Daniel Rey

Daniel Rey is the author of 'Checkmate or Top Trumps: Cuba's Geopolitical Game of the Century'. He lives in New York.

Have NeverTrumpers found a way to hit Donald where it hurts?

With Donald Trump confirmed as the Republican nominee, a group of NeverTrump conservatives have tried to hit the former president somewhere vulnerable: the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber. The Lincoln Project, an organisation led by old-school Republicans, has released a video parodying one of the tunes most associated with Trump’s rallies – the theme song

New light on the New Testament

Readers of the Bible, you are almost certainly in for a shock. A new book, drawing on recent archaeology and literary criticism, persuasively argues that some of the most important parts of the New Testament were written or edited by slaves. Its author, Candida Moss, presents this thesis in God’s Ghostwriters, a general interest book

What Hugo Chávez failed to understand about Karl Marx

It’s 25 years this week since Hugo Chávez – an inspiration for leftwingers like Ken Livingstone and Jeremy Corbyn – was elected president of Venezuela. Chávez may not be the person primarily responsible for his country’s descent into dictatorship, anarchy and humanitarian disaster (that would be his hand-picked successor, Nicolás Maduro) but the foundation was

Next year’s US election promises a crisis

There’s only a year to go until the most complex and consequential US presidential election ever. Ukraine, the Middle East, geriatric candidates, big-name independents, the criminal charges against Trump, a new House speaker (who must ratify the outcome) who didn’t recognise Biden’s victory in 2020 – the complexity is staggering.  The two main candidates, Biden

The horror of Halloween

Temperate weather, perfect apples, and leaves turning yellow, red, and purple – ‘Fall’ ought to be the most charming time to be in the US. But the season’s natural beauty is defiled by a grotesque American obsession – Halloween. For all of October (and most of September) Halloween kitsch is as ubiquitous as leaves and

The outrageous felling of the Sycamore Gap tree

One August afternoon, my dad, my uncle, and I were walking along Hadrian’s Wall. It was pouring. Our shoes were full of water, our glasses had steamed up, and our pac-a-macs were sticking to our bodies.  Seemingly out of nowhere, we came upon a little dip in the cliff, within which was nestled a tall

Radio 4’s In Our Time is still the best thing on the BBC

For 25 years, Melvyn Bragg and his guests on Radio 4’s In Our Time have discussed most things from antimatter to Zoroastrianism. Their conversations have attracted a live audience of two million, and provide the BBC’s most-listened-to weekly podcast. At 9 a.m. today, In Our Time will broadcast its one thousandth episode. How has the BBC’s flagship

Book banning has come back to bite US conservatives

If you thought American book-banning couldn’t get any more ridiculous, think again. A school district in Utah, one of the most religious states in the country, has banned the Bible.  The Bible – fundamental to the state’s Protestant, Catholic and Mormon churches – is to be removed from elementary and middle school libraries for containing

Test cricket is being sabotaged

Test cricket should be in its prime. England is the most aggressive team in history, India and Australia are uncommonly good, and New Zealand has just played two of the most exciting matches of all time. Yet from Marylebone to Melbourne to Mumbai, administrators are sabotaging cricket’s finest form.  Every cricket lover knows that the charm

Mario Vargas Llosa’s Damascene conversion to liberalism

Mario Vargas Llosa wasn’t always a liberal. From his youth until his early thirties the Peruvian writer, born in 1936, was enthused by the utopian promises of socialism. He joined a communist cell at university, and in the 1950s spent half his salary on a subscription to Les Temps Modernes, the leftist journal founded by

Emperor for three years: the doomed reign of Maximilian I of Mexico

On 8 April 1864 an Austrian archduke with a penchant for daydreaming agreed to be emperor of Mexico. As Edward Shawcross describes in his majestic history The Last Emperor of Mexico, the process to install Maximilian of Habsburg began two and half years earlier. The plan was proposed by a determined clique of Mexican Conservatives

Why England lost the Ashes

England’s wretched performance in the Ashes – which saw the side lose three tests and so the series to Australia last week – has been more abject than even the most inspired pessimist could have imagined. No sane observer expected England to win against Australia, but to lose the five match series little more than

What was the point of the war in Afghanistan?

On 7 October 2001 President George W. Bush launched Operation Enduring Freedom – the invasion of Afghanistan. The operation sought to bring the architects of 9/11 to justice and reduce the threat of terrorism. Twenty years later, President Joe Biden has pledged to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by 31 August, bringing to a close

A death foretold: the last days of Gabriel García Márquez

In March 2014 Gabriel García Márquez went down with a cold. The man who wrote beautifully about ageing was approaching his end. As his wife told their son Rodrigo: ‘I don’t think we’ll get out of this one.’ In A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes, García, a film director and screenwriter, remembers his father and

Could street protests finally topple Cuba’s communist regime?

Could the growing tide of protests finally topple Cuba’s communist government? Many Cubans are certainly angry: Sunday marked the largest-ever demonstration against the island’s regime. Organised through social media, the protests, which began in a town twenty miles outside Havana, quickly spread across Cuba. Thousands of demonstrators marched along some of Havana’s most iconic streets, chanting ‘Freedom!’,

Snakes alive! Playing cricket in Latin America

Cricket in Latin America sounds like an oxymoron. Yet in almost every country in the region willow was hitting leather before feet were kicking pigs’ bladders. England vs Australia, first played in 1877, may be cricket’s iconic series, but the Ashes cedes ten years of history to the contest between Argentina and Uruguay — the

It’s time to scrap the Best Actress Oscar award

If you tune in to the Oscars during the early hours of Monday morning, you’ll note – along with sickly fawning about contemporary motion pictures being high art, beautiful people in beautiful clothes, and the kind of feigned surprise that wouldn’t look out of place in a school production – two glaring anomalies in the

How 20th-century artists rescued the Crucifixion

Two millennia ago, in the outer reaches of the empire, the Romans performed a routine execution of a Galilean rebel. Tortured and publicly humiliated in front of family and friends, Jesus of Nazareth was slowly asphyxiated over six hours. The Crucifixion is the centrepiece of Christianity. But artists have long adapted the devotional image of

Born out of suffering: the inspiration of Dostoevsky’s great novels

A death sentence, prison in Siberia, and chronic epilepsy. The death of his young children, a gambling addiction, and possible manic depression. Few writers endure such dark lives or possess such bright creativity as Fyodor Dostoevsky. His incomparable experiences inform many of his novels’ most powerful scenes, from accounts of innocent suffering and crazed revolutionaries