Friday, April 25, 2014

La Vuelta Podcast: Cuba, Castro and Reform: An Interview with New York Times reporter Damien Cave

I first began reading Damien Cave's reporting when he covered Cory Booker's second and successful run for mayor of Newark, New Jersey.  The New York Times often ignored my hometown and Cave's coverage of the 2006 election helped to place the city's heated debates about poverty, crime, race, and authenticity in a national spotlight.  In the intervening years, Cave has gone on to cover everything from Miami to the war in Iraq.  He is now based in Mexico City from where he has written extensively about Cuba and, in recent years, the see-saw of reaction and reform that is Cuba under Raúl Castro.  Earlier this year, during a visit to Cuba that coincided with the CELAC Summit, Cave published a number of pieces that gave readers some insights on a regime that is struggling to hold on to power in the face of growing popular discontent and economic challenges.  Those articles served as the basis for my wide-ranging conversation earlier this month with Cave about what he has called, the "Cuban Evolution."    

Thursday, April 17, 2014

La Vuelta Podcast: "When Mexicans Played Ball," An Interview with Prof. Ignacio García

One of the many benefits of hosting La Vuelta is that I get a chance to interview historians whose work I admire greatly.  Anyone familiar with 20th Century Mexican-American historiography knows Ignacio García's groundbreaking work in books such as "White but not Equal" and "Viva Kennedy: Mexican-Americans in Search of Camelot."  García's most recent book, however, is a break with these political histories.  "When Mexicans Played Ball: Basketball, Race and Identity in San Antonio, 1928-1945," (University of Texas Press, 2014) is a history of the young Mexican-American boys who played basketball at Sidney Lanier High School in San Antonio and the ways in which the teams coached by the legendary Nemo Herrera, challenged deeply-held stereotypes about Mexican-Americans in Texas.  For García, a graduate of Lanier High School, writing about the Lanier basketball squad was a labor of love; a love that comes across in both his writing and in the interview I conducted with him a couple of weeks ago.

To download or stream my interview with Ignacio García, visit: