The Last Revolutionary

Picture 1 - Fidel Castro and Dan Rather in Cuba

Shooting CBS's "The Last Revolutionary," in Cuba. Rather (Dan) Papers, Box 78 Folder 7_0038, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University.

Fidel Castro took Dan Rather to the sites of pivotal events in the Cuban leader's career in "The Last Revolutionary." Together, they visited the Bay of Pigs and the mountains Castro and his guerrillas called home in the 1950s. The show featured comments from Castro's exiled sister and his older brother Ramon, as well as his former schoolmates and three Americans who aided Castro as teens.

While the New York Times noted how the chat between the two men was “easy going and adroitly interwoven with evocative newsreels,” it also pointed to the “sometimes overblown script,” and the “cursory analysis.” The Washington Post called it “comprehensive, shaded and satisfying in ways a short segment […] could never be.” Praising Rather for not glamorizing Castro or smudging over the failure of his reign, the newspapers concluded that it was “one rare hour of television that [was] anything but frittered away.” In a letter, fellow journalist Barbara Walters praised Rather for an "absolutely fascinating" interview. Produced by Linda Mason, James Stolz, and Kristina Borjesson, who were nominated for an Emmy, the show aired on July 18, 1996.

Dan Rather interviewed Fidel Castro several times in the course of his career, in 1979 for 60 Minutes, in March 1985 and in 1995 when the Cuban leader came to the United States to speak at the United Nations.