Until recent years, Fidel Castro had little contact with the American public. The visit by Pope John Paul II to Cuba in 1998 created an unprecedented opportunity for Castro to attract media publicity. In this activity students will read an interview Castro conducted with the CNN television network shortly after the Pope's visit.
Students will go to the CNN Web site to read a brief bio of Fidel Castro and a March 1998 CNN Interview with Castro. After reading the material, students will answer a series of questions. They will then create an additional list of questions they would have liked to ask Castro. For each question, students will formulate Castro's likely response by reviewing other recent Castro speeches and policies on the Internet.
- Students will be able to discuss the life of Cuban leader Fidel Castro and his viewpoints.
- Students will be able to apply what they have learned by writing additional interview questions and answers Castro might give to these questions.
Student Web Activity Answers
- Castro had planned to campaign for a parliamentary seat in the election of 1952. When General Fulgencio Batista overthrew the Cuban government and canceled the election, Castro went to court and accused Batista of violating the Cuban constitution. The court rejected Castro's petition.
- The interviewer refers to the resumption of direct flights to Cuba, the ability of Cuban Americans to remit $1,200 a year to Cuban relatives, and an easing of restrictions on the sale of food and medicine from the United States to Cuba.
- Castro indicates that the Pope's visit to CubaŚincluding the Pope's religious observances and his criticisms of the Castro regimeŚwas covered in the Cuban news media without censorship.
- The Pope criticized the ongoing economic sanctions against Cuba.
- Students should create a list of five additional interview questions to ask Castro. For each question, students should write a detailed response based on research of past Castro speeches and policies on the Internet. The questions should include at least one question on an economic issue, one question on a foreign policy issue, and one question on domestic Cuban policies.
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