“If this Revolution falls, what we will have here in Cuba is a hell,” Fidel Castro said in Havana in 1959. “Hell itself.”
Castro was 32 when he made the proclamation during an interview recorded just weeks after the overthrow of dictator Fulgencio Batista. The new Cuba was still taking shape after the revolution led by the 26th of July Movement. Castro spoke extensively about his vision for Cuba during a 35-minute interview with an American journalist that has never been heard publicly until now.
The interview was discovered a few years ago when Laura Galloway found a tape in her late grandfather’s archives that simply said “Galloway/Castro.” Clark Hewitt Galloway was the intra-American affairs editor for U.S. News and World Report. Galloway covered Latin and South America for the magazine after serving in the same region with the U.S. Army Intelligence corps during WWII. Blank on Blank’s new episode for its PBS series animates the story behind the tape and a collection of outtakes from the interview. Castro talks about: why Che Guevara, Raul Castro and the 26th of July Movement were not Communist; and why Cuba had issues with the American presence in the Guantanamo Naval Base and, specifically, American sailors stirring up trouble while out on the town in Guantanamo.
Blank on Blank has also posted the entire 35-minute interview in Spanish with the English translation by Sebastian Betti. During the full interview, Castro goes into great detail about how the Cuban economy would be rebuilt and how the agrarian reform plan would be put into effect. He disputes whether American interests in Cuba would be nationalized. And he downplays the idea of being asked to be a presidential candidate.
The release of this unearthed interview comes as Castro’s brother, Raul, just gave a lengthy speech about the demise of Cuban culture and conduct despite what the revolution has brought to the country.