Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Fidel Castro Interview on The Ed Sullivan Show

On this day 52 years ago, just as the Cuban Revolution was coming to an end, The Ed Sullivan Show aired an incredible interview between Fidel Castro and Ed Sullivan.

By the end of 1958, Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution was making its final push to overthrow Fulgencio Batista’s regime.  In December, Che Guevara, who was second-in-command to Castro, began preparing for an assault on the provincial capital of Santa Clara.  On December 31, 1958, following just a day of in-town fighting, Batista’s forces were defeated by the rebels.  On Jan. 1, 1959, having lost the Battle of Santa Clara and the support of the US government, Batista fled Cuba for the Dominican Republic.  In the following week, a new government was formed as Castro and his forces entered Havana. At age 32, Fidel Castro had assumed the post of Commander-in-Chief and seized power throughout the country.

Just days after Batista had fled the country and Castro had assumed control, Ed Sullivan was given the opportunity to fly down to the Caribbean and interview the new leader of Cuba. The meeting had been arranged by Chicago Tribune’s Latin American correspondent, Jules Dubois, who had close ties to the Cuban revolutionary.  Upon landing in Havana, Ed and his cameraman, Andrew Laszlo, drove three hours by car to the northern shore of Cuba and the city of Mantanzas.  After driving hours through what Ed described as “a real war scene,” he sat down with Castro and his revolutionaries at 2 am.  Here is a video of the conversation between the Fidel Castro and Ed Sullivan:

Following the interview Ed seemed optimistic about the changes this new leader would bring to Cuba. However, over the next few years things would take a dramatically different turn as the relationship between the US Government and Cuba broke into pieces.