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Latin American perspectives a program of comment and analysis about current Latin American problems and their historical setting. The commentator for these programs is Dr. C. Harvey Gardner research professor of history at Southern Illinois University. Here now is Dr. Gardiner a childish definition of the boundaries of the United States. Once put it this way on the east and west are all went to the north. Things are all right to the south all mixed up. Many were not exactly children go along with the idea that things are mixed up as they contemplate recent events in the Dominican Republic and recent years in the life of Cuba. There has recently been published a volume by Lee Lockwood entitled Castro's Cuba Cuba's Fidel
which is an effort to bring to the attention of this country once more. The man and the way of life on that Troubled Island to the south of us. We have a tendency today to focus attention so thoroughly on Southeast Asia that the area 90 miles to the south of Florida has somehow slipped into the background. We have reached the conclusion that since the missile crisis and since the United States of our effort to strangle Cuba economically by blockade that all is going well. That Cuba is falling apart. That indeed the time is on our side. The work by logwood is based on repeated trips to Cuba. Indeed he traveled there before Castro came to power. He has been there a number of times as a photographer and reporter in recent
years. And most of this volume relates to taped interviews with Fidel Castro in 1965. At that time for weeks that stretched on into months Locke would travel the island and saw talked with Castro repeatedly and finally as Castro's guest on the Isle of Pines was able to tape for three or four consecutive days. The Dictator's responses were to the journalists questions. Important in all of this for a number of things that have previously escaped the usual reporting in our country I would like to give you a sample of the question and answer approach. Lockwood said to Fidel one day. If you had announced that you were a Marxist and openly a spouse of a socialist program while you were still a guerrilla leader in the Sierra Maestra do you think you
still would have been able to come to power to this should all Castro replied. That is not an easy question to answer. Possibly not. It would not have been intelligent to bring about such an open confrontation. I think that all radical revolutionaries in certain moments or circumstances do not announce programs that might unite all of their enemies on a single front. Throughout history realistic revolutionaries have always proposed only those things that are attainable. This then suggests the strategy of programming a revolution. The step by step approach not getting so far in front of your followers that they are lost and not becoming so blatantly opposed to your enemies that they so concentrate as to overwhelm you.
Yet another point good comes forth from the long interviews has to do with the view of revolutionaries. In Cuba people have been talking of revolution for so long. Prior to Castro's revolt against Battista. But the ruling classes paid little if any attention to what they considered sheer verbiage. They believed when Fidel was in the mountains that his was just another program that all revolutionaries change. That indeed all they desire is a change of names and faces at the top of the government that their platform if any is something to get them into power rather than to occupy them once they are there now. With the passage of time then the average revolutionary in Cuban history. Indeed the average revolutionary the world over has tended
to sound radical and then turn out much less radical. In fact indeed becoming on occasion almost done by conservative. With Fidel Castro It has been quite the reverse with the passage of time. His thought and his action became more and more radical. This in turn means that the nature of the Castro revolution finds it different vastly different from most Latin American revolutions instead of superficial changes. The names of the faces the same political system the same economic order the same social structure. Instead of that there has been a fundamental restructuring of the political the economic the social life of a nation. The conflicts between all that the revolution stands for. Fidel went on to say and everything the United States stands for became clear
immediately when they meaning the Americans gave asylum to some of the worst criminals individuals etc. who had murdered hundreds of Cubans. He was referring of course to some of those Battista followers who were in their flight from the island had seen fit to seek sanctuary in this country. The program of Cuban life that drew a great deal of attention from Lockwood and indeed it has drawn even more attention from the Fidel Castro is that of education. When Castro came to power he insists that the rate of illiteracy in the island was roughly 23 percent. I warn you that Cuban statistics like most like American statistics on such matters as literacy are suspect. But even if we accept the 23 percent rate of go literacy
in 1959 it is something to remark when Castro continues to demonstrate that his educational program has no reduced that rate so that there are but fewer than 3 percent illiterate on the island today. This in turn has affected his communication with the public. We for example recall those long tirades that so frequently made news suggesting that he was happy before the camera on almost a daily basis and happy when he stayed before the television camera before the radio microphone. Only for an hour or two or three that he was random and endless in his presentation of news and ideas about the programs. And then of course we've come to realize that no longer does he make those television radio appearances with the frequency that he once did. Nor does he
stay so long before microphone and camera as he once did. As some of course have interpreted this in the American press as an indication that well the revolutionary was just petering out. He has no problem and has come up to the bitter prospect of keeping silent because he has nothing to say. But the Castro interpretation of those two reporter Lockwood suggests that he has not established with the passage of years a measure of. Call it intellectual awareness on the part of his citizen re. They have become attuned to his patterns of thought and the program of the government to such a degree that no longer is the length of the talk such as it once had been. In other words Castro said he talked as long as he did in those earlier years because he was in a teaching role and he was
converting people to a viewpoint having had the most of them. Except that viewpoint it is now a simple matter of communication and it is not one of winning people to his side. Another area that Lockwood saw fit to question Castro about was in the international sphere. And of course this touched upon the missile crisis and matters since then. We of course in this country are thoroughly convinced that it was a great victory when the missiles were removed from Cuba. We are not quite so thoroughly aware of the fact that with this there was such a breach created between Cuba and Russia that something had to be done to bridge the chasm. And Russia did this largely by sending in various types of arms to Cuba of the
non. But this big intercontinental missile variety. In other words Cuba stands today in Latin America as the best armed nation whether one is counting jet planes or 40 ton tanks or machine guns or any other type of military hardware in large measure because the Russians built this area of defense for Cuba to compensate for the removal of the missiles. This of course suggests then that there is a highly militaristic attitude in DDA effort obsessing the Cubans Castro of course makes much of the point that the ratio of our population to his is roughly 30 to one that he cannot. Given that basic weakness afford to have his guard down
he insists and told Lockwood that if a country such as the United States. You can wildly and blindly a rush as deep in as it has in South Vietnam. And that is quite capable of rushing wildly and blindly in his direction and he intends to be ready if such should ever come about. They are. Statement has been made on occasion that Castro is a beatnik that Castro is a bit of a juvenile. This point has been belabored as much as it has in the United States in part because of that beard that he wears it becomes a distinctive feature that has found the person drawing political cartoons emphasizing it. And it's noteworthy that political cartoonists tend to ridicule tend to be little in most of their work.
And so we have ridiculed and belittled to the point of underestimating the maturity of the man and the completeness of the program. We have underestimated the fact that as he is willing to give up 100000 or so people who would like to get aboard a plane and come to the United States we have underestimated the fact that this makes us in directly his best friend by removing him from Cuba. The only government that could possibly challenge him from within. We have said publicly elsewhere that we will not challenge where we are from without we will not invade. And now we remove those who might challenge him from within. And so we are in effect the consolidators of the revolution. The pictures that show him the baseball player suggest that he is a man with excellent control with a little on the ball. Our reporter says he has excellent political control and a lot on the ball.
Latin American perspectives
Producing Organization
WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on issues in Cuba.
Series Description
A series of comment and analysis about current affairs in Latin American countries.
Global Affairs
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Host: Gardiner, C. Harvey (Clinton Harvey)
Producing Organization: WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Producing Organization: Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-3-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:13:53
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Chicago: “Latin American perspectives; Cuba,” 1967-11-22, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 3, 2023,
MLA: “Latin American perspectives; Cuba.” 1967-11-22. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 3, 2023. <>.
APA: Latin American perspectives; Cuba. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from