Cuba and the Cameraman (2017) - full transcript

Life in Cuba for three struggling families over the course of 45 years, from the cautious optimism of the early 1970s to the harrowing 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union and the 2016 death of Fidel Castro.

[horns honking]

[Raúl Castro in Spanish]
Dear Cuban people.

With profound pain,
I must inform our people...

Fidel Castro Ruz,
our Commander-in-Chief, died.

[Jon Alpert] Very few people out.

Few people on the streets.

The street is practically empty.

We're in mourning.

[crowd chanting in Spanish]
Fidel! The giant!

Eternal Commander!

[in English]
We're here at Fidel's memorial service.

[crowd chanting in Spanish] I am Fidel!
I am Fidel!

[Jon in English] None of these people
have ever been in a Cuba without Fidel.

I've never known a Cuba without Fidel.

[in Spanish] What do you think
about this moment?

[in Spanish]
Fidel is the greatest of all time.

Fidel, you'll be in our hearts forever.

Fidel will always be with our people.

[in English] When I first came here,
cell phones weren't invented

and I was in my early 20s.

I've been coming back for five decades,

making friends with everybody,

trying to tell the story of Cuba.


[speaking Spanish]

[all exclaiming]

-[speaking Spanish]
-[Jon exclaims]

-[Jon speaking Spanish]

[crowd clamoring]

[exclaims and laughs]

[in English] It's a home run for Fidel!

[speaking Spanish]


[indistinct chatter]

[speaking Spanish]

-Is this the beginning of the tape?
-[man] Yeah.

[Jon] It's the early '70s.

We're experimenting
with the first generation of video cameras

that were rolling around New York City.

[indistinct chatter]

[Jon] We started filming
what was wrong with our community.

[crowd chanting] No contract, no work!
No contract, no work!

[Jon] We interviewed taxi drivers
striking for fair pay.

What do you think about this contract?

-It stinks. Why is it bad?

The boss is getting everything,
we get nothing.

Don't take my picture.
Don't take my goddamn--

[audio distorts]

I'll bust that over your head!

[crowd shouting]

The bylaws say four minutes.

You owe me that courtesy.

[Jon] We documented how the school board
dealt with the demands of angry parents.

[crowd shouting]

[Jon] Our early films
tried to make things better.

-[siren blaring]
-Fighting for better housing.

I'll let you see
the condition of this building,

why it's unfit for anybody to live in.

Now this is the back.

It's really disgusting
if you have to live like this.

-Enough to make you sick, right?
-[flies buzzing]

[sewing machines whirring]

[Jon] We were exposing
the sweatshops in Chinatown.

[woman] It is unfair
because we made these pants for 12 cents,

but I saw these uptown,
it sells for about $13.

[doctor] I need another connector on this.
You got another EKG?

[Jon] And we were exposing the dangers
of budget cutbacks in our hospitals.

[machine beeping]

Give me a connector from that one.
These connectors are no good.

[monitor beeping]

All right, let's call it.

[indistinct radio chatter]

[Jon] Just over the horizon,
down in Cuba...

there was a Revolution going on.

[crowd cheering]

We heard that
Fidel Castro was implementing

the social programs we were fighting for
in New York.

Free health care,

universal education

and housing for everyone.

[crowd cheering]

[in Spanish] We are fighting

so our workers aren't beholden
to American millionaires.

[crowd cheering]

They can't stand
that we've made a socialist revolution

right under the nose of the United States.

[crowd cheering and chanting]
Fidel! Fidel! Fidel!

[John F. Kennedy in English] The Cuban
people were promised by the Revolution

an end to economic exploitation.

They have received a police state.

And I can assure you
that Cuba shall one day be free again!

[cheers and applause]

[Jon] The United States tried to wall off
and weaken Cuba

with military action
and economic blockades.

By 1972, hundreds of thousands
of Cubans had fled the Revolution.

What are conditions like in Cuba?

[speaking Spanish]

[in English] Very bad.
Every day gets worse.

[Jon] There were so many
passionate opinions, pro and con,

that we wanted to see
the Revolution for ourselves.

We hitched a ride on this sailboat

and took our cameras down to Cuba.

The first friends that we made
were the Borregos.

They lived on a small farm outside Havana.

[Jon in Spanish] Cristobal,
how old are you?

[in Spanish] I'm 64.

[Jon] Who are these guys?

[Cristobal] This is my brother Ángel.

And this is my brother Gregorio.

[Jon] And your sister Lilo?


-[bones crack]

[in Spanish] We've always been peasants

and have always produced our own food.

[Jon in Spanish]
Gregorio, why do you do this?

We do this

so the bananas prosper.

Pruning makes them stronger.

-[speaking Spanish]
-[both laughing]

[Jon in Spanish]
Cristobal, what are you doing?

[in Spanish] I'm clearing rocks
from government land.

[Jon] Do you get paid for this work?

No. I volunteer.

It's my way to help the Revolution.

It's for the good of the country.

-[indistinct chatter in Spanish]

[Jon] Gregorio, when work's over,
what do you do?

I like to drink and party and sing.

It's only natural. [laughs]

I have my little bottle with me,
and can't live without it! [laughing]

What's happening?

Got any beer?

No beer.

We'll have to drink rum.

-Real rum!
-Drink up!

[in Spanish]
♪ We have visitors from afar ♪

♪ We are very happy ♪

♪ To have them here ♪

♪ Sharing good times and singing ♪

♪ Let me tell you about
My deepest feelings ♪

♪ They come from my indecent instrument ♪


[Jon in English] Hey!

Down the road from the Borregos' farm

is one of the schools
built by the Revolution.

[Jon] Hey, kids! [whistles]

[students cheering]

[in Spanish] I can mechanize the process,

but I need to internalize how it works.

-[Jon speaking Spanish]
-[speaking Spanish]

[Jon in English] What class is this?

[in Spanish] Genetics.

-[Jon] Genetics?
-[in English] Biology.

-[Jon] Biology. Uh-huh.

It's molecular biology.

[Jon] You kids understand this?

[all] Yes!

[Jon] They understand molecular biology?
Are you kidding?

[in Spanish] What do you want to be?

-[speaking Spanish]
-[Jon in English] You want to be a doctor.

Good to have a doctor in the family.
How about you?

[in Spanish] Engineer.

[Jon] My friend here?

-[speaking Spanish]
-[Jon] You want to be a psychologist.

Did you finish?

-[Jon] You want me to leave?
-No, no. [chuckles]

[Jon] Okay, kids. Enough fun.
Back to biology.

-[all] Bye.
-[Jon] Nice talking to you.

[Jon] To go with the education,
they're building thousands of apartments.

Are you building more
than before the Revolution?

[in Spanish] Much more.

[man in Spanish] We are ensuring
that all workers have a home.

[Jon] All Cubans have access
to free health care.

[Jon in Spanish] How much does this cost?

[in Spanish]
They don't charge me anything.

-I only have to thank them.
-[Jon in English] Just thank them.

[speaking Spanish]

[Jon] Fidel's paying
for these social programs

with subsidies and support
from the Soviet Union,

and betting everything
on the success of the sugar harvest.

[Jon in Spanish]
Why do you cut cane for a living?

[in Spanish] Because I never had
the opportunity to study.

[Jon] And your kids?

All of my kids go to school.

All seven of them. [laughs]

[Jon] Do you go to school?

Yes. All of us.

[Jon] What do you want to do
when you grow up?

I want to be a veterinarian.

-[Jon] And you?
-A teacher.

[Jon in English] And you?

A nurse.

[Jon in English] It's 1975,
and the Revolution seems to be working.

The state-owned stores are stocked up.

[in Spanish] How has this street changed?

[in Spanish] Well, this year...

the street turned out great
and there are lots of nice things.

[Jon] What types of things?

A shoe store.

A pizza shop.

And other interesting things.


[Jon in Spanish] What's that for?

[in Spanish] Mayonnaise for salad.

Cider to toast our first Congress.

[Jon in English] It's 16 years since
the start of the Revolution.

Fidel convenes
the first Communist Party Congress.

[crowd cheering]

Are we rolling?

We scramble to record
Fidel's 20-hour speech.

[chanting] Fidel! Fidel!

[in Spanish] Thank you, comrades,
for your efforts.

In the name of the Central Committee,

we embrace you.

Our country or death! We will triumph!


[all chanting] Fidel! Fidel!
Fidel! Fidel! Fidel!

[in Spanish] Do you like Fidel?

He's our great leader and prime minister

who's guided us since the Revolution.


[in English] Today, TV filmmaker
Jon Alpert brought in his crew.

This baby carriage
containing your equipment

helped get your exclusive interview
with Fidel Castro? That so?

[Jon] This equipment's so heavy,
we couldn't carry it.

We had to put it in the baby carriage.

We noticed Fidel began watching us.

I don't think he'd seen
anything like this.

Because of his curiosity,
we wound up with the first interview

he's given to American journalists
in two years.

[in Spanish] Who carries this, you or her?

[man in Spanish] It's really heavy.

[in English] Do you have a message
for the people of the United States?


[in Spanish] Always a message
of friendship for the people of the US.

For their hardworking spirit,

their intellectuals and workers,

for their scientific
and technical advances.

We really wish them the best of luck.

As far as their government,

there is no love lost between
the Cuban and US governments.

[indistinct chatter in Spanish]

[speaking Spanish]


[Jon in Spanish] What are their names?

He's named Diamond.

And he's Grain of Gold.

He's gentle, but that one is wild.

He doesn't like being touched.

[Jon in English] This one's nice.
That one's wild.

[Cristobal in Spanish] He's got
his eye on you. [chuckles]

[Jon in English]
Do you have a problem with thieves?

[in Spanish] I lock it just in case.

That's why you lock it up, huh?

They can't get to it.


[Jon in English] Cristobal.
Nothing ever changes here.

Have you considered leaving the farm?


-[speaking Spanish]
-[Jon] You have your brothers?

-[speaking Spanish]
-[Jon] Your house.

I've got my plants and my soil.

He'd like water,
but they won't install it.

[Jon in English] What else do you want?

-[speaking Spanish]
-[Jon] You'd like electricity.


We'd welcome...

whatever they give us.

[Jon] Well, I want three things.

One, I want my wife to try the rum...

[speaking Spanish] Mmm.

[Jon] ...and my daughter to ride the goat.

And three, I want to beat you
in arm wrestling.


[people clamoring in Spanish]


How old are you? [speaking Spanish]

[in English] Seventy.


[in Spanish] I'm not leaving yet.

I just want to say hi.

[John Chancellor]
This is NBC Nightly News.

Cuba's Fidel Castro is coming to New York
to address the United Nations.

His trip will be a serious problem
for America's security people,

since there will be many
anti-Castro demonstrations.

There was just one American
on that plane with Fidel Castro,

from Havana to New York City.

He is freelance journalist Jon Alpert.

[in Spanish] What do you want to ask?

[Jon in English] When you travel
to a place like New York

where people have announced they want
to kill you, are you afraid?

[speaking Spanish]

Are you afraid?

-[speaking Spanish]
-[camera clicking]

[interpreter in English]
I am of the following opinion.

[speaking Spanish]

Nobody dies before his time comes.

-[continues speaking Spanish]
-[interpreter] So I am calm.

[interpreter] I know I am going to die.
I just don't know when.

[Jon] They say that you never take
your bulletproof vest off.

[interpreter speaking Spanish]

-[speaking Spanish]
-[interpreter in English] What vest?

[Jon] Everybody says you always
have a bulletproof vest.

[interpreter speaking Spanish]

-[Jon laughing]

[speaking Spanish]

[in English]
I will land in New York like this.

[speaking Spanish]

[interpreter] I have a moral one.
A moral vest.

-[continues in Spanish]
-[interpreter] It's strong.

[speaking Spanish]

That one has protected me always.

[in Spanish]
The landing gear is coming down.

We're landing already?

[indistinct announcement over PA]

-[Jon] Thank you.
-[woman] Thank you.

[Jon] Welcome to New York, Fidel.

[speaking Spanish]

[Jon speaking Spanish]

[indistinct chatter]

[man 1 in English]
Everybody back inside, please.

[man 2 in Spanish] We have to get back.

[Jon] Back inside?

[man 3 in Spanish] This is strange.

[man in English] Return to your seats.
Have your documents available.

[Jon] Where are you from?

US Customs.

The president should fill it out?

Someone can do that for him.

-[Jon] It's incredible, isn't it?
-I think so.

[in Spanish] Don't fucking fill mine out.

[in English] This is outrageous.

This is outrageous. This is the only word.

[Jon] Why do they do this?

I don't know.
I don't know who to blame for this.

[in Spanish] Did they ask for your papers?

The American journalist captured
this whole mess.

That wasn't part of the plan.

[Jon chuckles]

[sirens blaring]

Castro has not been seen
since he arrived in New York.

He has remained at the Cuban Mission
in Midtown Manhattan

under the tightest security
ever seen in New York.

[people chanting in Spanish]

Yes to Cuba!

We don't want communism!

Down with Fidel!

Fidel Castro is surrounded
by an army of security people,

but Jon Alpert managed
to get into the mission

for an exclusive visit with Castro.

-[Jon] Good morning.
-[in English] Good morning.

[speaking Spanish]

-[in Spanish] You have a new assistant?
-[Jon in Spanish] My wife.

How are you?

And the baby?

Very well.

[Jon in English] Listen, Fidel.

What do you think about the demonstrators?

[interpreter speaking Spanish]

[speaking Spanish]

[interpreter in English]
I admire those against...

[interpreter] because they are active.
They move around. They work.

And I thank those who are in favor of me.

I admire them more.
They are more courageous.

-[Jon] Have time to show us your room?
-[speaking Spanish]

[interpreter in English]
Yes, but I'll have to leave soon.

And the room is in disorder.

-[Jon in English] You clean it yourself?
-[interpreter speaking Spanish]

-[speaking Spanish]
-[interpreter in English] I really don't.

[speaking Spanish]

[interpreter] The proof... it's not clean.

-[Fidel speaking Spanish]
-[interpreter] The living room.

-[Jon] What have you read?
-[speaking Spanish]

[interpreter] I was reading this.

-[Fidel in English] Daily News.
-[interpreter] Daily News, for instance.

[Jon] That's a nice photograph.

-[interpreter and Fidel speaking Spanish]
-[interpreter in English] I think it is.

-[speaking Spanish]
-[interpreter] The kitchen.

[Jon] What do you have in the icebox?
You drink beer?

[man] Let me see.

[Fidel speaking Spanish]

[interpreter in English]
There are some beers. Want one?

[Jon] It's too early.

And you shouldn't drink before you speak.

-[interpreter speaking Spanish]

[interpreter in English] True.

[Fidel speaking Spanish]

[interpreter in English]
Want to see the bedroom?

Come inside.

-[interpreter] Here's where Castro sleeps.

[Jon] Some people don't believe
you ever sleep.

[interpreter] I do sleep.

[interpreter] I sleep very soundly.

I forget about all problems.

Of course,
I don't sleep with my clothes on.

[Jon] That's for tonight. We'll film that.

-[interpreter speaking Spanish]
-[laughs, speaking Spanish]

[interpreter in English] If you want.

-[interpreter] If you don't wake me up.
-[Jon] We'll be quiet.

[Jon] Is this your nighttime reading?

[interpreter] I haven't read this yet.

[interpreter] But I plan to.

It's in English.

Maybe I'll practice my English.

-It's time?
-[interpreter] We have to be on our way.

[woman in Spanish] Good luck.

[sirens blaring]

[John] Fidel Castro told
the United Nations

that unless the differences between
the rich and poor countries

are bridged peacefully and wisely,
the future will be apocalyptic.

[in Spanish] Why should some go barefoot

so others can drive their fancy cars?

I speak for the children of the world

who don't even have a piece of bread.

[cheers and applause]

[in Spanish] Where's the journalist?

[interpreter in English]
Where is your boss?

[woman in Spanish] He's at the TV station.

He's there while you guys are here?

-[interpreter] And now you're here.
-[woman] He'll be here later.

-[speaking Spanish]

-[interpreter] You finally came.
-[continues in Spanish]

[interpreter] You sent the women ahead.
And now you came.

[interpreter] What were you doing?
Tell me.

[Jon] Do you really want me to tell?

If you don't mind.

[Jon] I was fighting with NBC.

-[speaking Spanish]
-[interpreter in English] Why?

They didn't want to broadcast your work?

[Jon] Some of the good parts
they wanted to cut.

[interpreter in English]
Why don't we sell it to another channel?

Don't you have competition here
between channels?


[Jon] Seriously, Fidel.

What do you think the reactions will be
to your speech?

I think my speech was constructive.

A speech about peace.

It calls for international collaboration.

[Jon] You're busy.
I don't want to be selfish.

[interpreter speaking Spanish]

[Jon in English] Thank you.

[both speaking Spanish]

-[Jon] Ready to go home?

[speaking Spanish]

[in Spanish]
I'm not going to talk to you now.

I'm going to sit and relax.

We'll see each other later.

[Jon in English] What would you do
if you were mayor of New York?

There's eight million people in Cuba
and in New York.

[interpreter and Fidel speaking Spanish]

[interpreter in English]
If I were mayor of New York...

-the first thing I would do is to resign.

[Jon] Why?

[interpreter in English]
This is a city that cannot be governed.

And also, it has many debts.

When will you come back to Cuba?

[Jon] Are you tired of us already?

[interpreter speaking Spanish]

[in Spanish]
You haven't bothered me at all.

I see us as family.

[Jon] Thanks for your time.

[interpreter in English]
I wish you much success.

Have a good trip back.

Thank you so much.

[people cheering]

[Jon] Fidel's successful visit signals
the possibility of warmer relations

with the United States.

For the first time since the Revolution,

an American national team
is playing in Havana.

["Star-Spangled Banner" playing]

[crowd exclaims]



[Jon] The Cubans squeak out
a 6-to-4 victory.

After the game,

Fidel makes it easier for Cuban exiles
to return and visit their families.

[in Spanish] Have a good trip.

We wish you a happy family reunion.


-[Jon] Are you going to Cuba?

-Have you ever been before?


Who are you going to see
for the first time?

My grandmother.

-Never seen Grandma before?

What does she look like?

-[woman exclaims]

-[Jon] How long's it take to fly there?
-Forty-four minutes.

-[Jon] That's all?

[Jon] How long since you've been to Cuba?

Eighteen years, and my sister, 19.


Oh, my God. Oh, my God.

-[all exclaiming]
-Look at my mother! My mother, my mother!

Oh, my God! Look at her!

[speaking Spanish]

[all shouting]

[indistinct chatter in Spanish]

My brother! My brother! My brother!

-[speaking indistinctly in Spanish]

[woman 1 in Spanish]
What would you like, Mom?


[woman 2] It's called Fire.

Mm! [speaking Spanish]

[in English] My God, beautiful!

[Jon] The dollars and gifts coming in
with visiting relatives from the US

fuels a desire for consumer goods
that the Revolution cannot accommodate.

The US State Department office in Havana

is swamped with people
trying to leave the island.

[Jon] Why do you want to leave?

[in Spanish] The system. It doesn't work.

[chanting in Spanish] They should get out!
They should get out!

[man] Long live Fidel!

[Jon in English] For the first time
since I've been coming to Cuba,

there's trouble in the streets.

Crowds are attacking people

trying to get into the embassy
and leave Cuba.

[shouting in Spanish]

[in Spanish] She's a prostitute
from my neighborhood.

[Jon in English] Are you sure?

[speaking Spanish]

[crowd yelling]

They should leave.

We don't want them. They're antisocial.

For 21 years, we've given everything.

For our country and for Fidel.

But those people are provocateurs.

[whistle blows]

[people screaming]

[glass shatters]

[whistle blowing]

[Jon in English]
What do you think about this?

Well, I mustn't tell you here, okay?

Just give me a hint.

I applied to leave Cuba, too.

My father and my brothers
and my sister are there in Florida.

I'm waiting.

My father sent a boat to Mariel already.

[Jon] Fidel says if you're not
with the Revolution, it's time to get out.

He opens up the port of Mariel

and allows American boats
to pick up those who want to leave.

[Jon] Why do you want to go?

[in Spanish] I seek freedom.

[Jon] There's no liberty here?

I want to live in a free country.

You want to go to a country that is free.

[Jon in English] What's your story?
Where were you before?

-I was in jail.
-[Jon] You were in jail?

Yeah, before.

Him, too?

-And him?

[Jon] Did the government pick you up
and say, "Come on, let's go"?


[Jon] They just pick you up?


[Jon] Many of Cuba's jails have been
unlocked, and some mental hospitals, too.

Their former residents happily pile
onto the boats.

What type of people did you end up with?

We're getting all kinds.

Crazy people, prisoners.
They say political prisoners.

We got some criminals.

Who knows?

[people cheering]

[Jon] The Mariel Bay boatlift
is the largest movement of refugees

in the shortest period of time
in the history of the two countries.

[Jon] Hey, Cristobal!

[in Spanish] How are you?

-[in English] How are you?
-[in Spanish] Good.

[in English] Still strong.

[in Spanish] Always.

[in English] You look great!

You still got your hair? Whoa!

[in Spanish] It's black.

I'm 80 years old.

-Eighty years old now?

[Jon] Since we left, have you missed
one day of work? Been sick?

[in Spanish] Never.

[Jon] Never been sick.
In seven years?

Not in my whole life.

In your whole life,
you've never been sick.

Not in 80 years.

[Jon in English]
There's all this stuff going on in Cuba.

People leaving in boats.

Any of it affect you?

[in Spanish] My life is always the same.

Always normal.

[Jon] Ángel! Ángel!

[speaking Spanish]

-[Jon in English] Nice to see you.


[Jon] How are you doing?

[in Spanish] We're great.

[both speaking Spanish]

Always strong.

[Jon in English] What's this one's name?

[Gregorio in Spanish] Jet Black.

[Jon] This is Jet Black. Hello.

[Jon in Spanish] The other one?

-[Gregorio] Strong Arm.
-Strong Arm.

-[speaking Spanish]
-[Jon in English] Better than a tractor?

It doesn't mess up the ground.

What's the secret
to your happiness, Cristobal?

[in Spanish]
We're always working and walking.


That's the secret to being
healthy and strong.

[in English] Let's see who's stronger now.
Eighty years old?

[speaking Spanish]

[in English] Eighty against 40 years old.

-Jesus Christ.

[camera clicks]

[Cristobal in Spanish]
The three of us look good.

[Jon in English] This is the street?

[in Spanish] Where is Tacon Street
between Luz and Empedrado?

That's far away.

[man] Do you know her?

[Jon in English] I've decided to look
for a little girl I filmed 16 years ago.

Her name is Caridad.

[Jon in Spanish] Where do you live?

I live on Tacon Street.

You are welcome anytime.

-[Jon in English] This is the place?
-[man in Spanish] This must be it.

I know her.

[Jon in English] You know her?

[in Spanish] Her brother lives upstairs.
But she lives in a housing complex.

[knock on door]

-[Jon in English] Hello.
-[speaking Spanish]

[Jon in English] Do you remember me?

-[Jon] You don't remember me.

[in Spanish] Are you sure?

[in English] I know you!

[in Spanish] But I don't.

-[Jon] Who's this?
-[Caridad] My mom.

[Jon] That's your mother.
Do you remember me?

No. You don't know.

[Jon in Spanish] Where do you live?

I live over there.

On Tacon Street, number six.

Between O'Reilly and Empedrado.

You are welcome anytime.

-[speaking Spanish]

A teacher.

[Jon in English] And you?

A nurse.

[Jon in English]
You said you wanted to be a nurse.

What did you become?

[in Spanish] Well, I was in school.

When I was in 9th grade, I got married.

[Jon] You got married?
[in Spanish] How old were you?

-Fourteen years old.
-[Jon in English] You were 14?

When she wanted to get married,
did you think she was crazy?

[in Spanish] Yes, I did.

[speaking Spanish]

[Jon in English]
You dropped out of school.

You had kids? [speaking Spanish]

[in English] Two kids?

-[Jon] Who's that?
-[Caridad] My children.

[Jon] Those are your kids?

Are you kidding?

This kid's the same age
as when I filmed you.

What's your name?

-[Jon] You're Wilder.

What's your name?

Milady Velasquez González.

Your name is Milady Velasquez González.

-[Jon] We're gonna play baseball?
-[speaking Spanish]

[Jon] Play baseball now?


[Jon] Throw the ball down. Attaboy.

Okay, Wilder!

[Jon] Whoa!

[Caridad speaking Spanish]

[Jon in English] He's strong!

Can you hit?

-[speaking Spanish] No!
-[Jon] Come on! Come on!

[Jon exclaims]

-[Jon in English] What's our snack?
-[Caridad speaking Spanish]

[Jon] A banana milkshake to celebrate.

Since we saw you,

the situation with food has gotten worse,
better or the same?

[in Spanish] I was skinny. Look at me now.


[Jon in English] To our happy reunion
after 16 years.

If I come back in another 16 years,

what would you like me to find?

[in Spanish] That my kids are grown
and have careers.

I want my own house.

And I want us to be happy together.

[Jon in English] I hope it's sooner
than 16 years. Bye!

-Okay, bye. Bye.
-[speaking Spanish]

[in English] Ice cream.

Very good.

[Jon] For Caridad and people well-served
by the Revolution, things seem okay.

But 3,000 miles away,
the Berlin Wall is coming down.

It's the end of the Soviet Union

and their 8-billion-dollar-a-day subsidy
of the Cuban economy.

[in Spanish] We face a difficult
special period.

We have an extraordinary mission.

Save the Revolution in Cuba!

-Save socialism in Cuba.

[Jon in English] Were you surprised to see
what happened in Eastern Europe?

[in Spanish] The whole world is surprised
by what happened.

They're probably making a mistake.

[Jon in English]
How long has the crane been broken?

The crane's been broken for two days now.

[Jon] Do you get frustrated
when things break down?

[in Spanish] I'd like it to be easier.

But not everything in life is easy.

[Jon in English] How long has it taken
to get this far?

You've got the frame built.

-A couple of years.
-[Jon] A couple years?

[in Spanish] Two years?

-Two years.
-[Jon in English] Not fast.

Not fast.

[in Spanish] All this wood came
from the Socialist Camp

and the ships aren't bringing any more.

-[Jon] How long before you run out?
-[in Spanish] One month.

One month.

[Jon in English] You used to get
these chassis from the Soviet Union.

Now you buy them.

Is that a problem?

They want money, cash money.

-That's trouble for you?
-That can be big trouble for us.

You can't buy these?

We cannot buy them.

We will have to confront certain troubles.

Maybe we'll have to shut, close.

[indistinct chatter]

[Jon] When I filmed in 1975,
these shelves were full.

What's for sale now?

[in Spanish] Here we have sugar.

Four pounds per person.

Here we have rice.

-Five pounds per person.
-[Jon] One bag per person per month.

That's it. That's the ration.

What's supposed to be here?

[in Spanish] Canned goods.
For example, Russian beef.

Fruits, sweets, ice cream.

[Jon] It's all gone. Not a big selection.

[man in Spanish] We don't have anything.

[speaking Spanish]

[singing in Spanish]

[Jon in English] He's giving you a song.
Would you rather cheese?

[in Spanish] It's all he can do.
The supply is limited.

[Jon] It's rationed. You can't get more.

Would you like to see cheese more often?

[in Spanish] Yes, of course.

[Jon] When was the last time
you had cheese?

[in Spanish] Around ten days ago.

[Jon] You have a picture of Fidel?


[Jon] You want me to ask him
about the shortages?

[in Spanish] Yeah.

[in Spanish] Look at this crowd!

Good evening. How are you?

[man] Here is
the North American journalist you know.

[Jon in English] How's your memory?
Remember me?

[Fidel speaking Spanish]

[Jon in English] If you could talk
to our new president Mr. Clinton,

what might you say?

[in Spanish] I would say
good morning or good evening.


I would wish him good health and success.

-And I would tell him--
-[Jon] Success for his victory.

[in Spanish] What?

[Jon in English] I'm translating.
I'm doing the best I can.

Fidel, what about the shortages
in the economy?

[in Spanish] Our fundamental problems
are not Europe's problems,

not America's problems.

Our problem is the blockade

and the end of the Socialist Bloc.

85% of our commerce
was with socialist countries.

Especially with the Soviet Union.

Our fuel supply was guaranteed
through this trade.

The collapse of the Soviet Union
is sad and dramatic.

It's a great tragedy
for all those countries.

There are gifts for you, Comandante.

[Jon in English] I broke the blockade.
I brought you the best beer in the US.

-[Jon] The best.

I'm breaking the blockade.

[in Spanish] How strong is it?

[Jon in English] Very strong.

[in Spanish] Thank you.
I feel well-compensated

-for answering all your questions.

You are a talented journalist.

I wish you success

in solving America's
social and economic problems.

[in English] You want us to resolve

the social and economic problems
in the US.

-You wish us success.
-[in Spanish] What?

[Jon in English] I'm translating.

You used to speak English.

[in Spanish] We've received so much
aggression from the USA, I forgot English.

[Jon] You got so much aggression,
you forgot how to speak English.

Fidel, my daughter skipped school
to see you.

Can you write a note to Tami's teachers?

[in Spanish] She's here?

-[interpreter] A note for her teacher.

What's your teacher's name?

[Jon] What's your teacher's name?

[in English]
Which is the name of your teacher?

-[Tami] Señor Krinsky.
-[man] Señor Krinsky.

[in Spanish] How do you spell it?

[Tami] K-R-I-N...


[Tami] S-K...

-[Fidel] K...
-[Tami] Y.

[Tami in Spanish] Thank you very much.

-[Fidel in Spanish] This is for me.

[in English] Do you have a message
for the children in America?

[in Spanish] Greetings to the children.

May they all be intelligent
and charming like you.

[Jon in English] Let me see. It says,
"Please excuse Tami from her absence."

[Jon] Fidel says that you might have
problems getting gasoline

because of the troubles
with the Soviet Union.

What if you can't get gas?

[in Spanish] I'll take the public bus.

Of course.

[Jon] Look at the cars waiting
for gasoline.

It's bad for Cuban people for gasoline.

[Jon] It's really hard. Not enough?

Not enough.

[Jon] Everybody's on bicycles.

[Jon] Where are we going?

[man] We are going to my house.

-[Jon] What's your name?
-[Luis] Luis Amores.

-[Jon] Luis Amores.
-[Luis] Yeah.

[horn honking]

[Jon] What is this big line?

-[Luis] Food.
-[Jon] People waiting for food?

[Jon] Let's go see.

-What's going on?
-[Luis] For fish.

-[Jon] The fish store.
-[Luis] Yeah. Fish store.

[Jon] How much fish can he buy?
How many pounds?

One pound per person.

-[Jon] One per person? For how long?
-For one week.

[Jon] That's it?

[in Spanish] We don't want a lot,
just enough to survive.

-One piece of bread per person.
-[Jon in English] One piece per person...

[speaking Spanish]

One bread per day.

-[Jon in English] Not enough.
-No more.

[Jon] That's all. No more.

-Not enough!
-[speaking Spanish]

[Jon] What can you do?

-[speaking Spanish]
-[Jon in English] No flour.

No. There's no flour.

The bread's no good.

[Jon] The bread's no good?

[woman in Spanish]
It's made from sweet potato.

[Jon in English] It doesn't taste good.
It tastes like sweet potato.


[bell chimes]

[Jon] What does he do?


-He sells drugs?

What type?


-Yeah, really.

[Jon] Who's this?

-Hi, hi.
-My brother.

-Your brother?

[Jon] What's your name?


-So long.
-[Jon] See you later.

[Jon] The people here,
mostly working people?

Poor people.

-[speaking Spanish]
-[Jon] Excuse me.

-I live here.
-[Jon] You live here?

[Luis] I was born here.

-This is my home.
-Your home?

-[Luis] Yeah.
-It's very dark.

My bedroom.

-Your bedroom?

Hey! TV set! Not bad.

-Not bad.

[Luis] Good TV.

[Jon] Nice bed.

[Luis] Good for me.

-How many people live with you?

-Five brothers.

-Are you kidding?
-Not kidding.

-[Jon] Luis?
-[Luis speaking Spanish]

[Jon] What happened to the lights?
It's completely black.

-[Luis] Blackout.

-[Luis] Every day, four hours.
-Every day, four hours, no lights.

-[Jon] I've learned many things tonight.
-[Luis] Thank you.

[Jon] I'll see you next time
I come to Cuba.

-[Luis] Okay.
-[Jon] All right.

[Jon speaking Spanish, whistles]

-How are things?

[in English] How are your animals?

[speaking Spanish]

[Jon in English] The animals are not safe.
[in Spanish] Why not?

[Jon in English] Somebody is coming
and what are they doing?

They're killing your animals?

-[in Spanish] They're eating them.
-[Jon] Who?

I don't know.

-[Jon in English] There isn't any meat.

[Jon] This is terrible.

[both in Spanish] Very bad.

-[Jon in English] What type of animal?
-[in Spanish] An ox.

[Jon] One of your oxen?

They killed him at night.

-[Jon] How are you gonna work--
-[speaking Spanish]

[Jon] You're gonna work
with only one oxen.


[Jon in Spanish]
And if they steal this one?

I'm left with nothing.

[Jon in English] How much does one cost?

-[speaking Spanish]
-[Jon] Ten thousand pesos?

[in Spanish] That's 20 years of work.

Twenty years of work.

[Jon in English]
How many have you lost?

[in Spanish] One ox.

One cow.

One horse.

And four calves.

This is our yucca.

[Jon in English] That's beautiful.
[in Spanish] Delicious?

[speaking Spanish]

-[Jon in English] The best.
-[in English] Special.

[Jon] Special. But they steal this?

[in Spanish] They steal it.

[Jon] What's this?

-[speaking Spanish]
-[Jon in English] Corn.

They steal this also?

They take everything.

-This is terrible!
-[speaking Spanish]

[Jon in English] Horrible.

[in Spanish] You work and work
and they steal everything.

[Jon in English] Gregorio.
What's happening to Cuba?

[in Spanish] What can we do?

-You can't do anything about it.
-We can't do anything.

It's very sad.

[Jon] You shut the door.
[in Spanish] Why are you doing this?

-So they can't take him.
-[in English] So nobody will kill him?

[in Spanish] Otherwise, they'll eat him.

[Gregorio] It's very sad.

Because if I buy another ox,

they'll steal it.

[Jon in English]
Have your friends been robbed?

[in Spanish] Yes.

They'll break into your house
and steal absolutely everything.

[Jon in English] Let's drink some rum.

[in Spanish]
Let's drink our problems away.

[Jon in English] Have a little rum
and forget all this stuff!



-[in Spanish] This is the good stuff.
-[Jon speaking Spanish]

[speaking Spanish]

[Jon in English]
Remember last time we had a contest?

Who is stronger, right?

What do you think?

You think you're the strongest.

You're two times stronger.

Jesus. What, are you gonna crush me?


Okay, ready? [speaking Spanish]

[groans] I don't have a chance.

[shouting in Spanish]



[in Spanish] Eighty years old! [exclaims]

-[Jon in English] Look, Ma, no hands!

Pretty fast.

[speaking Spanish]

You can go faster?

[speaking Spanish]

[Jon] Here we go.

[in Spanish, English]
Your beautiful sister!

-Very nice.

You're strong and healthy?

[Jon and Gregorio speaking Spanish]

[Jon] Nobody here.

-[speaking Spanish]
-[Jon in English] Nobody in the streets.

Where are your friends?

[in Spanish] They stay home.

They're afraid that
their houses will be robbed.

[Jon] The old men are scared
to go out at night.

Because there are thieves.

[all] Yes.

They'll kill you with a machete

and chop you up.

[Jon in English]
They attack with machetes?

[Jon in English] Those guys are bad?

[in Spanish] They are bad.
They steal the oxen.

-[Jon] They steal.
-[continues in Spanish]

-[Jon] Do you have beer?

They don't have that either.

Well, what do they have? Nothing?

-They have absolutely nothing.
-[Jon] They got nothing?

How long since there's no beer?

-[speaking Spanish]

[Jon in Spanish] How many months?

[in English] You can't even remember.

[in Spanish] And rum?

-How long since no rum?
-[speaking Spanish]

[Jon in English] Yesterday, there was rum
but everybody drank it.

[in Spanish] And meat?
[in English] When was there meat?


[Jon in Spanish] Gregorio?

No meat in the stores.
Thieves in the streets.

That's right.

[Jon] What's going on?

[speaking Spanish]

[Jon in English] Everything's bad.

[in Spanish] It's no way to live.

[continues mumbling in Spanish]

[Jon in English] I want to see
if the troubles affecting the Borregos

are impacting social services

like this school near their farm.

Romeo and Juliet.

How romantic!

-[speaking Spanish]

[both speaking Spanish]

Saints don't move
even when they grant prayers.

Then don't move

while I act out my prayer.

My sin has been taken
from my lips by yours.

[all cheer]

[Jon speaking Spanish]

[Jon in English] Very nice.

The kids all seem very happy, healthy,

but these past years
have been very difficult.

Have conditions in school improved,
stayed the same?

Is it better or worse?

-[speaking Spanish]
-[Jon] Worse?

What would you like to have?

[speaking Spanish]

-[Jon in English] She wants food!

You'd like to buy much more food.

This is what the kids have to eat.

-[man] Yes. Potatoes.
-[Jon] Potatoes.

-What's over here?
-[men speaking Spanish]

-[man in English] Eggs.
-[Jon] Eggs.

[Jon speaking Spanish]

-[speaking Spanish]
-[Jon in English] You don't have meat.

[both speaking Spanish]

[in English] Not today.

[Jon] So where do you get meat?

It's not easy.

[Jon] Although all social services are
still free, shortages are everywhere.

Even at the main hospital in Havana,

the crown jewel
of Cuba's health care system.

How are things in the pharmacy?

Do you have enough medicine?

[in Spanish]
We have scarcities in specific areas.

[continues in Spanish]

[Jon in English]
You're missing all your antacids.

It's empty.

How long have you been out?

[in Spanish] We've been out of antacids
for a week.

[Jon in English] About four months
you've been out of this antibiotic.

You're working with 30%
of the things you need.

You're missing everything else.

[indistinct chatter]

[Jon] What's this?

[woman] The emergency room.

-[Jon] This is the emergency room?
-[woman] Yeah.

[Jon] Doctor, how old are these syringes?

That looks like
it's from the last century.

Do you have sufficient facilities
to sterilize all these old syringes?


[Jon] Most of your shelves have nothing.

[doctor] Nothing!

[Jon in Spanish]
How many times do you recycle the gloves?

[nurse] Until it breaks.

It depends on how many times we use it.

-[Jon in English] It's terrible!

What can I do, my dear friend?
What can we do?

-Do you get frustrated?
-More or less.

[Jon] It's been five years
since the economic troubles began.

I want to see how my friend Luis is doing.

[in Spanish] Do you know Luis Amores?
Luis Amores?

-[in English] No, you don't know him?
-[in English] No.

-[Jon in Spanish] How are you, my friend?
-All good.

[Jon speaking Spanish]

I'm looking for my friend.


Come here and help me.

[woman] It's the guy
from around the corner.

-[Jon in English] You know him?
-[in English] Yes.

[Jon] Excuse me, I'm looking for Luis.

Are you his brother?

I am. Brother.

[Jon speaking Spanish]

[in English] Can you help me?
I'm looking for Luis.

-[speaking Spanish]
-[Jon in English] He's in prison.

Why'd they put him in prison?

[in Spanish] That's what I ask,
"Why is he in prison?"

[Jon in English] Luis is your brother.
Were you surprised when they arrested him?

-[in Spanish] Yes.
-[in English] Did he steal?

[speaking Spanish]

[Jon in English] Didn't steal? No drugs?


[in English] Luis did nothing. Nothing.

[Jon] How long does he have
to be in prison?

-[speaking Spanish]
-[Jon in English] Four years!

-You visited Luis in jail?
-[in Spanish] Yes.

-How's he doing?
-[continues in Spanish]

[Jon in English] He's strong.

[in Spanish] Why?

Because of the food that we bring him.

[Jon in English] What do you want
the people in the US to know?

[in Spanish] It's the year 1995.

[Jon] This is 1995.

I have to carry water.

[speaking Spanish]

[Jon in English]
You have to walk 100 meters to get water.

Climb the stairs.

[man] I have a sick mother.

There's no medicine.

And the hospitals are unable to help her.

It's no wonder
that everyone wants to leave.

-[Jon in English] You?
-[speaking Spanish]

-[in English] Everybody!

[Jon] Where?

The United States.

[Jon] Your husband wants to go.
You, too?

[in Spanish] I would take
advantage of the opportunity.

This is no way to live.

[speaking Spanish]

[Jon in English] Thirty five years...

Of bad thinking. That's the problem.

Hey, Roberto... United States?

[speaking Spanish]

[Jon in English]
You have no interest in going.

[in Spanish] What kind of crap is that?
You bring him here and talk this shit.

What's fucking wrong with you?

What bullshit.

I can't understand this guy.

Have I ever told you
that I wanted to leave Cuba?

Have I said it?


Why are you attacking me?

You can't even speak about your brother.

You won't even say that it's an injustice.

"No, not me. I don't want to talk."

That's harsh.

He is your brother.

[continues speaking Spanish]

[Jon] Hey, Cristobal! Gregorio! Ángel!


[Jon speaking Spanish]

[in English]
What happened to your animals?

[in Spanish] They were eaten.

[Jon in English] They ate them all?

[in Spanish]
They didn't leave us with anything.

Even the horse. [laughs]

[Jon] You can't work.

[in Spanish] We don't have animals
to pull the plow.

Without them, it's impossible to work.

They broke in.

They took the calf to the citrus orchard
and killed him.

[Jon in English] It's very quiet
on the farm now.

[both speaking Spanish]


-[Jon in English] Do you like it?

[continues in Spanish]

[Jon in English] You'd like to hear
the noise of animals.

[in Spanish] But now?

Now you don't hear them.

[Jon in English] I remember
you used to have cows and horses,

pigs here in the house.

[speaking Spanish]

You had more than ten animals.

[speaking Spanish, sniffles]


[Jon] Do the people steal the yucca?

[Gregorio speaking Spanish]

They steal a lot.

They have no morals.

They steal everything.

-[Jon] What are you looking for?
-[in Spanish] Beans.

There aren't many left.

Here's one.

Little beans.

This is useless.

Weeding is all we can do.

[Jon in Spanish]
What's wrong with Cristobal?

[Gregorio] He's sad
because they ate our oxen.

Now he has no way to survive.

[Jon in English]
Does he sit like this often?

[Gregorio speaking Spanish]
All the time.

[Jon in English] This is the first time
I saw you like this.

-You feel sad?
-[in Spanish] Yes.

-[continues in Spanish]

[Jon in English] You don't have
the means to work anymore.


It's very bad, Cristobal.

[in Spanish] Yes.

They made us useless.

Three old men.

They've eaten our animals
and left us with nothing.

[Jon] This beach
is an hour away from the Borregos' farm.

It's this natural beauty

that prompts Fidel to announce
a way to energize the country.

[in Spanish] Tourism is now essential
to our economy.

-[music playing]

[Jon in English] Where are you from?


-[Jon] Japanese?

-[Jon] Do you like this?
-Yeah, it's very nice.

[music playing]

[Jon] How much is the bill?

-[man exclaims]
-There's 100 bucks here and the bill is...

480 bucks!

And this is Cuba!

-[Jon speaking Spanish]
-[speaking Spanish]

[Jon in English] How much for a ride?

[speaking Spanish]
[in English] Six dollars for one hour.

[Jon] Six dollars for one hour. Okay.
That's a deal. Let's go.

[bicycle bell rings]

[Jon] Ronaldo?

Where's the money coming from
for these restorations?

[in Spanish]
Most of it comes from tourism.

Hotels generate money
to restore Old Havana.

[Jon] What's that?

[Ronaldo speaking Spanish]

[Jon] An arts market.

Let's get off.

[Jon] How much in one day can you get?

[man speaking Spanish]

About four dollars?

One day, I got $20.

[singing in Spanish]

-[Jon] How's everything?
-We're playing softball here.

-[Jon] Playing softball in Cuba?

-[Jon] And?
-Two and one.


-Where are you from?
-[men] Long Island.

How do you sneak past
the guys at customs?

-We're legal this year.
-[Jon] Are you really?

Last year wasn't this busy.

There wasn't as many tourists
last year as this year.

-[Jon] This market's full, right?
-[man] Yeah.

[Jon] How much for Che?

-[speaking Spanish]
-Fifteen dollars!

That's capitalism.

Che Guevara's gonna roll over
in his grave if you charge $15.

What were you doing before
you began selling in the market?

-I was working as a journalist.
-As a journalist!

You gave up this honorable profession

to sell pictures of Che Guevara
to tourists?

I was working like you.

But I receive more money for this.

[Jon] What was your job?

[speaking Spanish]

You were a chemical engineer.

-[Jon] Your job before?
-Mechanical engineer.

You were a mechanical engineer,
now you're selling plates in the market.

[singing in Spanish]

[Jon] Today we're gonna go look for
our old friend Luis Amores.

We came here to see him
in 1995, but he was in jail.

I don't know where he is.

Luis lives in that apartment house.


-[Jon] Luis! [laughs]
-[Luis] Hello!

-[speaking Spanish]

Last time you were in jail.

[speaking Spanish]

They say they put you in jail

because you were working
in the black market.


-[Jon] Who's that?
-This is my girlfriend.

Your girlfriend? Come here, please.

[chuckles, speaking Spanish]

What's her name?

-[Luis speaking Spanish]

[Jon] Santa!

Hello! Good morning.

-Who's that?
-[speaking Spanish]

[Jon] Santa's mother. Nice to see you.

What food do you have?

-The refrigerators are all broken.
-Yeah, breaking.

-[Jon] How much rent do you pay?
-[Luis] None.

-[Jon] Your salary is what?
-Six dollars a month.

Six dollars a month.

[Jon] What's changed
in the last eight years?

[in Spanish] Things just got older.

-The bread factory from your last visit.
-[Jon] We went to the bread store.

-[Luis in English] It was a factory.
-[Jon] This used to be the bread factory.

The whole roof fell in.

Holy cow!

[Luis] Watch out.

[shouts, laughs]

[Jon] The roof's gonna fall down?

-[Luis] Watch out!
-[speaking Spanish]

[Jon] When did it fall?

-[speaking Spanish]
-[Jon] Two years.

[continues in Spanish]

They haven't done anything to fix it.

[speaking Spanish]

[Jon] There's lots of kids,
so it's very dangerous.

[Luis speaking Spanish]

[Jon] I have to walk over this bridge?

[Luis speaking Spanish]
[in English] Watch out, watch out.

-[speaking Spanish]
-[Jon] What do you want to show me?

[woman] The bathrooms.

[Jon] How do you get there?

[Luis in Spanish] You can't.

[Jon] What do you do?

[speaking Spanish]

[Jon] You go to the bathroom
in the streets?

-[speaking Spanish, laughs]
-[Jon] No!

[Jon] You go pee-pee there?


[speaking Spanish]

[Jon] The only place
that you can get water is over there.

She connects the water there
and turns it on.

But she can't walk there.

She falls down.

[Jon] Horrible. That's terrible.

[speaking Spanish]

[Jon] It's terrible.

[Jon] Ladies, how's everything?

[speaking Spanish]

-[Jon] Who's this?
-[Luis] A friend of mine.

And what's his job? [speaking Spanish]

-The cigar factory.
-[Jon] He works in the cigar factory.

[Jon] Come inside? Okay.

[man] Here we have a...

-[Luis] Cohiba.
-[man] An expensive mark.

[Jon] That's the most expensive cigars,

-[man] Cohiba.
-[Jon] In the store, how much?

[man and Luis speaking Spanish]

[man] $225.

[Jon] $225 in the store for this?

-[Jon] How much do you sell it for?

This is $60.

-[Jon] Sixty dollars.
-[man] Yeah.

Best quality.

This is $50.

[Jon] Where did you get these?
How did you get these?

[man] The government gives me,
every month, two boxes.

But I steal some, too.

[Jon laughing] They give you two,
and you steal...

-Four! Two more.
-[man] Two more.

Because it's not enough for me.

What happens if they catch you?


If they catch you?

No. I go to jail.

[Jon] Of course. How many years?

I'll go to jail
if the government takes this film.

[in Spanish]
80% of people live off the black market.

When you see the police,
do you get afraid?


-[Jon] Sometimes?

[Jon] Uh-oh.

-Is everything okay?
-Immigration comes to speak with you.

-[Jon] Immigration?
-[man] Yeah. He's gonna speak with you.

[Jon] They took your ID card
and my ID card.

Immigration for you.

Policeman for me.

-More police coming?

Shut my camera off?

[man] You can't film here,
around here in the town.

-Put the camera in the car, please.
-[car door closes]

[in Spanish] It wasn't a problem.

Just a mix-up.

Nothing happened.

-[Jon] We're okay.
-[speaking Spanish]

[Jon] Everything's okay, Mama.
No problem.

Was your mother worried?

-[speaking Spanish]
-[Jon] Were you worried?

Of course.

[speaking Spanish]

-[Jon] You have a very tight family.
-[in English] Family.

[speaking Spanish]

[Jon] You cried?

-[speaking Spanish]

-[Jon] Luis, she loves you.

[singing in Spanish]

[speaking Spanish]

I'm looking for my friend.

[speaking Spanish]

Her name is Caridad.

Hi! How are you? Hello! Hey, you!

You're a good boy.

Can you help me?

I'm looking for this woman.


-[speaking Spanish]
-Do you know them?

[in Spanish] Over there.

[in Spanish] Looks like it's Wilder.

[speaking Spanish]

-[Jon in English] Wilder?
-[in English] Jon?

[Jon] I'm Jon!

-I remember you.
-[Jon] How are you? Nice to see you.

-How's everything?

-[Jon] It's okay. You were sleeping?

Do you know where is my mother?

I have no idea. Where?

-In Tampa, Florida.
-[Jon] Are you serious?

Five years ago.

Have any pictures of her?

Right here?

-Wow! She's Americanized.
-[Wilder chuckles]

[Jon] Oh, my goodness. And who--
Wait, not so fast.

You don't remember me? Remember me?

And who's this beautiful girl?

[Milady] Melinda.

Do you see the picture of Grandma?
[speaking Spanish]

[Wilder in Spanish] Who's that?

[Melinda and Wilder speaking Spanish]

[Wilder] Grandma is in the United States.

-[Jon in English] Ready to go?
-I need a visa.

[Jon] How about you? What's your plan?

[in Spanish] There's no future here.

[Jon] What do you have?

-[Wilder] Salad.
-[Jon] Empty.

-It's empty.
-[Jon] Yes.

We don't have money.

When Mom sends money, we buy food.

Otherwise, it's empty.

This building hasn't had water
for 25 days.

-[Jon] Seriously?
-Without water.

[Jon] When you open the pipe?

[Wilder in English] No water.

[in Spanish]
We shower at my friend's house.

[Jon] This is your neighbor?
You get along? How are you?

Nice to meet you. [in Spanish] I'm Jon.

[in English] How's everything? Reynaldo.
[speaking Spanish]

-[in English] Do you have water?

[in Spanish] No, buddy.

-Would you like a drink, Jon?
-Would I like a drink?

I can offer you a drink. Some wine?

Why not?

-[Jon] You want some wine?
-[in Spanish] Why not?

[Jon] Okay. [speaking Spanish]

[in English] What are we toasting?

[in Spanish] For lots of money and health.

-More money for diapers.
-[Jon laughs]

[speaking Spanish]

This is what a Cuban backyard looks like.

We have pigeons.

Ducks, geese and roosters.

Keeping these animals guarantees
that we will have food.

Look at the difference.

Between our building and those houses.

Tourism workers live there.

They have access to dollars
and are well off.

Tourists are more valued than Cubans.

That's the truth.

It's all good.
Let's go dance to Reggaeton.

Do you want some?

No, I'm all set.

This cologne is called Sport.

[in English] Sport, in English.

[in Spanish] It's really good.
I like it. [exclaims]

[speaking Spanish]

We are carrying the torch of truth
and justice

throughout South America.

We're watching a celebration
of Fidel Castro.

All lies.

I'm not a communist. I'm a realist.

Let's go to the disco.

♪ Women like ugly guys
Don't tell me otherwise ♪

[continues singing]

[Jon] We just entered the little town
of Caimito de Guayabal.

Last time we were here, five years ago,

our three old friends were having
a lot of trouble.

I'm a little bit nervous
about what we're gonna find.

Hey, Gregorio, you're still alive!

[Gregorio shouts]

[Jon] Tremendous!

[both speaking Spanish]

[in English] Good.
Gregorio, you still okay?

-[speaking Spanish] Yeah.

-[Jon] Ángel!

[Jon] How are you?

[both speaking Spanish]

-[in English] You look great!

-How old are you?
-[speaking Spanish]

[Jon] Ninety-two!

Holy cow!

You're still working.

How old are you, Gregorio?

-[speaking Spanish]
-You're only 88.

What is this house?

-Gregorio's gonna move in here?
-[speaking Spanish]

[Jon] This is the kitchen.

The bathroom.

-This is gonna be your master bedroom.

Now that you have this house,

you need a girlfriend.

-[speaking Spanish]
-You're gonna get married?

Yes, I'm going to get married.

He says he's gonna get married.

Does he have a girlfriend? [laughs]

-How old is she?
-[speaking Spanish]

-[Jon] She's only 30?
-[both laughing]

-[Jon] It's true?
-[in Spanish] Yes.

[chuckles, sighs]

[Jon] Gregorio! Gregorio!

[speaking Spanish]

-[Jon] What is that?
-[in Spanish] An ox.

[Jon] You got an ox.


[Jon] When?

[speaking Spanish]

[Jon] You just got him recently.

What's his name?

[Gregorio] Pretty Boy.


[speaking Spanish]

[Jon] Now you have oxen.

How many years did you work to buy them?

Five years.



[grunts, speaking Spanish]

[Jon] Where's Cristobal?

[speaking Spanish]

Cristobal had an operation on his throat.

[in Spanish] He's at home.

[Jon] Let's go to town and see Cristobal
and your sister.

[exclaims, laughs]

[Jon] Cristobal! How are you?

-[Jon] How's everything?

You can't speak?

[in Spanish]
He had an operation because of cancer.

[Jon] Cristobal, are you working?

[speaking Spanish]

[Jon] You're not working?

Only you and Ángel are in the fields?

-[speaking Spanish]
-[Jon] Only two brothers working.

And Cristobal sits at home every day.

[doctor in Spanish]
Cristobal had cancer of the larynx.

-Six months ago, we removed his larynx.
-[Jon] You cut out his larynx.

-[doctor] He loses his voice.
-He lost his voice.

Was Cristobal's treatment free?

[doctor in Spanish] Yes.

[Jon] Can he speak again?

-Can he talk?
-[speaking Spanish]

He'll need an electric larynx.

-Do you have this in Cuba?
-[in English] No.

Why not?

[in Spanish] It costs too much.

If I bring one, will you put it in?

[speaking Spanish]

He'll speak perfectly.

Where are we going?

The endoscopy room.

[Jon] What is that?

[doctor in English]
An instrument to take tissue samples.

[Jon] A good one?

[doctor] This is very old.

It's not sharp.

You have to pull very hard
to take the biopsy.

It's not very good for the patient.

This is the equipment they used
in the '60s and the '50s.

-You see?

Now what they use
is fiber-optic equipment.

It's flexible.

-Do you have that?
-We don't have that here.

How much is your salary? Each month?

-About $25.
-$25 a month?

That's less than a taxi driver makes.

Yes. [chuckles]

[doctor speaking Spanish]

[Jon] Doctor, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.

[Jon] That's the box
I brought from the United States.

Is that going to work?

[in English] I think so.

[speaking Spanish]

He saying, "My name is Cristobal."

It's a robotic voice,
but very understandable.

[Jon] What's he saying?

He's very thankful...
He's very grateful...

because he has his voice back.

He's very grateful for you and me.

-For us.
-For us.

It's good to hear your voice again!

[Jon] You can call your sister now.

-Lilo, Lilo.
-[Jon] Lilo, Lilo! [laughs]

-[Jon] He called your name! "Lilo, Lilo!"

[Jon] Gregorio, Gregorio!
He's calling your name!

And Ángel!

He's telling you
that you should plant beans.

He's telling you what to do
now that he can talk.

[speaking Spanish]

-[Jon] He's giving orders now.

[speaking Spanish]

Ah, let's celebrate Cristobal's voice!

[speaking Spanish]

[Jon] A toast for your brother Cristobal!

And his new voice!

[speaking Spanish]

[Jon speaking Spanish]


[speaking Spanish]

[Jon in English] Cristobal wants
to tell me something.

-[in English] Thank you! Thank you!
-[all laughing]

[Jon] All right. Cristobal!

[Jon exclaims]

[singsong] Luis!

-Yeah! Nice to see ya!
-Nice to see you.

Wow! You look great!

And you.

No, I'm old. What happened?

You've been eating.
You've been eating a lot!

I changed my life.

I stopped drinking.

You're not drinking but you're eating.

Show me your apartment?
I haven't been there in years.

-[in English] The kitchen.
-This is gonna be the kitchen.

It's under repair.

[Jon] Nobody can get cement.
How did you?

-[Luis] Very expensive.

I paid $20... [stammers]

-[Jon] For three bags?
-...for three bags.

[Jon] One month's salary
for these bags?

[Luis] One month's salary.

Okay. Where are we going?

I'm going to my job.

We're going to where you work.
I'm following you.

What's changed in this neighborhood?

[Luis] Hydroponics. Hydroponics.

[Jon] There's a new program
for hydroponic gardening?


They grow this in the back?
They actually grow it here?

[Luis] Yeah.

[Jon] That's interesting.

And you have meat?

-[Luis] Pork.

-What's over here, Luis?
-[speaking Spanish]

-[in English] Tomato.

-[Luis] Pineapple.

[Jon] Uh-oh! No filming?

-He says we can't film--
-[speaking Spanish]

[Jon] They're nice tomatoes.
Thanks anyway.

[Jon speaking Spanish]

[Luis in Spanish] Onions.

[Jon] Onions. Your onions?

How much?

How much for the onions?

Five pesos, one pound.

He said this is the black market.

[Jon] It's the black market. I know.

Do the police come?

[in English] It's possible.

They buy off the police.

So the police look the other way.

This is my job.

I clean. Every day, I work here.

I clean the garden,
I clean the park every day.

[Jon] This park looks very clean.

Good job. Congratulations.


Keep up the good stuff, okay, Luis?
Good luck to you, too!


I've written a lot of "Dear Fidel" letters
over the years,

usually asking for another interview.

I just heard that I might get to see him
for his 80th birthday.

Here we go! All right.

These reporters are here
because Fidel's become really ill.

The world wants to find out
if he'll attend his birthday celebration.

[in Spanish] Not here. Up there.

No cameras down here.

[in Spanish] Any other suggestions for me?

All cameramen up there.

None down here.

[Jon in English] They're trying to keep me
with the reporters,

but I'm gonna stay down here
in case Fidel shows up.

[playing march]

Looks like Fidel's not gonna make it.

Here's our answer.

Raúl today. Not Fidel.

No interview.

[announcer in Spanish] Long live Fidel!

Long live Raúl!

This is a beautiful celebration
of Fidel's 80th birthday.

[speaking Spanish]

Fidel, have a speedy recovery
so you can rejoin us.

He's eternal. He'll never die.

He'll guide us forever. [shouts]


[Jon] No Fidel.

It's kind of sad.

It's a nice birthday party,
but he wasn't able to come.

It's been six or seven years
since we've been to the Borregos' farm.

And as we know from what's going on
with Fidel...

nobody lives forever.

It's interesting.

I've been coming to this town
for more than 30 years.

I can't see anything that's changed.

The houses look the same.
The street looks exactly the same.

It's been frozen in time.

-Lilo! How are you doing? [exclaims]

What happened to Cristobal?

[in Spanish] I'm all alone.

Gregorio also died?
You're the only one left. Only you.

[Lilo speaking Spanish]

They were always wonderful.

They always wanted us to be together.

We never separated.

I always took care of them.

They treated me like their mother.

Thank you.

[Jon] Your brothers were my friends.

I thought I was going to get to see them
one more time.

I'm sorry.

[Lilo in Spanish] Life is short.

Little by little, we fade away.

We are born together and happy.

Later, we are all alone.

One by one, we pass away.

Life is hard.

We are looking for Wilder's house.

My memory says it's here.

[in Spanish] Stop here. Please.

How are you, my friends?
Does Wilder live here?

This guy.

-[Jon] Wilder?

-[Jon] I'm Jon.
-[man speaking Spanish]


In that apartment.

[Jon] Wilder!

Where's Wilder?

[in English] Wilder? Where's Wilder?

[in Spanish] In the United States.
His mother sent for him.

It's the end of Wilder's story in Cuba.

[in English] It was right by the cathedral

that I met little Caridad,
Wilder's mother, in 1974.

In those days,
there was nothing like this.

How are ya, sir? Nice to see you.

You look very nice.

So much has changed in Havana
in the past two years.

This whole building wasn't here
last time I came here.

This is new. Cash machines.

This is everybody in Old Havana
trying to get on the Wi-Fi.

Nice to see you.

Selfies. They never had selfies. Hello.

It's a five-minute walk
from tourist central

to where my old friend Luis lives.

Luis, anything change here?

[in Spanish]
Nothing's changed in 20 years.

But each time you come here,

your friend Luis is moving forward.

I fixed up my house thanks to my business.

-[Jon in Spanish] You have a business?

I sell construction materials
to repair homes.

Things are much better.

Pork for dinner.

[Jon in English] How much?

-[speaking Spanish]
-Twenty dollars?

[Luis] These sweets are expensive.

It's $3.90.

We installed running water.

I bought a tank. Now water lasts all day.

This bathroom cost $350.

It's all thanks to my business.

I buy material at a good price.

I sell it for a profit,

enabling me to do this.

This phone's for my growing business.

So clients can reach me.

What's up?

[woman] I need to tile my kitchen.

How much per box?

Eleven dollars.

[speaking Spanish]

[Luis] Take care of her.

What does she want?

[Luis] Tiles.

That's what's left.

See if she wants it.

Construction materials are sold here.

Do you have wood glue?

I'll have some later.

This is a private business
where we sell building materials.

My friend Papo runs the shop.

[both laugh]

People run businesses from their home,

but the big shops are run by the state.

My dream is to own a store like this.

You just have to have faith...

and guts to succeed.

I've been coming to Cuba for 40 years.

When I started, I was young.
Look at me now.

It's actually my birthday.

And I thought, what better way
to celebrate my birthday

than to go visit
my old friends the Borregos

in this 1952 Ford!

[Jon and Lilo speaking Spanish]

[Jon in Spanish] How old are you?


[both speaking Spanish]

[both exclaim]

[Jon in English] On my way back to Havana

with only one unfinished piece
of personal business.

It's Fidel's 90th birthday, and I'm really
trying hard to get his attention.

[in Spanish] Happy birthday, Fidel!

We've come to Old Havana
where Fidel's old chef works,

hoping he'll help us prepare
a special present for Fidel's birthday.


How many years did you work with Fidel?

[in Spanish] About thirty years.

[Jon in Spanish] Explain my plan.

We'll put this photo on top of a cake.

[Jon speaking Spanish]

[Jon in English] Fidel was 53 when we flew
to New York together,

and he decided to see
if he could do my job.

Do you know how to take photographs?

[in Spanish]
The camera makes them look fat.

[interpreter speaking indistinctly]

[Fidel] I don't like looking fat.

[Jon] Fidel thought he was
a better cameraman than me.

Cristobal thought he was better than me.

It really hurt to film
my friends suffering.

I came here young, idealistic,
and I grew to love Cuba.

I never had a chance
to say goodbye to the brothers.

I'd really like to see Fidel
one more time.

We might be invited to see Fidel today,

-so we're waiting for the phone call.
-[phone ringing]

Bye, everybody. See you later.

[woman] Bye!

I might have to leave
my video camera in the trunk of the car.

I just hope I get to pay my respects.


Gladys works in the house
where we're staying.

Look at this, Gladys.

[in Spanish] Wow, that photo is amazing.

[Jon] Fidel remembered me
and was excited to see me.

He's still got a good cowboy handshake.

He still knows how to give
the Yankees a good sock!

He looks pretty good
for a 90-year-old man.

He looks pretty good.

One thing that Fidel
is concerned about is nutrition.

When you get old,
you focus on your health.

Fidel has a laboratory.

He's developing seeds
that have a high nutritive value

to solve world hunger.

And Fidel signed my shirt.

I gave Fidel my good luck cap,

and this was my last present to Fidel.

And then...

I got a chance to say goodbye.

I don't know if I'll see Fidel again.

[in Spanish] On November 25, 2016,

at 10:29 p.m.,

Fidel Castro Ruz,
our Commander-in-Chief, died.

He was hailed by supporters
for his anti-US stance,

but condemned by human rights campaigners
for his autocratic rule.

Here in the US, Castro's passing

is igniting strong emotions
and a fierce political debate.


Glowing tributes came
from predictable quarters.

Vladimir Putin calling him
"a symbol of an era."

[reporter in Mandarin] Chinese President
Xi Jinping visited the Cuban embassy,

where he paid his respects.

[in Spanish] Marco, where are we going?

We're nearing the procession

that's carrying Fidel's ashes.

We're two to three hours behind.

Look at all the people
paying their respects.

[crowd chanting in Spanish]

[Jon in English]
I never thought that one day

I'd be following
Fidel's remains across Cuba.

But Fidel told me,

"We all know we're gonna die.
We just don't know what the date is."

[speaking Spanish]

[interpreter in English]
Nobody dies before his time comes.

So I am calm.

I know I am going to die.

I just don't know when.

[in Spanish] Fidel's era is over.

It's up to kids like you
to continue fighting for Cuba.

[in Spanish]
Life is a mystery, a game of chance.

In the cemetery, it's a different dance.

Where good men and ladies lie.

Money's worthless when you die.

You're judged on deeds of a life gone by.