Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
Award-winning journalist Michael J. Totten goes to Cuba.
Award-winning journalist Michael J. Totten goes to Cuba.
213 backers pledged $10,221 to help bring this project to life.

About

Michael J. Totten's Dispatches from Cuba project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

$10,221

213

The Berlin Wall fell 24 years ago. Just two short years later, the Soviet Empire collapsed. Yet communist parties still rule five nations—North Korea, Cuba, China, Laos, and Vietnam.

These vestigial regimes may not be long for this world. China and Vietnam have already transitioned half-way to something else. But the other three are living museum pieces, frozen in the brutal mid-20th century when totalitarianism held sway over whole swaths of the planet.

I intend to visit them all. I’ll have enough material for another book at the end.

Cuba is first. Traveling there is banned for most Americans under the Trading with the Enemy Act, but journalists are exempt. Scrutiny from abroad is always bad for police states.

Working as a journalist in unfree countries is tricky, but I’ve poked around under the noses of dictators in the past and I know the workarounds.

Fidel Castro retired. He isn’t likely to last very much longer. His brother Raul took his place, but he’s only a couple years younger. Big changes might be coming to the island and fast. No one can know for sure, but I’m going over there to take a look and report on what things are like now.

My first-person narrative dispatches from Middle Eastern countries at war and in the throes of revolution garnered me three blogging awards and a book prize from the Washington Institute.

I’ve published four books so far, and my best-seller is Where the West Ends, a fusion of travel writing, journalism, and history in post-communist Eastern Europe and Western Asia. But I still work as a freelancer. I don’t have a salary, let alone a travel expense account.

That’s where you come in. Fund my next trip—to Cuba this fall—so I can produce a brand-new batch of first-person narrative dispatches. You can follow along as I publish them on my blog. And at the end of the project, I’ll publish all my material as a dispatch pack—including full-color photographs—that you can read on your iPad, your Kindle, or any other tablet or reading device. And if you don’t have a tablet or reading device, you can just read them on your computer. Generous backers will receive public thank-yous from me, on my blog and in the dispatch pack when it’s published.

I’m not asking you for donations. I’m asking you to participate and will give you something back in return. Let’s go to Cuba.

Risks and challenges

There's always a chance the Cubans won't give me a visa, but I know plenty of critical journalists who have been there repeatedly and none of them have had a problem, so I doubt this will actually be an issue.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    A thank-you email.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    11 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A full-color e-book dispatch pack that includes all the material from the project once it’s completed in formats that will work with your iPad, Kindle, or any other reading device, including a personal computer.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    130 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    All of the above, plus a public thank-you on my blog.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    21 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    All of the above, plus a public thank-you on the Acknowledgements page of the e-book collection.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    29 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    All of the above, plus a phone consultation about what you would like to see covered during the project.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    All of the above, plus you will be the project’s official sponsor and will be credited as such on my blog and in the electronic dispatch pack when it’s published.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)