“Castro resigned last night. I’m finding you a flight” my boss said in the message he left at 6:19 a.m. this morning. I didn’t pick up the phone and let him go to voice mail thinking it was a wrong number. (Steve if you are reading this I didn’t pick up because I didn’t have your home number stored in my phone–promise!) In a half-conscious-groggy-state I listened to the message with the nagging fear it wasn’t a wrong number.
At the paper we thought he might announce his resignation at the meeting of the Cuban National Assembly Sunday. Now I was booked for a nice relaxing Saturday flight for that story. Well, Castro wouldn’t be Castro if he didn’t throw a little wrench into it all. My boss found me an 8:25 a.m. flight and I was able to catch that one. It was a quick packing job I tell you. Now before you say I’m a slow packer and that would be more than enough time for you, keep in mind I have to pack a HD video camera, tripod, extra HDV camera, microphones, extra batteries, chargers, and then on top of that all my still photography gear. Oh yeah, clothes too! I was packed and ready to go out the door before we even had flight details finalized. I got to my gate as soon as they were boarding my zone. “This is where it gets fun” my boss said. Hah. It was definitely an adrenaline filled morning!
I can’t post any photographs yet because they will go for the paper tomorrow as well as online. The video is done now and will run with the story. Check it and the paper out tomorrow! Here’s to hoping for the front page!
***update. yes front page and the photograph above on A4.
Here is the story online and the video I shot, produced, and edited is on the top of the page. Many thanks to Alan Gomez, the USA TODAY reporter on the assignment with me for conducting some of my interviews in Spanish and then Spanish translation and a well-done English voice-over.