Reporter Notebook: Cuba bound - | WBTV Charlotte

Reporter Notebook: Cuba bound

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The next time I show up on the WBTV airwaves, I’ll be reporting from Havana, Cuba.

If you’re watching, you’ll likely assume I scrambled to plan a trip after hearing of Fidel Castro’s death. That would make the most sense since hundreds of reporters have flooded the country since the news broke.

But the truth is I just got lucky.

Wednesday morning, history is happening and Charlotte is center-stage. American Airlines will start their nonstop service from the Queen City to Havana, a feat many thought they’d never see. I think it’s pretty cool to live in one of the two cities American has chosen to host the flight.

RELATED ARTICLE: American Air set to launch non-stop flight from Charlotte to Cuba

Planning for the Havana flight has been in the works for months and months. In October, the airline asked WBTV and other local media outlets if we’d like to accompany them on the inaugural flight. City and county leader were also planning to go along.

Of course, I jumped at the chance. Cuba is one of those bucket-list places.

A travel agency had three days of Cuban excursions planned for us. From a classic car ride to a cigar factory tour, we were on schedule to experience the very best of the vibrant Cuban culture. And then Fidel Castro died five days before our departure.

The Cuban government declared nine days of mourning and thousands waited in line to their respects. At the same exact time, 75 miles north, Cuban exiles celebrated in the streets of Miami. The juxtaposition of the two scenes was fascinating to watch.

Monday morning, the cultural excursion was canceled. I had a feeling it would be. But since I had a press visa and the flight was still scheduled to take off, I still opted to go. I mean, I’m a journalist. Of course, I still wanted to go. I live to relay history. The infamous reign of Castro was over and I’m getting to witness it firsthand.

My trusty camera and I will be in Havana until Friday. I hope you’ll follow along on my adventure and maybe you’ll be planning a trip south soon too. 

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