In 1998 I traveled to Cuba for the visit of Pope John Paul II. I had two fascinating meetings during my time in Havana. The first was a wonderful lunch at the Melia Cohiba with Bill Buckley, where I continued my decade-long effort to convince him of the wisdom of the embargo (recounted here). It was at that lunch that I corrected Bill’s English for the first and only time in all the years I knew him — when he referred to the “blockade” and I explained that it was not a blockade but an embargo.
The other meeting was with Ricardo Alarcon, the President of Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s power, which I recount publicly for the first time in this morning’s Washington Post. Alarcon did not have good things to say about his new boss, Raul Castro. I suspect he is busy destroying some tapes this morning . . .