I am not sure what new things we will learn about Cuba, when Matt Lauer and the rest of the crew from the "Today" show head to Havana next week.
But we already know what Lauer thinks about Cuba and the Castro dictatorship: It's not so bad.
At least that's the impression he left more than seven years ago while interviewing Cuban-born actor Andy Garcia in the height of the Elian Gonzalez story.
Media Research Center reports on the interview with Garcia:
Lauer made the case that fatherhood should trump communism: "You shared a little of your personal story about coming here when you were about to turn 6. Let me ask you to take this and make it a personal issue. You've got three children, is that right?"
Garcia: "Yes, yes."
Lauer: "So if you were in Cuba and Elian was your child here in the United States could you honestly say that you'd rather have him stay here than be reunited with you in Cuba?"
Indeed, Garcia affirmed the answer Lauer found baffling: "With complete conviction Matt. I would never, it's a fate worse than hell to have my children, to think that my children would be growing up in that system over there. I mean I was a product of that. I was singing the International when I was about to turn six years old before we left Cuba and I can tell you first hand by many experiences the situation in Cuba for a young man is not a good one. We had a terrible issue in 1994 with 72 Cubans who left on a tugboat from Cuba and the Cuban fireboats or coast guard approached this vessel and with fire hoses proceeded to drown and to capsize these boats where 41 of the 72 died and amongst them were ten children. So this personal obsession that Fidel has over this child is obviously for political reasons. And this child if he goes back will become sort of a pendant around, you know, Fidel's, you know, neck as his trophy and his anti-American sort of mantle."
Finally, Lauer tried to apply the same criticism to Cubans in Florida: "Isn't it also possible though Andy that he becomes somewhat of a trophy to Cuban-Americans living in Florida if he remains here?"
Garcia suggested maybe Cubans in Miami have a better understanding of things than do the media: "You know the people who feel passionate about this are people who know the reality of life in Cuba. Those who do not know the reality of life in Cuba would obviously side with the child reuniting with his own parents. But I speak to you, not only as a friend, but, with, from the deepest sentiments in my heart, I know for a fact that this child is in my own heart, in my own opinion. This is my opinion. This child deserves the civil liberties that we so enjoy here in the United States."
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