Cuban dissidents, Arizona and Hamilton!

This is my recommended podcast of the week. The one-hour show begins with an interview of the Cuban journalist Miriam Leiva, widow of economist Oscar Espinosa (1940-2013). If you don’t listen to anything else, don’t miss this part. The next segment is a follow-up of an FT column on Arizona’s increasingly warm welcome of visitors from Mexico. The third and final segment is a review of the Broadway musical “Hamilton!”.

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Here is a guide to each segment of this week’s Alphachat.

[4:02] The story of a dissident Cuban economist

Taped in Havana, Cuba, I spoke with the Cuban journalist and dissident Miriam Leiva about the life of her late husband, Oscar Espinosa Chepe. He was an economist with an irrepressible instinct to tell the truth to a regime that didn’t much want to hear it, and he was repeatedly punished for it throughout his life.

In 2003, Chepe was one of 75 Cubans arrested and given long prison sentences in what is known as the Black Spring. Already suffering from liver disease, he was interrogated and treated brutally. When finally released on health grounds after eighteen months, he went right back to telling the truth. I loved this interview more than any other I hosted in 2015.

A free travel zone for Mexicans to shop in Arizona

You might have heard that the US is yet again having a heated national debate on immigration, especially now that the race for the Republican nomination is well underway. But the FT’s national US editor Gary Silverman traveled to Arizona, where Mexicans can [enter the state with a border-crossing card] …. We play some interviews from Gary’s trip and then talk to him in the studio.


Shannon and I gush about the hip-hop Broadway musical that depicts the life of US founding father Alexander Hamilton, the country’s first Treasury secretary who was killed in a duel by Vice President Aaron Burr.

Cardiff Garcia, “Alphachat: the life of a dissident Cuban economist; a Mexico-US free travel zone; ‘Hamilton’!“, FT Alphaville podcast, 19 December 2015.

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