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Resource January 12, 2017

Meet the Journalists: Nick Schifrin and Zach Fannin in Cuba


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While many in Cuba mourn the passing of Fidel Castro, others are more than ready for change.

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Fidel Castro's remains are transported 500 miles from Havana to Santiago. The image shows an open car pulling a trailer holding his remains, surrounded by flowers.
The remains of Fidel Castro traveled along a 500 mile journey from Havana to Santiago, his final resting place—the exact reverse journey Castro took when he launched his 1959 revolution. Image by Zach Fannin. Cuba, 2016.

PBS NewsHour takes us to Cuba after Fidel Castro's death to report on the cruelty and charisma that the former president used to dominate his country for half a century. Along the route that his ashes traveled from Havana to Santiago, multiple generations of Cubans express none of the Castro loathing heard in the United States—only love. But outside the cities, impoverished Cubans who feel more free to criticize their government say the economic promises of the revolution have not been fulfilled. Dissidents describe how Cubans can criticize the government, but only generically, and not in public demonstrations. That doesn't mean, though, that Cubans haven't figured out ways to evolve. Cubans trade hard drives full of the entertainment unavailable to them online or on television. And half a million Cubans have joined the private sector, making exponentially more than government employees and, in so doing, are challenging the revolution's socialist principles. Moving forward, the Cuban government will need to maintain the safety net of free education and health care that so many Cubans hold up as the revolution's greatest legacies, but at the same time ease widespread economic frustration that Castro's policies helped create.