This week on RealClear Radio Hour, I’m joined by three freedom fighters for a discussion of Latin American politics, economics, and culture. We focus much of the discussion on Cuba’s bleak history. Will Cuba become a "Socialist Jurassic Park" propped up by poverty tourists who want to "see it before it changes?" Or is there hope that the long-suffering Cuban people will one day be free from tyranny?
My first guest is Carlos Eire, Yale professor of history and religious studies, National Book Award winner, and author of Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy, who grieves for his native Cuba under the Castro regime. Evacuated to the U.S. during Operation Peter Pan in 1961, Eire shares his frustration and disappointment over the unrelenting repression of ordinary Cubans, President Obama’s failure to demand human rights concessions from Castro’s regime, and the million dollar tourist industry naively propping up the failed state.
Up next is Arturo Sandoval, 10-time Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter and composer, and recent recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from the University of Notre Dame, who shares how he discovered jazz, the Music of Freedom. Sandoval tells how he was jailed in Cuba for listening to the “voice of the enemies,” and how it changed his life. A renowned jazz innovator, with more than 40 albums of varying styles, Sandoval celebrates individuality and the opportunity he found in America after defecting from Cuba.
Wrapping up the show is Dr. Alejandro Chafuen, president of the Atlas Network, analyzing the political situation across Latin America. Chafuen celebrates Latin Americans’ growing rejection of institutional populism, while lamenting the tragic situation in Venezuela, Chile’s retrogression, and the United States’ failure to challenge the Cuban dictatorship.
You can hear the discussion by listening to the full show as-aired on iTunes, or you can check out the podcasts hosted on YouTube and SoundCloud. Make sure to check back next week for another episode of RealClear Radio Hour.