Last night, Phil Peters, Cuba expert and vice-president of the Lexington Institute (and blogger), appeared on Spanish-language TV with Maria Elvira Salazar. The televised interview was part of Salazar's new show called Maria Elvira Live!, which, in fact, is no different than her last show "Polos Opuestos," which was no different than her show before that called "Maria Elvira Confronta." Despite the name changes, Maria Elvira Salazar has always provided the same content: more in favor of anti-Castro views.
Every now and then, Salazar brings in guests with views that counter hers and the majority of her guests (and then criticized by Radio Mambi callers). Last night it was Phil Peters turn, but he got cheated. You see, Salazar views Fidel Castro very poorly (unlike most of Latin America), thus she enjoys guests that share her views and also gives them as much television time as possible (sometimes the entire 1-hour show). Phil Peters only got 30 minutes. Here's how it went.
Salazar spent considerable time asking Peters about Raul Castro (and his mention of the marabu in one of his speeches), and even asked Peters TWICE (like she couldn't believe what she was hearing) if Raul Castro is really a potential reformist. Peters was very patient in repeating his answer.
Then, there was a revealing exchange where Salazar played the "devil's advocate" responding to Peter's belief that the US embargo should be lifted. The questions that Salazar posed to Peters were not just for argument's sake, but most likely her own questions based on her hard-line position:
- Why allow unrestricted travel to Cuba when tourists from Europe and Canada have not caused any political change in Cuba? (This same question also applies to trade with Cuba.)
- Why allow trade with Cuba now and "give oxygen" to the totalitarian regime?
These are some of your typical questions from hard-liners that Peters last night answered clearly, honestly and to his best abilities. (His Spanish may be even better than mine.)
But best of all, Peters was confident enough in his position of Raul Castro being an economic reformist that he predicted some change in Cuba by Raul Castro this time next year. Salazar made sure to note it. Especially for Marzo Fernandez.
[Watch the interview]