Today when I went to pick up my academic visa from the immigration office; the woman behind the desk greeted me with a wide smile. “I saw you on TV last night!”
She enthusiastically told me how, while watching the news with her husband, she recognized me in one of the interviews that aired on last night’s program; she remembered having seen me in the immigration office.
Last Monday, my first full day in Cuba, as I was walking down busy 23rd St. on my way to the bank, a reporter and cameraman from the local television station approached me.
“Can I ask you a couple of questions?” The woman holding a microphone said in Spanish. I smiled and replied, “Sí,” The interview was brief and centered on the topic of vegetables.
“What vegetables do you like?” she asked, after I introduced myself on camera.
“I like… asparagus,” I responded. “And carrots.”
“And what makes vegetables healthy?” she continued.
“They have vitamins,” I answered. She beckoned me with the microphone to elaborate. “Well…” I said, thinking. “The truth is…I don’t know exactly what makes them healthy. I just know that they’re good for your health.”
“Bueno,” she said, smiling with satisfaction. “Gracias!”
She told me that the interview would be broadcast at 5:00 the following day —last Tuesday— so I stayed home to watch it. However, it never aired. I assumed they had cut it out during editing. But as it turned out, apparently it just took a bit longer —eight days— to get its turn.
I’m curious to know what the context of the interview was. Why did they choose the topic of vegetables? What did they say before and after my interview aired? What information, if any, did the journalists provide about vegetables? And, was this part of a public health initiative?
As everything else in Cuba has been so far, this brief experience —which unfortunately I missed seeing because of its delay— left me with more questions than answers. I also haven’t seen any asparagus or carrots.