This morning, I stumbled upon, “‘My Dearest Fidel’: An ABC Journalist’s Secret Liaison With Fidel Castro,” by Peter Kornbluh, who works at the National Security Archive in Washington, DC.
This is an absolutely gripping article on Lisa Howard.
For those who do know of her, Lisa Howard was an American journalist, writer and television news anchor. She became the first woman to anchor a news broadcast, and interviewed tons of important historical figures.
While many were aware of her historical importance in attempting to bridge a relationship between Fidel Castro and the U.S. government, Peter Kornbluh’s story takes all of us behind the scenes to her secret relationship with Castro, as well as how her various efforts – both political and professional – ran counter to what powerful men in government and media wanted.
In this story, there is so much insight into Howard’s intelligence, passion, independence, as well as her resolve.
You learn of the rather closed-minded fear from the men in power, many of whom wanted to keep the traditional approaches going. They feared change. And they saw Howard as a threat to changing a world they didn’t want to see changed.
In her professional world, it was the arrogance, closed-mindedness, and vindictiveness of her boss that not only destroyed her career, but eventually led her to commit suicide a few months after her show was canceled, and she was fired.
In some ways, she allowed her relationship to Fidel to compromise her.
But overall, you get the sense that her desire for an independent view – to showcase truth – was her driving motivation.
Lisa Howard was not afraid to confront Fidel. She told Castro that ran a police-state, and his brutality and the desire of tens of thousands to flee Cuba cast a black eye on his revolution.
She confronted her boss when producing her story on Cuba and Castro. He wanted to follow a Cold War script, while she wanted to show the world a balanced view – the warts, the people, the good and the bad.
With all her actions, Lisa Howard established herself as a model for journalists and diplomats – open-minded, tough, balanced, and brilliant.
When you read this story, and apply her character, style, methods, reporting, and actions into our modern world of policy-makers and journalists, one cannot help but feel sadden. We have so few (if any) people of her caliber in media… or government… today.