head of the head. But he's he overseas 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 it roll side when when he negotiated a student when he was in Panama shaking, President Obama's hand you negotiate with Ben Rhodes and 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 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 that we are talking about 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 playground for mafia. So 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 of our guest, David Ariosto, again, he is. Is an international journalist. He's 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. When do you want to spot that burglar when he's casing your home? Or after he's in asked John who's blinked camera alerted ham of burglars. Trying to break in while he and his family were home or Shannon. Who's blink camera? Caught a thief stealing packages most times blink video clips were sent to police developed convicted crooks blinked motion activated indoor and outdoor cameras are wire free set up in minutes and run on two AA batteries it.