Welcome to Stories of Communism, the podcast where we review and discuss the firsthand testimony of those who lived through the horrors of Communism over the past century. This is Erik Seligman, your co-host, along with Manuel Castaneda, recording from the suburbs of Portland, Oregon.
This week we have a really amazing guest, Nelson Rodriguez Chartrand from Cuba, one of the modern heroes of the movement for freedom worldwide. You may remember that a few episodes back we interviewed a documentary filmmaker who mentioned the story of his friend Nelson, who had defied the Cuban authorities to teach capitalist and libertarian ideas to his neighbors. After we recorded that episode, I managed to connect directly with Nelson online to learn more about his work.
Since the time we recorded that earlier episode, Nelson’s life has changed dramatically. As you may recall, Nelson’s teaching was, for a while, grudgingly tolerated by the authorities, though they did threaten him and take away his right to practice as a lawyer. But earlier this year, the Cuban government took a renewed interest in him, and he had to flee the country. You’ll hear the full story in this interview.
One aspect that made this a little tricky is that Nelson isn’t fluent in English, and I’m not fluent in Spanish. But luckily my co-host Manuel is bilingual, so his translation abilities enabled us to conduct the interview. I decided that the listeners deserved to hear Nelson’s voice directly, so you will hear his Spanish answers in the audio as well as Manuel’s translations. But to keep the flow a little smoother, I edited out Manuel’s Spanish translations of my questions. Here you go!
<interview is included in the audio podcast>
I hope you enjoyed Nelson’s amazing story; we'll be sure to update you if there are further developments in his struggle. By the way, if you want to aid Nelson’s cause, he suggests donating to the Instituto Mises-Mambi De Cuba, and they have a PayPal link in the show notes. You can also find both the Instituto and Nelson’s Movmiento Anarcocapitalista de Cuba on Facebook and other social media.
And this concludes your Story of Communism for today.