CNN reporter moves to Havana, discovers the reality of life in communist Cuba

A new book by CNN reporter David Ariosto details the reality of life in communist Cuba. As CNN’s “Man in Havana,” Ariosto quickly learned the Cuba portrayed in the media (including CNN) has nothing to do with the real Cuba.

Ariosto also learned how the Castro dictatorship censors foreign correspondents stationed on the island. They live and work under the constant threat of losing their credentials if they report negative stories about the apartheid Castro regime.

No doubt, this is why you’re reading about his experiences in a book he wrote after leaving Havana and didn’t see them on CNN.

Via USA Today:

CNN’s man in Havana opens a door to island nation in ‘This Is Cuba’

These days, a visit to Cuba conjures up romantic strolls to see the picturesque buildings of Havana or tooling around in 1950s American jalopies amid strains of some of the world’s best live music.

But the reality is different for those who actually live there.

“This Is Cuba,” a memoir by journalist David Ariosto (St. Martin’s Press, 273 pp., ??? out of four), goes deep behind the sugar-cane wall of an island nation where resilient yet poor people have struggled to eke out decent lives under the iron fist of Fidel Castro and later, his brother Raul.

Like North Korea, Cuba clings to communism long after most of the rest of the world has left it behind.

Ariosto arrived in Havana for CNN in June 2009, stayed through 2010 and continued to see glimpses of island life by returning on occasion. The phrase “This is Cuba” was the response he received when he asked why life there so often defied logic.


What is life like in Cuba? Observations from Ariosto’s book:

1. Spies are everywhere.

At least that’s the impression foreigners get when they take up residence in Havana. When Ariosto is lucky enough to score a smuggled-in satellite dish, illegal at the time because it allowed Cubans a window into the larger world, a nosy neighbor across the street not only tells him she knows about it, but wants to tap into his wi-fi as well. All she needs is the password. Not knowing if she’ll rat him out, or if the whole neighborhood will end up sharing it, he refuses.

2. Chronic shortages, even toilet paper.

Whether it was toilet paper, soy sauce or Godiva chocolates, every time Ariosto left Cuba for home leave or other assignments, he took along a shopping list of items from other correspondents. Supermarkets could be out of necessities for weeks at a time. The favorite substitute for toilet paper? Pages of the government-run newspaper, which he took as an analogy for what people thought of the quality of news they received, with access to much of the outside world off-limits.


5. Information is tightly controlled.

How? Not directly. That would bring cries of censorship. Instead, correspondents must seek credentials from the government. If the government doesn’t like the writer or broadcast, the threat forever looms that credentials may not be renewed.

Read the entire article HERE.

2 thoughts on “CNN reporter moves to Havana, discovers the reality of life in communist Cuba”

  1. There’s no need for toilet paper in a shithole; it’s actually incongruous. Let the savages embrace their reality.

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