The thing is, I’m interested in the views of people on all sides – from Bay of Pigs veterans and leaders of Alpha 66 in Miami to Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, above, and die-hard Fidel Castro supporters in his hometown of Birán in western Cuba.
I learn from just about everyone I meet. I’ve sat down with Cuban exiles whose families lost everything after the revolution. I’ve talked to political prisoners, dissidents, priests, independent journalists. And I've interviewed American officials, including several chiefs of the U.S. Interests Section, including Mike Kozak, Vicki Huddleston and James Cason. (Visit their residence in Havana and you'll see an unusual plant, shown above. Scientific name: Cuba Libre (Free Cuba). Popular name: Ojala Algun Dia (I Hope Someday).
I’ve also talked to Castro brother supporters who say they would have never been able to afford medical school if not for free schooling in Cuba. I’ve visited with Cuban blacks who grew up poor and became popular musicians or Olympic gold medalists.
I find some common ground with a lot of the people I interview.
I try to be clear: I’m not joining the Cuban revolution, but I’m not trying to topple it, either.
That doesn’t mean I condone human rights violations and the jailing of journalists in Cuba. And I’ve written about serious issues in Cuba. For instance, see here, here and here. But I respect Cuban sovereignty.
Many bloggers would rather take sides. I know that’s what blogging encourages. That's fine. I admire people of all political stripes who are passionate about Cuba. Wouldn’t it be much worse if no one cared?
But people do care. Passions run deep.
OK, at this point, even my closest family members and loved ones have dozed off. But if you are really into some punishment, the post continues here.