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The Next Life

Submitted by ub on Sat, 02/16/2019 - 06:16

It was sixty years ago, on this fateful day that I should have begun to pray because this was the very first day of the rest of my life. Many were fooled by his smile, hair, open arms and a fake embrace of religion. Father knew best and that story is next.

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was a habitual liar long before he was sworn in as Cuba's leader on February 16, 1959, and perhaps he learned to lie and cheat from his father. Anyway, that day turned into the real first day of the rest of my life. Castro declared himself premier a month-and-a-half after the overthrow of a ruthless dictator named Fulgencio Batista.

The Castro brothers, along with Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos, Huber Matos, and others led a Cuban revolution which still controls Cuba as a Marxist–Leninist Caribbean stronghold.

From the day he was born on August 13, 1926, in Birán, Cuba and finally died on November 25, 2016, in Habana, Cuba he caused havoc in my life, as well as millions of other Cubanos and many other people all over the hemisphere and throughout the entire world for that matter.

Once upon a time, leaders were encouraging, magnanimous, and optimistic. But in past decades, we’ve seen leaders undermine democracy who are liars, vitriolic, punitive, and their negative rhetoric affected my homeland and a naysayer may be doing it now.

I was born Roberto Fernando Eduardo Soto y Bonachea, known in English as Bob Soto, I am a journalist, an educator, and a multilingual communicator. Originally from Cuba, but I was raised and educated in the United States and identify himself as an American, although I have always kept my old Cuban passport.

When I arrived as a child to America with my family, I didn't speak a word of English. However, with the help of American education, I've improved my multilingual communication skills. I married up and I am the proud father of wonderfully intelligent children and even better grandchildren.

We came to the United States. We didn't speak a word of English. We had 500 dollars in our pockets because they wouldn't let you take the millions of dollars that my dad had. We couldn't take the property and couldn't take the money, so he left with limited cash. My dad, as I told you, was the president of a bank in Cuba. He came to the United States and the first job he had was working in a factory. It was a pillow factory that dealt with putting feathers in pillows and my father, like myself, is very allergic so he used to come home and his eyes were all watery and he was having trouble breathing because of the effect that the feathers were having on him. He still stuck it out because he figured this is the only way I'm gonna earn a salary and a living for my family and that's exactly what happened. So it was very difficult, to say the least, and my two older brothers and I had to learn a new language and we had to adapt to the culture. You know when you're a little kid, and you don't speak a language, you walk into a school and the kids make fun of you? They like to push you around, beat you up, make fun of you, and all that stuff. So we went through that process where we had to, not only learn the culture and learn the language but put up with the abuse or what kids do. That's what they do, and so it was just part of the process.

One of the things that I realized early in life was that the best way to do that was to assimilate and to learn the language, and so I watched a lot of English-language TV, films, and I read a lot of newspapers. That's what got me interested in the news business. I used to read the newspaper, like The New York Times, and record myself and then play it back so that I would improve my diction. Then I saw this guy on TV that I really admired. His name was Walter Cronkite, and I said: “that's the guy.” That's what I wanted to be when I grow up. It's interesting that Walter Cronkite used to have a sailboat right here in City Island right off this coast right here. He used to have his sailboat here in City Island, and lo and behold, the years later I had the opportunity of actually meeting him, which for me was a real hoot to see Walter Cronkite.

The two people that I admired the most when I came to the states that I watched on TV that worked for me until the end was Walter Cronkite, and a guy named Ricky Ricardo, also known as Desi Arnaz, the husband of Lucy. The show was called “I Love Lucy” and I thought it was so cool that this Cuban guy was married to a redhead--an American redhead--and I'm saying to myself “how cool is this? Is this a Cuban guy who's got his own TV show with his American wife?” This is the end-all; this is what they call America, the melting pot and the salad, where you're mixing all cultures. Whether you're from Cuba or from the United States, in Lucy and Ricky's case, it was a Cuban husband and an American wife. I now have a Chinese wife, so I believe in the melting pot. I believe in diversity and multiculturalism, and I think that is the future. Not just for this country, but for the world.

It was very scary. I was afraid, and I remember when my mother, my father, and my brothers left Cuba, we were thinking we would return. My father is a big baseball fan. My two older brothers--my oldest brother was named after my father. I just thought every Latino did that: name their first son after themselves. My second oldest brother was named after Babe Ruth. His name is George Herman Ruth, so my dad named him after a baseball player. My name was not Roberto Clemente, but it was Bob Feller, who was a famous pitcher with the Cleveland Indians. So we used to go from Cuba to the United States, and we would follow either the Cleveland Indians or the St. Louis Cardinals, and go see the Indians play the Yankees or the St. Louis Cardinals play whoever. We would go every year from Cuba to the United States, go watch a couple of baseball games, and that was my dad's idea of a wonderful summer vacation or just a wonderful vacation. That's what we did. That was the groove, that was the plan. When we left Cuba, we thought we were going to go watch a couple of baseball games and then come back, but what we didn't know is that Castro had just nationalized the banks. My dad was the president of one of the large banks in Cuba, and so when he realized that there was no future in Cuba, he had lost all his wealth. The bank had been nationalized, he lost all his wealth, and he figured it's best to leave with my family intact than to have something worse happened; you can always make money again, which we all did, but when you have no freedom, and when you lose your ability to express yourself, that's when it becomes a dangerous situation. So, he decided it was time to take off and leave.

The revolution should now evolve and morph into a re-evolution for not just oppressed Cubans but for everyone and anyone who believes the People on this planet have suffered enough.

I've been living on a distant far away Island for a couple of decades and this is about the closest that I have gotten to live on the real island where I wish I were living on, but unfortunately, for many strategic, operational and political reasons I'm living here and not there.

I think it's important for the Cubans who are in Cuba and the Cubans who are in the USA and elsewhere, whether they're in Little Havana or Union City or anywhere else, to come to a realization that it's time that they come together to make a better island.

You know, one of the first things that I realized when I went to work for the US government was that the US embargo is not working. It's actually working against all the parties involved. The best way to have a re-evolution is by allowing people to understand what's really going on.

The good news is that they're reportedly getting Internet for a short period and the Cuban people were offered Wi-Fi as perhaps hook to get folks to spend money so they could sell the service, but the best way to do that is by allowing the population to get a taste of what's really going on; not just in Cuba, but all over Latin America and all over the world for that matter. It's a step in the right direction. Cubanos in Cuba and Cubans in the United States need to come to that realization and understand that the only way that we're going to improve the lifestyle of all Cubanos is to come together and work towards an understanding. Now, that's not to say that I support Castro or that government, because the old saying “Cuba SI Castro No” still applies for me.

There is no Castro in power now. When Fidel died and Raul stepped down he gave the reins of the government to a new president, but it's still very much controlled by the government and there needs to be an open system where people can exchange ideas and speak freely. If you want to criticize the government and say it out loud, you shouldn't be concerned about someone coming after you, being persecuted or prosecuted for your thoughts, ideas, or revolutionary comments.

I think information content is most important because ideas are formed in an open society. If the government tells you that you cannot say this, or that, you can't even consider these other options, then you have a faulty system and a society that's not going to function properly.

Everyone needs to be able to express their individual thoughts, ideas, and feelings. I live in the Northeast but I'm not used to the cold. I moved here for professional reasons, but I would prefer to be back in Cuba enjoying the tropical climate that I was born in.

Hopefully I'll be able to breathe my last breath there, but that's yet to be seen; however, I can dream about it. Whether it happens or not is a different story, but it's okay to dream. It's better to dream out loud and to express your thoughts and ideas without being afraid of someone turning you in, or coming after you because you said something that the government didn't like, or approve of, or whatever the case may be.

I live in New York City and I have a different groove and a different take on my reality. If I were living in South Florida, there's still a group of people in Miami that are staunchly anti-Castro, anti-communist. They don't want to hear anything other than “keep the embargo” and “we're going to force the Communist Cuban government to their knees”. That has not worked for the last 60 years. It has had some impact, no question, but we can't live in that kind of society. Because we understand that there are only a limited number of countries in the world, North Korea, China, Russia, Vietnam, Cuba and other countries that like to suppress the people's ideas thoughts and comments, you can't do that because a human being has to be able to express him or herself.

Whether it's artistically, politically, scholarly, or educationally, you need to have an open dialogue, which is what I do now. As a college educator, I have an open dialogue. You have to have rules of course, but I allow students to say just about anything that is going to bring the discussion forward and to add to the process. I think ideas are what makes for Re-evolution.

My mom was the daughter of a former prime minister of Cuba and he didn't want to leave. He wanted to stay in Cuba, and he did because he was very proud to stay in Cuba and he said: “I was born here, I'm gonna stay here.” So we left, but my other grandfather, who was a property owner and owned a bunch of hotels and large lots of properties in Cuba, finally left after my dad. My dad was the first of his brothers and sisters to leave, and he took my mom and my two brothers along with us. Then, once we left, the rest of the family left. My mother's father never left, he wanted to stay. My mother's mother left after several years, but she first went to Venezuela, and then from Venezuela, went to Cuba. So that's what happened.

We've got too many walls that we need to tear down. We don't build walls. We need to open up and talk to one another and understand each other. It's bad enough that we don't all speak the same language, but we should at least learn how to get along with one another and understand and respect and love each other. I think that's the key. Not to build walls, and not to enforce embargoes or say “no, I don't want to talk to that person because they are whatever. They are not the kind of individual that I think they should be.” Everybody's different.

I empathize and sympathize with victims, but just because you're victimized, it doesn't mean that you have to victimize others because you've suffered. You know, when you overcome hardships in life in life, it makes you a stronger individual. So we have a connection with people who have experienced difficulties. In our case, we lived through the experience of losing everything and having to leave our country and not knowing where we're going. We didn't know the language and had to learn just about everything. When I came to this country I didn't know who Abraham Lincoln was, or George Washington. I had to learn all of it from scratch, but first, I needed to learn the language because I didn't know how to speak English. So it was a process.

I feel for the people in Cuba because they should have the same opportunities as the people everywhere on Earth. Not just Cuba, but people in North Korea, Russia, Vietnam, and China. I mean, I've been to China several times. I'm married to a Chinese woman and I got to tell you that there is no Facebook in China. There's no Google in China, and there's no Twitter in China. As a matter of fact, I've been writing this blog for the last six years non-stop-- unfortunately, whenever I'm in China, I have to accept that I have limitations and I don't have access to Dose of News. I did not have access to City Images, to Facebook or Google. They have a type of Google: Google China. It's not the same as the Google you and I and everyone else is accustomed to. If you go to Google in China and you search for example, “Tiananmen Square”, you get some beauty shots of the location. There is no mention of the tank man, the young man who stood in front of those tanks and then nobody ever saw him again.

To this day, no one knows what happened to the tank man. You don't hear about any of that. There is the Great Wall of China, which everyone knows about and then there's also the Great Firewall of China, which you can't see, but you can certainly feel. When you are in my case, Shanghai or Ningbo or, you know, Hangzhou or wherever it is, that I've traveled to. So it's a process, and you need to understand that knowledge, wisdom, and ideas come from the free will of conversation, opinions, listening to others, and considering their suggestions and recommendations. So I just want to go back to the beginning of the Acts. There's such a powerful point, but I might have been lost in the question a bit if you could say the story again. If, you know, my family was a victim of the Castro, but you know, just because you're a victim, doesn't mean absolutely victimizing someone else exactly shares your compassion for it. It's true, I came to this country because my family--my mother, my father, and my two brothers--were victims of Castro and the Cuban Revolution, but the people who are still in Cuba, who we left behind, our brothers and sisters are also victims of the revolution because they don't have the freedoms that we have here in the United States.

Now there are some limitations to freedoms in the United States as well, but certainly, there are greater freedoms in this country and in the democratic system than there are in Cuba. So we're both victims, however, just because you've been victimized doesn't mean you need to pass it on and victimize others. You need to have sympathy and empathy for people who share your difficulties, which, by the way, difficulties do make you a much stronger person regardless of what that difficulty is. If you are a smart, intelligent human being, you're going to learn from your difficulties and you're going to make yourself a much better person when you learn from your mistakes. So yeah, you can't. You're not supposed to victimize others just because you've been victimized. You're supposed to understand and sympathize and try to create a situation where other generations and other people are not victimized. Talk to me a bit about what you think Fidel Castro's intention was in starting the revolution and how did he betray the Cuban people? Did he take it too far? Was he well-intentioned at the beginning? Well, you know, that's a very interesting question you pose and it's also a very loaded question. You gotta understand that Fidel Castro was responding to a very difficult situation you had a gentleman named Fulgencio Batista--who was a dictator, no question about it-- and his concept was “we can't live under dictatorship”. However, as it happens in so many other places, the one that I can think of because I worked and reported on it is the situation in Nicaragua. Anastasio Somoza was also a dictator, and he had the Sandinistas that came in, just like the Fidelistas came in, to overthrow the dictatorship, and they made a lot of offers and a lot of promises.

Perhaps you don't really know what was in Castro's mind because he is and was a very complex individual, and killed a lot of people. I mean, when I was a little kid and I was in Cuba, one of the first things Castro did was he executed a lot of Batista's hierarchy on television. I'm like, say, 7 years old, and I'm watching some guy get executed on live TV. I'm talking about live execution. They used to call it out. So they'd line you up in front of a wall and a couple of guys with rifles would shoot you, and you were watching this in real time live on television. It's a message that you're not going to forget for the rest of your life. So what were his intentions? His intentions maybe were to overthrow the dictatorship of Valencia Batista, but I think the way he went around, it may have been faulty, to say the least, because the trials were a sham. If you wanted to call a mistrial, they were just looking to shoot and kill these people; to show the island don't mess with us because we will kill you. Also, you know, it's basically you do as I say or else. So did he have a concept? Yeah, the concept was to get rid of the dictatorship, but then once he really got the dictatorship, was he then going to share the wealth with the Cuban people? That could have been the best solution, but has been reported extensively.

The Castro brothers took some liberties and lived off the lid. Well, let's just put it that way, and with properties and they were not living the same life as the rest of the Cubans. Just like Putin is not living the same life and Kim is not living the same life as North Korea. That's even an interesting situation. There's a lot of people in North Korea that are starving just like the people in Cuba who don't have enough to eat or they'll have the kind of freedoms. Not just freedoms, but the food that they may want or the things that we take for granted that some Cubans don't have because it's not there. Now, they have a good health system. You'd have to have to admit that, but it's not just health you need to be able to enjoy your life. That also involves mental health and the ability to speak your mind. If you get sick, you know you can go to see a doctor who will most likely help you with your malady, but how about if you want to express your opinions? Or if you want to run for public office, and you don't share the same point of view as the government does?

That creates a problem, so it's not that easy. I don't know what his intentions were because I don't know what was in Castro's head or in Raul's head. All I can tell you is that the revolution took the wrong turn and it will help now that the new president of Cuba realizes that and comes to straighten out the ship of Cuba because the way that it's been for the last 60 years against Cuba with the embargo, or against the people of Cuba with the suppression and the oppression of the Cuban government, hasn't been working. Either they need to allow everyone to freely express their ideas and come and go. Why should you be in danger on a raft to cross the Florida Straits to get to the United States, or wherever it is you want to go? If you want to leave the United States, you can leave, you just leave. If you want to leave Cuba, we should be able to leave. If you want to leave North Korea, he should be able to leave and there should be freedom to move, and go, and express ideas, and go wherever you want to go regardless of what the government is going to say or think, or maybe as I said earlier, persecute you. We’re prosecuting you for something you said or did. It's happening. It's happening, not just in Cuba. It's happening in Venezuela, and you see what's going on today. There is no food, and they have oil.

That's it, and it’s the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of. They have oil, but their economy is a mess because you have fat cats living off the wealth and not sharing it with the people. All right, it happens the United States, too, because you've got the 1% that's making a lot of money and the rich get richer, but if you work in the United States, if you want to, you can find a job and you can live comfortably. You may not get rich like some of these people. I won't mention any names, but they know who they are. They're those folks who are the rich and are getting richer, no question about it. That 1%: I could list a few names, but I won't. At least there's the freedom to come and go and to express your opinion, to some extent, and to live. Take your family and worship where you want to worship, and move around and visit family, and if you want to go abroad and go overseas, you can do that without any hesitation. Now, there's a lot of countries that still don't have that freedom. Sounds like we got a jetski, but he's going in the wrong direction. Perfect, so now, could you speak a little bit to your journalism work and turn towards how it relates to Cuba? So have you ever been kind of turned down by Cuban video? Yes, I'm actually true. I am a journalist; I've been a journalist all my life. I've been a journalist all my life, and I love what I do, and I'm passionate about information, content, and getting the story and going after the story. I can't tell you that in all my journalism career, I have tried to go to Cuba several times, and I have been turned down every time that I tried. The first time I tried was many many years ago. I was about to go to Cuba, and I was told that I couldn't go to Cuba and I was literally taken off the plane. I was almost ready to take off on the plane, and I was thinking of the plane because the Cuban government would not allow me to go to Cuba. I tried again when I started teaching as a scholar, and again, I put together a proposal where I was going to do a comparative analysis between the documentaries that were produced in Cuba pre and post-Castro. I was told that I couldn't go, so they turned me down.

I tried again when Barack Obama went to Cuba. During this last time, I sought permission to go to Cuba, and again, I was told that it wasn't going to happen. So I've tried several times. I loved covering the news and I would love to go back to my home because that's where I was born. Yo hablo español perfectamente y me encantarìa regresar porque està en mi alma, está en mi corazòn, ahi esta mi mente. Siempre pienso de Cuba. I tell my wife “you were born in China, you can go back to Shanghai anytime you want to. I cannot return to Havana anytime I want to.” That's the difference; I have my limitations. I cannot go back, but you can, so you should consider yourself very lucky. So let's talk about if you could kind of tell the story of working for TV and kind of what the mission of that was and why even something like that would be thought of as an idea? We're not doing that's Canada. Why is it that although we may kiss cousin uh hey the guy we got in power now is he's going after everybody yeah he's gonna he's probably gonna go after Canada next you know who the hell knows but okay yeah yeah yeah sure It's really interesting. I've worked in the media all my life, and I was working for NBC and I did my internship for The Washington Post in Newsweek Magazine. Then, I went on to work for NBC News. I worked for NBC News for about nine years until they had a strike.

As a result, I had to walk the picket line. I didn't want to do that, so I went to work for an EVC on and that's where my ability to speak Spanish came in. I became executive producer of Una Misión and turned that company from Sin2 when ABC was on and it's taken off. Then I went to work for Telemundo, and under my direction and with the help of a diverse staff of Latinos, we won lots of awards. More importantly, we increased the ratings of Telemundo. Then, I was approached by the United States government. I didn't apply for the job, they sought me out and they said: “we'd like you to come and work for us.” They were looking for a Cubano who had top-level, or what they called “major market media experience” who spoke Spanish and English fluently, but I had to be a Cubano. More importantly, I had to have a clean nose. No priors, or what they call arrests, or any kind of felonies, or even misdemeanor. I needed somebody who had a clean record so that when you're vetted, they think they're gonna find out all this information. So they came; they recruited me, and they offered me this job. I saw it as the Electronic Bay of Pigs. My uncle, who is my godfather, was in the Bay of Pigs and he was a member of the 2506 brigade.

That was my father's youngest brother, who was my godfather. Now, my father was so proud that his youngest son was going to be involved in the Electronic Bay of Pigs. I started and I became the first news director of TV Marti. So again, it was now the propaganda and electronic Bay of Pigs. The US government felt that as radio Marti had done previously that TV Marti could send signals into Cuba and open the eyes of the Cuban people, and thereby, maybe they would stand and revolt or fight back. You know, the idea was to at least make them informed of what was going on to try to open that information highway that was lacking from the get-go. The signal was blocked, so we were only broadcasting a couple of hours a day and at night, and that signal was jammed, so it was very difficult to even be seen when you're broadcasting at night. It really doesn't make sense they should have broadcast during the day, but for whatever reasons, maybe technical reasons or whatever, it was done at night. Well, unlike radio, you can listen to the radio at any time of the day, or night, and nobody knows that you're listening to that radio.

When you're watching TV at night, all you have to do is look in the window and you'll see the light on your end. If the TV's Cuban television is not on the air and you have a television on by looking at somebody's window, and you see the light right away, it's a dead giveaway that the TV is on. So it was a very difficult situation because we were fighting a technical issue where the televisions on were broadcasting at night and people are turning on their TV and the light is on. They can tell that somebody's watching television. On top of that, it was jammed, so I did that for a couple of years until the Bush administration lost the election. The Democrats came in, and even though I am NOT a Republican, I have no political affiliation, when I became a US citizen, they asked me “do you want to register as a Republican or a Democrat?” I said is there a third option? They said, “yeah, it's called NPA this is in Florida which stands for no political affiliation I said that's the one I'll take NPA.” That's me; I want to be NPA and they said: “yeah okay, but remember, you're not gonna be able to vote during primaries.” That's fine. I don't mind not voting in the primaries as long as I don't get a label that says I'm a Republican or a Democrat.

So that's what I became. I became an NPA, but as a result, you're able to now express your views and not have to say “oh you can't say that because you're a Republican you can only support Republican candidates” or “Democrats because you can roof.” In my case, I've been hired by a Republican administration and when Bush lost and Clinton won the election, it was time to wrap it up. It's time to say goodbye, and that's basically the story. So now explain to us a bit of like Jose Marti; who was he, and why do both Cuban Americans or Cuban exiles and Cubans both like him and how did that kind of play into this? Jose Martinez is probably the coolest Cuban that ever walked the face of the earth. I'm sorry, some people may think it's Fidel or Raul, but sorry Fidel in Rome you don't go to that level. Jose, as I said, was the coolest Cuban that ever lived. Why? Jose Marti fought for what he believed in. Jose Marti left Cuba, came to the United States, tried to learn the culture, and tried to organize workers that were not in Cuba, but rather tobacco workers who are in Florida. He was trying to open up the Fronteras, trying to speak with other people and get to understand how others work. He is certainly the father of Cuba, and he is the person who was behind the revolution. Para la Primera, I will say, on Cubana he sought to open up this tyranny that the Spanish had on Cuba, and he wanted Cuba to be a free island of democracy.

Unfortunately, it didn't last for long because at first we were going okay after La Palma and Gomez and other presidents who look at the history of Cuba and were doing their part and so on and so forth, but it got to a point where when Castro had this revolution, it was a reaction to the Fulgencio Batista government, which was certainly, without a doubt, a dictatorship. It was going okay and in a different direction, but then they took a wrong turn and it went from the dictatorship to communist rule which is another form of dictatorship. So we need to get the ship back to steering in the right direction and towards open society and democracy were all Cubans, and for that matter, all peoples of the world can exchange their ideas freely without worrying about being persecuted or prosecuted. So in a way, it seems like even if you're admitting like TV Mufti was propaganda, it's only Cuba was so entrenched in propaganda, that just having a counter-narrative will open people's minds. So maybe if you could talk a bit about that, but also more broadly just about the climate of fake news and misinformation and almost the importance of thinking critically a media literacy.

I think that Radio Marti and Radio Rebelde are extremes. You need to have an understanding of what's really going on and so you can listen to make a value judgment. You can listen to how you might be, but you need to make up your own mind of what's real and you need to read, and you need to listen to others. Not just what's on the media, but also talk to your neighbors, and your friends, and maybe not your friends. It's not just about talking to your friends, it’s about talking sometimes to people that don't agree with your point of view because that's how you grow by hearing other opinions and another person's point of views. In fact, there is a problem now with fake information and what they call fake news that troubles me because it happened prior to the elections and it's still continuing right now. There are channels to the right and to the left, as they call it, that is in my opinion extreme. I have a blog and I like posting information from Fox News and MSNBC. I like to kind of keep it real and mix it up. In the Washington Times, it’s one side the Washington Post and another side I like to get my viewers to when they go to my Twitter feed. They are going to get a mix of different points of view, not just one side or another side. I think it's important if I see an article that I think is legitimate, of course, I try to do some fact-checking and make sure that information is accurate. Although I tell my students I teach journalism in the college level, and I tell my students that the difference between news and views is one letter news starts with an N and views starts with a V, and it’s changing that letter makes all the difference in the world.

When you watch MSNBC or you watch Fox News, I don't care if it's Hannity or Rachel Maddow. There is certainly a point of view in these programs. They are giving their take on certain topics and it's okay to have a point of view, but people need to understand that you are getting a different point of view depending on what channel you watch so you need to be open to all points of views. So that's why I will read The Washington Times, but I will also read The Washington Post and I will watch one channel and then watch another way. It's very important for you as an individual to make up your mind, but also be cognizant of the fact that there's lots of information out there that needs to be fact checked. I think it'll never happen; I think all politicians should be forced to take a lie detector test every time they speak to the public. You know so that when you're talking on TV, there's a needle down there that shows whether you're telling the truth. I think it sounds crazy, but there should be a needle. You know, so you're watching it go and then the needle starts going crazy. Then, you know this person's full of crap, right? They're not telling you. The truth they're telling you is what they think you want to hear or what they think you should do, but it's not about that. At least, you should know when the somebody's pulling your hair, or as they say in Spanish, when they are “tomando el pelo” they're drinking your hair.

Truth is what you experience and in what you feel. There's either truth or there are lies, but what you think is the truth, has to support with data. Then the other person says “I understand, but would you consider this instead?” As opposed to, which is what Cubanos do because we're very passionate and complex, saying You're crazy, or you're communist, and I'm not gonna hear it. No, that's not the answer; the answer is to open up your ears and open up your heart and open up your mind and listen to the opposite side.

There's a song by Willie Chirino that is very telling, and it's been hit song for a lot of years. Ya Viene lleando, and there was a song by Celia Cruz, who is a famous Cuban singer, and that one is Poor See a Castle Nordling, which is my reality and the one that I have to come to grips with because she died in the United States. She wasn't able to return to Cuba; to her home, to her birthplace. So there are two realities: Viene Llegando, or Por Si Acaso No Regreseo. Just in case I do not return, there are two sides and we need to try to see if we can find a happy medium. Tell them “hay que ser una oomba Nancy por que hay gente que no quieren regresar.” There are people who don't want to return until Cuba's free. Ya gente que quiere regresar, como yo. Mike's hearing go siren clima hin tell Mi paìs, yo quiero regresar y no puedo porque el gobierno no me deja. What happened last time when Obama was going to Cuba? I went and reached out to the head of press relations for the Cuban government, and I met with that person and asked: “could I go there?” And they said “well, you know, maybe not this time. Maybe some other time.”

I would love it; I would love to lecture at the University of Havana. I would love to go back to Cuba, and I would love to be able to see my childhood home. I would love to be able to do all of that, but you have to accept realities of life, and that is where I am now. So what is your dream? My dream for the future of Cuba is the same dream as a future of this Earth of the world. That is, for everyone on earth to be able to live their lives in peace and to live within their means as whatever they are but to be able to express themselves in Cuba. People cannot express themselves freely because they have the groups that are listening and they're gonna turn you in or report you or whatever. Everybody in the world should have that freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and freedom of expression. The people in Cuba deserve that, and they've lived under a regime that has not allowed it for 60 years, plus. It's time that changes. Our play is to put in effect so that the situation evolves so everyone in the world can express their feelings and can live their life the way that they see fit. To enjoy your family, to enjoy your freedom, to enjoy the fresh air, to go in the water, and if you want to swim or get in a boat and go to another country, you can do that without worrying about the police stopping you or shooting you. They have flights that go; they at least have the flights. Many flights, called Hermanos Santos Scotty in Miami, they used to fly over Cuba to help people who are fleeing on boxes. This is what happened to Elian Gonzalez. Why should you be in danger because you want to leave the country? You should have the freedom to go to another country if you want to, whether it's the United States, or Spain, or anywhere.

It doesn't matter. Wherever you want to go, you should have the freedom and so I think the people of Cuba deserve total freedom of speech, of movement, of religion, and of thought. When that will happen, it still remains to be seen. My pleasure and I really do wish you lots of luck because a revolution is very important, and having fun with the world, but you know, lo Cubanos salute unless you tell us it is our revolution. I like the concept, especially now, because we have electronic in news and information content. Revolution is very important, and it takes it one step further from what we knew as a revolution from Castro’s la Revolucion Cubana. Fidel Castro may have had a good idea when he started, but he took some wrong turns. They say he attacked people who worked with him like Camilo Cienfuegos who mysteriously disappeared in a plane crash. Where Matos was thrown in prison, these are people who fought alongside a Fidel, and Che Guevara died in Bolivia. There are unanswered questions surrounding a lot of these Cubans who took part in the Cuban Revolution, who are no longer around for reasons that were probably out of those individuals control. Perhaps, there are some of the moves behind-the-scene we don't know about.

The last thing I'm going to leave you with is Castro. When he died, he left the government to Raul. When Raul died, I thought they were going to leave the government to Fidelito, Castro's son. Fidelito was not considered and wound up killing himself, or at least they say he killed himself, but who knows? Who knows what happens? They say he killed himself, but we don't really know because the truth is whatever they tell you, right? But it makes sense that if he then wanted to keep it within the family and he gave it to Raul, which is what he did, than the way sequence could have been. Fidelito was supposedly a very intelligent human being. He was a nuclear engineer, and he had advanced degrees. He wasn't considered for whatever reason, and as a result, he's no longer with us. Fidel died, and Fidelito is no longer with us. They say he killed himself, but he's dead nevertheless, and Raul decided to choose someone out of the family; a non-Castro to run the government. Whether that individual straightens the course of Cuba remains to be seen. Veremos haber si venceremos. We will see if we will overcome; time will tell.

"Guantanamera": The Famous Cuban Folk Song
History of a Folk Song for 'The People' https://www.thoughtco.com/guantanamera-1322497