Cuba's Post-Castro Future

{Transition Is Near}
{Again Pitting Miami vs. Havana}

     Chuck Gomez is a former Emmy award-winning journalist who is now a notable playwright. He is shown here in 2012 in a hospital room recovering from quadruple bypass heart surgery, but he is healthy now and just returned from an insightful visit to Cuba. In a long article this week {Feb. 11th}, published internationally by The Huffington Post/The World Post, Chuck detailed his observations of the island that has always been very dear to him. I would advise everyone to dial up that article online and, if so, you will be rewarded with an honest appraisal of Cuba in this pivotal year of 2016 as President Obama, in the closing months of his two-terms in the White House, tries to normalize relations with Cuba and, in fact, has already made monumental strides, such as reopening embassies in Havana and Washington for the first time since 1961 and even slicing doggedly into the cruel U. S. embargo of Cuba that has existed since 1962. But the Batistiano-dictated U. S. Congress will continue to fight Obama all the way and in this presidential election year a Batistiano-loving Republican like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz might very well, unfortunately, be elected the next President. Since the Cuban Revolution in 1959, remnants of the transplanted Batista-Mafia dictatorship have dictated America's Cuban policy as well as the Cuban narrative in the U. S. Thus, rarely do Americans get access to an unbiased view of either Cuba or U.S.-Cuban relations. But Chuck Gomez is a rare bird and his article this week began with these gripping words:
             "I returned from a magic-carpet-ride-of-a-trip to my parents homeland -- Cuba. I felt a mixture of optimism and sadness. I felt optimism that renewed relations between the U. S. and Cuba could bring changes for the Cuban people who have suffered so much for so long. And I felt sadness for what has been allowed to dissipate in this once splendorous land -- the tropical paradise of our collective dreams. A faded Havana -- her cloak now in tatters, her visage emaciated -- greets visitors. Crumbling facades in pastel hues look like they may simply disappear in the sea. The sea that separates us. But along the Malecon seawall, in the laughter of young people, there is a sense of hope..."
       Chuck Gomez used this photo to illustrate his aforementioned article, especially that heart-wrenching sentence that bears repeating: "But along the Malecon seawall, in the laughter of young people, there is a sense of hope." If, indeed, the young people of Cuba have hope, I believe it depends on how earnestly they support their young, influential leader -- Cristina Escobar. She, to my reckoning, is the only force that can enable her young-adult generation of Cubans on the island to predicate Cuba's post-Castro future. If they fail, that future will be predicated by Miami Cubans, a right-wing U. S. Congress, and by a possible viscerally anti-Cuban Republican -- Bush, Rubio or Cruz -- replacing President Obama in the White House. Therefore, assuming that Ms. Escobar is that significant {I think you can make that assumption}, permit me to provide some profiles of her.
      The most important contemplations right now about Cuba's impending post-Castro future probably resides in the crucial thoughts of Cristina Escobar. She is Cuba's top broadcast journalist and, at age 28, she is hugely influential on the island with the young adults. She is fiercely determined that her generation of Cubans on the island, not Cubans and their acolytes in Miami or Washington, will predicate Cuba's post-Castro future. Brilliant as a television anchor and awesomely intelligent, Cristina strongly supports "The revolution that Jose Marti tried against Spain and the revolution Fidel Castro led against America and the Mafia." Widely sought after by U. S., regional and international journalists, you can observe her views, expressed in Spanish and English, on YouTube and in the recent Tracey Eaton interview you can hear her say, "I don't want the U. S. to bring me democracy." If democracy is in Cuba's post-Castro future, she wants only Cubans on the island, not in Miami and Washington, to make that decision. She is, in fact, as adamant about Cuba's sovereignty as...Jose Marti and Fidel Castro. In that endeavor, there are a lot of young-adult Cubans on the island who will support her...come what may, and a lot will come from Miami and Washington.
      Cristina Escobar is a superstar broadcast journalist. She is Cuba's main news anchor and also a prime host of the island's popular Round Table nightly program. Highly educated and fluent in English as well as Spanish, she is an expert on Cuba's international relations, especially with the United States. As such, she is overwhelmed with requests to interview her. But she is quite busy with her programs on Cuban television. The banner above promotes Cristina's regional news program in English on the Telesur network. Her journalistic travels include visits to California in 2014 and Washington in 2015. In the U. S. capital to cover the last Vidal-Jacobson diplomatic session, Cristina made history and headlines when she fired six pertinent and pro-Cuban questions at a White House news conference hosted by President Obama's chief spokesman Josh Earnest. Her brilliance, and perhaps her audacity, impressed Washington's most famed veteran journalists, including NBC's Andrea Mitchell who made it a point to congratulate the new face of Cuba. Cristina graciously surprised Andrea Mitchell with this reply: "Thank you so much. I have admired you as a broadcast journalist all my life." If someone from Miami or Washington like Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz are not the future faces of Cuba, Cristina Escobar will remain the face of Cuba for years to come. She is bound and determined that she and her generation of young Cubans on the island will "save and improve on the revolution." She defiantly says, "I don't want the U. S. to bring me democracy." You can hear her say such words on two newly posted videos on YouTube based on interviews journalist Tracey Eaton managed to obtain on a January trip to the island. She doesn't need Teleprompters, which she doesn't even use as a television anchor. To know Cuba, you need to know her. In the Eaton interviews you will note she speaks forcefully and eloquently about Cuba and the U. S. as long as the cameras keep rolling. But beyond all that, it's Cristina Escobar's camaraderie and influence with Cuba's young-adult generation that probably gives her the edge...over even Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz...to remain the new Face of Cuba. 
       When she is not on television as Cuba's most popular news anchor, Cristina Escobar is mostly with her friends. This photo shows them after a hike to the top of Cuba's highest peak, 7,200 feet atop Turquino Peak to visit the Jose Marti statue. That's Cristina in the lower-central just above the left shoulder of her friend Lisandra Farinas who is wearing the green blouse and hat. Cristina is hunched down at the right elbow of the kneeling and hatless Jorge Hernandez Alvarez. If Cristina has her way, and well she might, young Cubans like these will decide Cuba's post-Castro future, an impending event as Fidel approaches his 90th birth and Raul is almost 85. It may come down to Cristina...or Miami and Washington.
       Still atop Turquino Peak, can you spot Cristina? That's her in the sunglasses third from the left right above the girl wearing eyeglasses and the green hat. Cristina's friend Lisandra Farinas is at the top in the red blouse pointing up at the Marti statue. Outings with friends like these "refurbish my engine," she says.
         Cristina Escobar with young friends discussing Cuba's future. That's Cristina in the upper-left holding her right hand up to her hair. Lisandra Farinas is sitting in the lower-left right beside the young man.
 Christina, on the left, is shown here attending a graduation ceremony. 
In the black dress beside Cristina is Dalia Delgado.
Cristina, in the upper-center, swimming with friends.
That's Patricia Sanchez Peres on the right.
Cristina in the front-center in white, with Claudia Fonseca Sosa on her left.
Cristina Escobar relaxing at home in Havana.
Cristina Escobar, cover girl.
Cristina Escobar, anchorwoman.
YouTube image of Cristina during last month's Tracey Eaton interview.
Cristina critiquing her taped newscast.
Cristina emotional during this heartbreaking street interview.
Cristina Escobar, a bit sad.
Cristina, smiling for a studio photograph.
Cristina, a pensive studio photograph.
Cristina, a satisfied smile.
Cristina, bashful when studio photographer complimented her "naturalness."
Cristina being interviewed by CCTV America.
Cristina being interviewed by Telesur network.
Cristina, stopped for an interview.
Cristina, in pink in the first row, is happiest when with her friends.
Cristina, getting primed to conduct an interview for her newscast.
Cristina getting ready to conduct that interview.
Cristina, conducting on-set interview with Professor Jorge Hernandez.
Cristina asking Josh Earnest one of her six questions at the White House.
Cristina stopped for an interview after the historic White House news conference.
{Unfazed in the Washington parking lot, this is on YouTube}
Cristina, back in Havana as the island's telegenic news anchor.
Cristina, studying her notes before the camera's red light comes on.
The face of Cuba's future, maybe.
If it's not Cristina's, it likely will be these.
She's a long-shot, but also a formidable one.
Cristina: "Cubans in Miami and Washington must never dictate to us Cubans."
{If Cuba has a future, it's Cristina Escobar}
If she loses, Cuba and America both lose.

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