Skip to main content

tv   2018 Printers Row Lit Fest  CSPAN  June 9, 2018 12:00pm-12:46pm EDT

12:00 pm
founded in 1985. the festival attracts over 200 booksellers and authors. as will is over 125,000 visitors. today and tomorrow you will hear the author discussions on gender identity. the state of american democracy racism, the apollo eight mission and americans abroad. just to name a few. today's lineup starts now with a discussion about cuba. this is live coverage of the best book festival. welcome to the 34th annual prince fast. i want to give you special thank you to all of our sponsors. it will be broadcast live on book tv. there will be time at the end of the session for q&a.
12:01 pm
.. .. . at the chicago tribune. does the mic work? okay. great. thank you for the introduction. i am an investigative reporter at the trib. but i am here as the former havana bureau chief for the chicago tribune. i was based there from 2002 until 2007 when i -- my journalism credentials were pulled by cuban authorities because of stories i had written about human rights and other issues. and i just want to begin by saying welcome to everybody here. and it is a great time to be talking about cuba.
12:02 pm
obviously with the death of fidel castro and the recent announced from the top position in government and also the collapse of venezuela economically, which has been sort of the financial patron saint of cuba over the last couple of decades. and the hard line policies the trump administration. i think it's a very interesting time to be discussing cuba and the united states. i think that the perennial questions remain is cuban in transition. and if so, to what. and what are the most effective policies for the united states in terms of encouraging the softening of the islands authoritarian government and its state-dominated economy. and we're fortunate here to have two of the greatest experts, i think, on cuba here. and one a writer and one a diplomat. a cuban american author and
12:03 pm
journalist whose work is focused on personal and national identity issues. she's written four or is it five novels now. six. poetry and other great works and is currently a professor at mills college in the bay area. she is also a very dear friend of mine and is somebody i go to when i -- when i need something obscure and complex explained to me about cuba, which is pretty much everything. and vicki huddleston is a retired u.s. officer, meaning she's a diplomat whose last assignment was u.s. deputy assistant secretary of state for african affairs. she was chief of the u.s. intersection in havana from 1999 to 2002.
12:04 pm
and she was also the accord nart -- coordinator. she's the author of the book a woman inside of havana which shows the u.s. policy towards cuba in some of the most critical moments of the last two decades. so i would like to welcome you both. and i'd like to start with vicki. did you ever suffer hearing loss, konkus sif spoms, nausea or other ailments during your time in cuba? and i mean we're laughing. but this obviously is a very serious matter. you know, i really want to know what your thoughts on this and also your thoughts on the trump administration's response to this. >> wow. i could just talk all day now on that. on the bad days. well, let's begin at the beginning. there are listening devices everywhere. i could look out my beautiful
12:05 pm
office window on the 4th floor overlooking the caribbean and see the cameras and the listening devices pointed right at me. then i could go home to one of the nicest residences in the world because obviously the united states and cuba were really close and cuba was really important. so we built this enormous, beautiful residence. and on the second floor where we hung out most of the time is a lovely balcony. and off the balcony i can look over to the back yards of the other houses and point it at me once again with listening devices. so there's listening devices in all of our homes. not in the embassy or the intersection as it was then. but in the residents, there's so many listening devices that we don't even look for them. because if we took them out there, they get put back. so on a bad day when i was
12:06 pm
annoyed with the cubans, i would say, yeah, probably i'll leave here and i won't have a mind left. but in all honesty, first of all, we handled this thing really, really badly. senator marco rubio turned it into a wedge to destroy the relationship. because he wasn't really completely happy with president trump's response. you know, president trump had told the conservative cuban american community that he sided with them. he went to miami. he made a fiery speech. he cancelled obama's opening. but he didn't do too much. he left the travel in place. his major effort was no financial transactions with the cuban military or the interior. so marco rubio was looking for a
12:07 pm
wedge. and those injuries to our diplomats, 23, 24 of them, and to ten of the canadians was just what he was looking for. so without knowing who did it, what did it, why it was done, he persuaded trump, who was essential turned u.s. policy towards cuba over to senator rubio, a hard liner on cuba, that we should force the cubans to drawdown their embassy and we would drawdown our embassy. when i was in cuba as head of the intersection, we were the biggest diplomatic mission in cuba. now we have ten diplomats. there's no section. there's no visas being issued to cubans, giving great performances. but also bringing back televisions, radios, all sorts of communication equipment that
12:08 pm
changed. so it was just a great political ploy, especially when the state department made a travel warning knowing full well that american visitors were not endangered. and the canadians in contrast did not make any kind of announcement like that. and about a year later they pulled out the families and said at the same time there had been no new -- >> strvicki, are you saying thes no sonic attack or any sort of attack? or you're saying the response by the trump administration was incorrect. it was overreaching. >> first of all, it was overreaching, it was incorrect, and it was used by the cuban community to recapture u.s. policy towards cuba, which is essentially a company turd policy. but, yes, there were sonic injuries. or there were injuries. i'm still not sure they were sonic. but here's the best explanation i can give you. so cuban listening devices are
12:09 pm
likely chinese made. and we just had incidents in our consulate in china that are exactly the same. exactly the same kind of injuries. so that would point towards the fact that these may well be chinese listening devices that were in china and were also in cuba. plus there's a university of michigan study that says that when there's more than one listening device in a room, then they can co lied at a higher frequency and cause injuries. >> but if -- i mean, even if they're chinese-made listening devices, the cuban government installed them. shouldn't they be helped responsible for this and isn't it unacceptable? >> oh, well, it depends on how they're held responsible. certainly they should. for example, castro immediately said he was horrified and he would cooperate and the fbi came
12:10 pm
down three, four, five times. so, yes, they should -- if they knew it was listening devices, they probably should have owned up to it. said they're terribly sorry. pay expenses or whatever. it seems as if most of the injuries have now with medical help been remedied. that they have not been permanent. so the cuban government did not do what it should have done. but no surprise because we have a hostile united states led by president trump marco rubio. and so then the cubans get their back up against the wall, which is always the case. and start saying something like star wars. there's no injuries. it's mass hysteria, which clearly it's not. there have been studies that point out that these were real injuries. >> i want to start with the question for you as well. unless you want to comment on this. >> i just want to say that i suffered hearing loss in cuba.
12:11 pm
i did from one day to the next. it was really weird. >> yes. >> the first time i stayed which was very close to the embassy. and literally from one day to the next. so who knows. >> okay. >> 2007, does that coincide with anything? >> you know. >> but there's no injuries within the embassy. because the embassy is secure. >> right. so these took place at houses. >> at houses. >> a couple of hotel rooms. >> yes. >> but there are houses in that area too. >> let's do the math. [ laughing ] >> so i want to start with a question for you as well. do you think this is considering the sort of context for what's happening in cuba now, do you think this is a moment of hope for cubans and cuban americans? or just another moment? >> i think it's just another moment. i think the major problem with cuba is -- well, it's twofold. one is that they have this incredibly centralized economy that they're never letting go
12:12 pm
of. and while that economy is completely centralized, it's always completely always dependent on everyone else. it's been dependent on that. we can do the history all the way back to the colonies. cuba has always been economically dependent on someone else. it's the history of cuban's economy. we've never been economically independent, sovereign. so this has created sort of all of these perverse and twisted relationships with mentor countries. we've now lost the mentor -- the latest mentor country. ie venezuela. and there's no one in sight. i mean, i think the great hope was that there would be a reconciliation with the united states. and as a result, there would be some possibility of some economic treatise that would help bring cuba a little bit more into a freer, more controlled capitalism. but, in fact, that hasn't
12:13 pm
happened. it won't happen certainly under trump. and while marco rubio, i agree with you, as sort of hijacked policy, you know, that's never going to happen. so i think, in fact, it's actually a very sad time for cuba. everything that i hear from my friends and, you know, people who are still there and people who are traveling back and forth is that things are, again, quite, quite tough economically. that things are, again, quite scarce. and also that the policies against the distandense -- dissidence against -- and they keep arresting you and letting you know and arresting you and letting you go and arresting you and disappearing you for a couple of days and then letting you go. you know, that stuff is just wearing the heck out of people. and it's -- there's tremendous despair, especially, again, with the change in policy which actually happened under obama of the dry foot, wet foot, that
12:14 pm
doesn't now just let people come. >> is there any chance people are lking about russia and china stepping in for venezuela. is there any hope on that or not? do you thinkhaot mething they're going to do? >> go ahead. go ahead first. >> i mean, raul likes china. he's always liked china, right. i don't think they're going to step in. cuba is an economic black hold. the soviet union was pouring a million bucks into cuba. a million a day. >> a million a day. >> uh-huh. >> yes. >> a million a day into cuba. >> i sort of disagree. i mean, i could go either way. but let's look for a moment. russia has now provided two tanker loads of oil to cuba. >> true. >> and russia has taken over the petroleum refinery that venezuela used to be running. so russia is clearly interested. china is the major trading partner, investor in cuba. more than the eu combined. and the critical thing here is
12:15 pm
both russia and china are the major source of military equipment mentoring for the cuban military, which is good. and the russians have talked about it. but i haven't heard whether they've done it to reopen the satellite interception communications base at san antonio de los spanos. but here i think is what is going on. it's always nice to have a foot hold for russia and china in the western hemisphere. and that was certainly proven to be true during the missile crisis. because in essence, the end of the missile crisis came about because the united states pulled their muscles from turkey and the soviet union pulled their missiles from china. so now we have china and russia back in with no levelling. i agree. raul thought we could leven this with trade and things from the united states. and now i think china, in
12:16 pm
particular, which is always looking for oil, is using cuba as the steppingstone to oil-rich venezuela. >> that's interesting. >> that's really -- that's a really strange strategy. [ laughing ] >> just -- i mean, does china really need to use cuba as a steppingstone to venezuela? they're hungry for any arrangement. i can't fathom that they need cuba to intercede in anyway, shape or form. and cuba has no oil. cuba -- >> but actually it has -- it should have. it's still not found. >> they've been talking about that for generations. >> they've been talking about that forever. >> they've been talking about that for years. >> but i think that the chinese stepping into venezuela via cuba makes a lot of sense. because the cubans are, as you know, a huge -- >> they're deeply embedded in venezuela. >> yes, yes. >> they're deeply embedded in venezuela. which pronoun should i use? >> i don't know.
12:17 pm
so we both have mentioned senator marco rubio. but the way you're describing u.s. policy now is if, as you do in your book, like we're in the 1990s and 2,000s again when the hard liners in miami, the cuban national american foundation and others are essentially controlling u.s.-foreign policy towards cuba. but, you know, this is 20 years later now. haven't the demographics changed. haven't the politics changed? >> yes, the demographic and the politics have changed. but unfortunately the conservative portion of the republican party that the cuban american wealthy people belong to in miami have enough clout that they went to candidate trump and said, okay, we're going to support you if you support us. and for a republican in general it's best to be a hard liner on cuba in florida.
12:18 pm
certainly in south florida. i mean, i think the great example -- but it was earlier is president clinton when he was a candidate for his -- against hw bush who was running for his second term, hw had been hesitant about supporting the cuban democracy act which was in a cutoff food and medicine from u.s. su u.s. subs dairies in latin america. they really wanted this legislation because they thought with the loss castro would fall. the cuban people would rise up. so hw bush didn't want to endorse this legislation. and who do you think went and endorsed the legislation? bill clinton. because it is just such a wonderful source of money and financing. and that's exactly what donald trump found as well. >> but the demographics are really changing. and that's been seen in the last couple of elections.
12:19 pm
i mean, younger cubans are voting democratic. in fact, right now there's -- my understanding is that there's florlt of cubans registered as democrats versus republicans. and there are people now who are educated in the united states who have a sense of civics, you know, in terms of, you know, u.s. concepts of democracy. and who think in terms of civil rights and who think in terms of, you know, more moderate foreign policies. and those people are not going to vote for -- we've seen it. they didn't vote for the republicans. they're not voting for the republicans for the most part. it's these older who are still voting for the -- for the really right wing extremist. but those people are dying off, frankly. >> well, i would like to believe you. and i like your theory. >> no. but look at marco rubio.
12:20 pm
marco rubio is fun. rubio won the last time because he had weak opposition. he had tremendous money. and trump was very interested in having him come up. i mean, they needed to save that seat because they needed to save the senate. so everything was poured into that. but i'm not so sure he's going to make it the next time. it depends entirely on who the democrats put up. part of the problem is the democrats have not had many candidates. why? because the democratic party sucks in florida. kind of like the republican party in chicago and illinois. you always get a clown for the mayor because they don't have anybody. it's the same thing. >> well, you know, your point is absolutely well taken. i mean, the majority of cuban americans actually support the opening that we should have a different policy. but we have president trump. we have marco rubio. and so we have the policy, once again, captured. and, you know, it just keeps going cyclicly like this. and what happens then, it hurts
12:21 pm
the cuban people. >> i couldn't agree more. >> as you said, you know, when i was down there in january, i would say to the cuban people, well, how do you feel. and some people were just -- you know, they start to cry because they couldn't visit their family. we would say to organizations that we're putting on a beautiful dance performance. are you going up to the states. no, we can't get visas. and when i would ask them, well, what do you think is the problem? so many said trump. and it used to be when you said what is the problem in 2002, it was fidel castro. >> but i think that -- i mean, achy you talked about the wet foot, dry foot policy. i thought that was a safety valve. so that's now been eliminated. why haven't we seen given sort of the very dire economic circumstances in cuba, why haven't we seen protests. why haven't we seen any sort of
12:22 pm
snablt -- instability at all. i came to cuba in 2002 and they said you're going to be there when it happens. when fidel dies. and how many diplomats and foreign correspondence have been there waiting for this to happen. it never happens. but now wet foot, dry foot is taken off the table. i mean, why hasn't there been the kind of instability, politic politically, socially that at least i would expect? >> well, it's a number of things. one is because the cuban government keeps everything just so. it's at a simmer, you know. and they're very good at sort of maneuvering things so that if this particular sector is getting a little unstable, they will give you a little something to calm me down. when artists starting getting really pissed off about the fact that they couldn't earn certain moneys. they managed to change all of those policies so that suddenly being an artist in cuba was actually a very favorable thing. a very good thing because you were basically living for free
12:23 pm
and earning dollars. i mean, so they do that with different sectors of society. that's one thing. so they're just fantastic at that particular kind of strategy. but the other thing is, again, historically, cuba was the last spanish colony to free itself from spain. cuba does not have a history of great rebellion. i know that the revolutionary myth is we're these great nationalis nationalists. but history shows that we very rarely get up and fight. we're kind of -- you know, we're big talkers. [ laughing ] >> but, you know, we're blah, blah, blah. but we don't really -- we really just don't have a history of it. look back at all of the dictators and look back at all of the american intervention that happened in cuba. look at how in late 19th century the u.s. basically stole the war of independence from cuba. and cubans are like, okay, sure, cool. i mean, it's -- there's a lot of resentment and a lot of like, you know, complicated emotions
12:24 pm
about these things. but we don't have a real honest history of rebellion. >> and i think too the embargo. the embargo helps. because that can always be the scapegoat. and i think if we h a better policy -- if we got rid of the embargo, then other -- >> i'm going to disagree with you on that. >> okay. but just a minute. let me finish. we don't have a xreevens -- comprehensive unilateral embargo. not against syria. not against iran. not against north korea. in fact, we have summits with north korea. just against cuba that's in no way a threat to the united states. and that if in our neighborhood we presumably have an embargo, a comprehensive embargo because of human rights or dabbling in venezuela or columbia, we don't do that against anybody else. it is clearly an unfair and an
12:25 pm
unjust policy that hurts the cuban people. so just get rid of that and then you can work with the region. and furthermore, if you don't like what cuba is doing then on human rights or venezuela, you can put on targets and sanctions. because that's what we do in syria, korea, iran. you hit the bad guys. you know, you hit castro or whomever you believe to be responsible. and so we don't have a policy that works. we have a failed policy. >> i couldn't agree with you more in terms of the embargo. it's inhumane. it's horrible. it's useless. it hasn't worked. but precisely for those reasons. i don't think that the embargo in anyway, shape or form plays any role in whether cubans rise up or not. for starters, most young cubans think of the embargo as a joke. you know, because they've been hearing about it their whole lives. and it's just -- it has no effect. it's completely -- you know,
12:26 pm
it's like -- nobody gives a damn about it. there's kind of an immunity that the idea is the embargo is what is screwing things up. >> but i wonder if that's not changing because now cubans can't get visas because of the change in policy. >> i might change. but i think it's too soon for it to really have sunk in. >> yes. and then, well, it's sinking in. because they're really discouraged about not going able to go up. >> i agree. i agree. >> and the second thing is with the end of the wet foot, dry foot, that means, you know, you can't get out. you have to stay. and so i begin to wonder -- >> you have to maneuver other ways out. >> yes. and still you can get to the border and maybe your children will be taken from you. how bad is that? >> if you come in that way. >> but i think, you know, we might see another mass migration. >> we might. it depends. but, you know, that was more fidel's strategy. i'm not so sure that it's raul's
12:27 pm
strategy. and who knows if it's just kind of strategy music. complete question mark, right. don't really know much about him other than he was a prot├ęge and that he's been around forever and that he's a party guy. >> yes. so have we already -- has the question already been answered can cuba's one party system survive without the castros. or is it too early to say that. obviously raul is still head of the cuban military and he's also head of the communist party. the two most powerful organizations in cuba. or has that question been answered or not. what do you think? >> well, i think it can survive, particularly because of u.s. policy. because i think as long as he were empowering the cuban people, as long as we had a lot of americans coming down staying in these polidares, eating in these restaurants and buying souvenirs and there were 600,000. i guess there still are people in the private sector. you could really hope for change. people were traveling more. people had more freedom to
12:28 pm
speak, things like that. and that, to me, is the way the cuban government will change is when people begin to speak out when they begin to lose some of that fear. and then you'll have a widening of the cuban communist party so you can have descent within the party. >> i actually think that the party made a very smooth transition from fidel to raul. i thought it was kind of genius the way they did it. >> kind of a slow moving thing. >> yes. >> very slow. >> yes. it was like lava. >> fidel was still there and raul was -- he was absent. >> right. >> he didn't appear for six months in public. >> right. and fidel like didn't say this is a permanent change. it was like -- >> right. >> -- okay, we're just making this little move here. >> how about this transition? what do you think? >> i think this transition actually went fairly smoothly. i think the question is -- and i think it's an unanswered question. what happens after raul castro
12:29 pm
dies? that's really for me the big question. because then the two castros that are left are alejandro and alberto, the ex son-in-law. and those two guys are both in positions of tremendous power. alejandro is said to be very ambitious. and it's really curious to me now how they will maneuver that. i mean, i don't think it has power in and of itself. >> you think he's a figure head and could be pushed aside? >> i don't know. i mean, it's interesting. because i talked to people from -- you know, in pretty high positions in cuba, especially in the cultural sector. and they find him mysterious. they don't really know if he's sort of performing the party. >> right. >> function. and has potentially, you know, reformist ideas and they're kind of hoping that once raul drops that he'll kind of step up and be his own man.
12:30 pm
>> right. >> but then he says he's really sort of horrible things that are very, very old school. cuban comi stuff. people pretty up there seem to be confounded by him. the only thing i keep in mind is his relationship. the grease, the black hand. >> yes. >> the great sort of -- >> hard liner. >> -- dark lord hcuban revolution. >> yes. >> so i'm not optimistic in my virtue of that. >> yes. >> but who nosknows -- knows. i think after raul, if any of the castros point to rise, then this is going to go on for a while. . . .
12:31 pm
>> i buy into a lot of that, but i met more hopeful than you are here quite think the family issue is difficult. >> you, optimistic? >> i see it as a politician. he wasn't with the revolution as we all know. he's not military. he's not castro. could have put in his son-in-law or son. >> no, i don't think he could have. i think he's been making these moves that are about being expansive, i mean, think about
12:32 pm
what he did when he came in. he got rid of a lot of them who had been in the cabinet. he put in younger people. he put in more women. he put in more afro-cuban's then fidel of her dad, i mean, he changed a lot at the look of the government and started being more participatory. remember the conversations that he invited people to have a map people went to the meetings and said this sucks, this sucks, this sucks, this sucks and they mean it sounds crazy, but this is not something that was common to have public conversations where you are able to say that things are working and it's problematic so i think he had a different idea and i think he wanted certain changes plus again historically role has always been focused on the island while fidel on the world.
12:33 pm
lets us than $230 million sending doctors to pakistan after hurricane while we cut the chicken ranch in-- ration for the month of may or whatever cause i think his arteries been very focused more on cuba than anyone else. >> we will open up to questions if anyone once to step up to the microphone over there. while we are waiting-- who would like to take that? >> the us policy, something called the cuban adjustment act which gave cuban's unprecedented privilege in terms of coming to the us if you got here. you would automatically be accepted and wouldn't be deported. it's a unique policy and then i
12:34 pm
think it was clinton who made what the dry fit which basically said that if you actually got to dry land you could stay, but if he were in the water they would return you and there were really crazy cases like a guy hanging on to-- >> was actually on land? >> yes and actually shipped him back. >> they did. and ely on gonzales was a victim of the dry felt wet foot thing because he was hanging on to a raft and he had picked up so technically he was wet foot. >> they brought him to miami. >> then he was the dry foot. >> he was the cuban moses, don't forget that. >> that of course was the five year old kids whose mother tied
12:35 pm
him to an inner tube before she drowned, but to add one thing, before wet foot dry foot every cuban could come into the united states and then through the cuban adjustment act and become a green card or-- >> a white cardholder. >> so they could have legal residence in the states. what clinton did after the mine-- 94 migration of 30,000 cubans-- have the cubans come with a plan so this migration wouldn't happen again and that plan was to say cubans can't come to the united states illegally and adjust that. miami did not like that, so immediately almost really days later they changed it to wet foot dry foot which unfortunately was very dangerous
12:36 pm
because before cubans would leave and families would call up and say wine has left and so the kos guard would know for where to find him as well as the brother to the rescue, but now they could not be found because they had to get here. >> had to dodge the coast guard. >> many more died. >> and the cuban government denounced it saying it was encouraging mass migration essentially and causing deaths of thousands of cubans trying to cross the cuban straits. >> thank you very much for taking my question and i am enjoying the show today. what i want to know is the united states, what is it influenced by? is it a reaction of the bay of pigs still or is it because you say the cuban americans have so much influence?
12:37 pm
also, shouldn't they be more influenced by national security, i mean, besides whatever is going on in cuba, cuba is too close to the states and shouldn't that be the defining reason for them doing something? >> do you want to take that? >> i love your question because i agree with that. we don't mean an enemy 90 miles off our sure. our third closest neighbor. we should work with cuba and the whole caribbean and central america to help bring the area up so there is less violence, jobs, economic opportunity and cuba should be the centerpiece of this efforts, but because of traditionally cuban-americans which came out of as you referred to the bay of pigs which led to the missile crisis cuban-americans essentially were
12:38 pm
able to push with the republican party because kennedy didn't provide the final support for bay of pigs and cuban-americans became republicans. then, it became this really really important law, so important that a democratic candidate like bill clinton would buy onto it or if you want the really great example, it's al gore. clinton set little ely on gonzales found and taken to mount-- miami back to cuba. cuban-americans were horrified. you remember that great picture of the special forces and a black jacket and the helmet with his and 16 and little elliott in the closet scared to death, so he went back. of the first thing happened is fidel dressed him up in his uniform and cuban-americans went crazy.
12:39 pm
>> cost al gore probably the election. >> cost al gore was the election. all he needed was 500 more votes. >> next question. >> also enjoying this very much. we have heard comments over the political scene in both countries. i would like to know a bit more. what is the feeling towards change. do the cuban people have a strong idea pointing to change? are they fatalistic like you said or could you elaborate more and what like the civil sentiment is? >> you take that. >> welcome i think there is great hunger for change, but at the same time i think there is this sense that every time change appears to be on the
12:40 pm
horizon to horizon keeps getting further and further and further away and so there's this sort of fatalism. there's also especially, you know, before the wet foot dry foot policy was changed there was a huge brain drain, so, i mean, people think that migration is only to the us-- us, but it's not. cubans are dispersed all over the world with huge cuban support communities in spain and mexico and colombia, certainly in venezuela all of them now desperate to get out. so, the desire for change and mean you have to understand that life in cuba is really difficult on a day-to-day basis. you can spend all day on just the most minor tasks. i had a girlfriend for many,
12:41 pm
many years that lived in cuba and we spent time in both countries, but when we first got together we would talk on the phone and i would say-- she would say what did you do today and i would be in oh, i went to the gym and did this and i got my car wash i went to work, did the laundry, what did you do and she would say i bought a lightbulb and i was like i'm sorry and she said i bought a lightbulb and it was like i couldn't comprehend that and then when i lived in cuba i learned just how incredibly difficult it is to get a lightbulb. you start at 6:00 a.m. trying to figure out where the light bulb vendors might be. that could take you until 11:00 a.m. and at 11:00 a.m. you have a problem with a cop who wants to see your id and all you are doing was being a girl, but they decide you are a hooker so
12:42 pm
this will take another two hours to get out of this mess and then you are back to trying to find a lightbulb vendor in the lightbulb of vendor has moved in another neighborhood and now you, i mean, it's absolutely insane and some of the situations are almost comic. so, it is a very wailing kind of existence. you can live in a minimal level, you know. i have friends who live just at that level where they just do very little. adduces-- and sometimes their lives seem ideal because you talk to them, what did you do today i just read all day and you're like i wish i could read all day. [laughter] and then you realize they read all day because they have completely given up on absolutely everything and they are just sitting around. you know, it's a very wearing
12:43 pm
and draining existence. >> although, i would say what i saw in october and january is that there was so much hope and people had a little bit more. i saw kids dressed up in uniforms going to work in the restaurants. i saw lots of the people selling souvenirs and things on the street. it just seemed to me like there was a lot more hope. >> i think there's more activity i'm not buying hope. >> now there is not hope because of the change. >> within the grinding day to day living in cuba, which i know because i lived there for years, there is greatness as well, great artists and great baseball players and great musicians and great doctors and there is greatness. >> absolutely. i'm not denying that. i'm just saying it is wearing.
12:44 pm
i also want to say i'm one of these people who like for the first three or four days i'm in cuba everyone thinks i'm american. and then on the fourth or fifth day i got a little sun and i'm moving a little different and then i move my consciousness and all is good. the way people talk to me is very different, you know. the first three or four days there's a lot more optimism and then by the fourth and fifth day -- >> did you go down after the obama opening? >> i know when the obama opening happened that was very different. there was tremendous flowering of hope and optimism and people were moved. people know parts of that speech by heart, which is really moving to me, but after trump, you know
12:45 pm
, it came back down. >> we are back to the whole punitive policy. >> let's go back to the one last question. >> i went to cuba as a tourist last year, so what i saw was somewhat controlled and more managed as part of a tour group, but i left with the belief the military really controls cubit and sort of the leaders of the military control all of industry and major hotels and tumors unpick the reality is it doesn't matter whether it's any of the castro's because the leadership so comes from the military ultimately so not sure many of the policies we have had with embargo or lack of embargo will change that much as long as the military still controls the money. >> it is the castro's that control the military, i mean, raul

14 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on