Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Senior Editor-At-Large at The Epoch Times Roger Simon in studio to discuss Cuba’s cries for freedom and Secretary of State Blinken’s response.
Leahy: We are joined in studio by our all-star panelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, novelist, founder of PJ Media, my former boss at PJTV, editor and editor-at-large for The Epoch Times, Roger Simon. Good morning, Roger.
Simon: Good morning. I’m a little more awake this morning than usual. I don’t know why.
Leahy: Good. Now I have to admit to our audience, as a host, I’m falling down on my duty a little bit because I just delivered to you some stale radio-station and microwave-warmed coffee.
And I need to be delivering. I need to step up and we need to bring in. Scooter’s laughing because he knows it’s true. (Laughs) Our producer, Scooter.
Simon: It is true.
Leahy: What I need to do and I’m derelict in my duty here, Roger, because I’ve got to find a wonderful sponsor who can bring us really great coffee in the morning. So it’s on my to-do list. I promise.
Simon: I would move it up higher.
Leahy: (Laughs) That’s quite good. Roger, in the news today in Cuba, which has been under a Communist dictatorship for what, 60 years now –
Leahy: The people want freedom. They are demonstrating in the streets for freedom. What is the Biden maladministration doing about it?
Leahy: Is that Español?
Simon: It’s a little bit of Spanish. No tiene interested. No le gusta. They don’t like it.
Leahy: What about Winken, Blinken, and Nod, the former partner there?
Simon: Antony Blinken.
Leahy: Tony Blinken.
Simon: Nodding off.
Leahy: The secretary of state of the United States. Now, what’s his big issue? It’s not freedom in Cuba.
Simon: No, it’s racism in the United States and he has gone to the UN asking them to investigate us. (Chuckles) This is the secretary of state of the United States, mind you.
Leahy: When I hear all these things, Roger, I think no, these guys didn’t really get elected. You know? Really? This kind of stuff.
Simon: They must have gotten there by a coup. (Laughs) Because how could anybody …
Leahy: Legal but not legitimate. Legal but not legitimate. That’s my mantra on these guys.
Simon: The whole thing about Cuba is you were very, very sad.
Leahy: Have you been to Cuba?
Simon: Yes. Yes.
Leahy: I’ve never been to Cuba.
Simon: As you know, shamefully I have a leftist past.
Leahy: No, no, no, Roger, that you are in the buckle of the Bible Belt and we believe in forgiveness. You are forgiven. Look at some of the great conservatives in history started out as liberal.
Simon: Ronald Reagan and Robert Conquest, my favorite.
Leahy: By the way, I did too. In 1980, I managed the reelection campaign of a Democrat running for Congress.
Simon: Uh oh.
Leahy: He won, but very shortly thereafter, I became a conservative Republican.
Simon: Well, you learned much faster than I. I’m a slow learner, but I was out in Hollywood where I was being essentially paid for keeping the other vision. Rollback to 1979. That’s the year I went to Cuba.
Leahy: So you went to Cuba in 1979.
Simon: It’s an amazing story.
Leahy: Was this during the Marielito?
Simon: No, no. I was invited as a Delgado to the first festival of a new Latin American cinema.
Leahy: Are you kidding me?
Leahy: I didn’t know anything about this. Every time you come in, Roger, I learn a new, interesting fact about your fascinating, colorful past.
Simon: I’m sort of like the Woody Allen character Ziggy.
Leahy: Or a little bit like Forest Gump. Ziggy, Forest Gump at these main points in American history or world history.
Simon: Anyway, in this particular one, you couldn’t go to Cuba legally at the time. And so there were six of us on an illegal Cessna flying out of Miami.
Leahy: Is the statute of limitations expired, Roger? (Laughter)
Simon: Onboard the flight was my ex-wife and some other radicals. And one of the Hollywood 10.
Leahy: Tell everybody who the Hollywood 10 were.
Simon: Hollywood 10 were the poor souls who were supposedly irradiated out of Hollywood in the 50s for being Communist. And this one was Ring Lardner, Jr. Rather a famous guy.
Leahy: Famous writer.
Simon: His father was Ring Lardner, who was more famous. And we were all on this plane being flown by a – turned out – by a Vietnam vet who was very angry about where he was going.
He was just charted. So we’re flying over Cuba on our way in, and he just wants to turn back. And on the other hand, the flight control down on Vanity Airport, which in those days was the size of a postage stamp.
You could look down at it and there were some military vehicles and one airliner from Aeroflot.
Leahy: The Russian airline.
Simon: And it ended up that they only spoke Spanish at the airport. So I ended up talking us down.
Leahy: So you spoke Spanish?
Simon: I spoke Spanish.
Leahy: Where did you learn Spanish, by the way?
Simon: I lived in Spain for a little while.
Leahy: Again, all of these mysteries of your past that you’re unveiling to our audience.
Simon: I was trying to be an author. (Laughter) Cuba at that time was worse than now almost. It was illegal to play Afro-Cuban music.
Leahy: In Cuba?
Simon: In Cuba.
Leahy: When we come back, we’ll learn more about what happened when you landed in Cuba in 1979.
Listen to the full third hour here:
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