Being on the Havana News

Kelly Knaub

Afternoon on Havana's Malecon seawall. Photo: Liset Cruz

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, “,”  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.  

4 thoughts on “Being on the Havana News

  • Kelly, 90% of Cubans have a mainstay of tomate, pepino, and lechuga. All of the rest they consider rabbit food. Only since the special period of the early 90’s has vegetable production diversified, and more recently, have Cubans began expanding their variety of vegetables at teir tables.

  • You aren’t going to find asparagus unless the are canned from White Rose in the US.

    Carrots could have been found in March. Centain vegtables are difficult to find with the current shortages from the provinces.

  • WOW.. you are famous ALREADY?!?! lol
    Way to go!

  • I stayed at the Sunbeach Hotel in Varadero in March and the first two days there were carrots in everything, even for breakfast. I didn’t mind as I love vegetables and will gladly eat them whenever presented. However, after two days they disappeared, but then we had green peppers or cabbage in everything. I was disappointed that there was no papaya but late in the week it suddenly appeared. There must be food distribution issues that prevent consistent availability of what we consider in the rich countries to be essential daily produce. I wasn’t bothered by it though as I love variety and like the Cuban cooks I will use whatever is available in new and creative ways to create dishes that I enjoy. I never had fried cucumbers until I went to Cuba! Never any asparagus though.

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