Journalist Ann Louise Bardach

Ann Louise Bardach is the author of Without Fidel and Cuba Confidential. Before participating in a discussion on whether the Cuban Revolution failed, she talked in the Zócalo green room about the journal she wrote to Napoleon’s mistress as a kid and about the interviews that got away.

Q:
What’s your biggest pet peeve?

A:
So many peeves to pick from, so few pets. People who give you their colds and flus. I think I may be getting one. I’ll start with that. Landing in Cuba and being told you aren’t allowed in. That’s not good.

Q:
Who was your childhood hero?

A:
I used to write a journal to Désirée [Clary], who was Napoleon’s mistress, but I don’t quite think she was my hero or heroine. But oh, I loved Stella Adler, the great acting teacher and coach, and by the time I was 13 I was studying with her.

Q:
What’s the interview that got away?

A:
Well I got Fidel. I got some time with Raúl, but I didn’t really get an interview, because Raúl doesn’t give interviews, unless you’re Oliver Stone or Sean Penn. The interviews that get away are people I know too well, and you just can’t play as much hardball journalistically as you would with a head of state.

Q:
What’s the last thing that made you laugh?

A:
My husband and I attacking the same fly with fly swatters and hitting each other.

Q:
What cheese best describes you?

A:
Hard Dutch gouda. I have no idea why.

Q:
How do you procrastinate?

A:
I read and clean.

Q:
What’s your favorite Cuban food?

A:
Arroz con pollo.

Q:
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

A:
Know your limitations as well as your talents.

Q:
What question are you most tired of answering about Cuba?

A:
How come Fidel’s not dead yet?

Q:
What’s your guilty TV-watching pleasure?

A:
The movie channel—TMC.