Book Review: Cuban Revelations:Behind the Scenes in Havana

Cuban Revelations:Behind the Scenes in Havana by Marc Frank is a study of Cuba’s recent history and the gradual turning over of power. Frank has witnessed many events in Cuba from the good times to the fall of the Soviet Union and the transition of leadership. In the closed Cuban system, Frank is holds a definite edge in English language reporting on Cuba. He is also the recipient of various Thomas Reuters awards for Latin American and global stories.

In Vietnam, America suffered 58,209 deaths in a war against communism. Twenty years later, America opened diplomatic relations with the communist government of Vietnam. The war was a traumatic time for many in the US (and more so Vietnam), yet the page was turned. Ninety miles south of Florida is the island nation of Cuba. In 1959, Cuba had a revolution and overthrew the Batista government. Initially the US recognized the new government but quickly relations soured over property rights. Relations further dissolved into the missile crisis and the Bay of Pigs invasion. All in all, only four Americans died, but to this day the US does not have normal diplomatic relations with Cuba. This something shared with only four nations: North Korea, Iran, Bhutan, and Taiwan.*

Frank opens the door on what seems to be a secretive Cuban government. He is able to take the American reader inside Cuba. He talks to the people and get a personal perspective on the workings in Cuba. He describes the workings of the government and government policy. More importantly he take the reader into the change of leadership and the changes that are being instituted under Raul Castro. Many changes came quietly and many have caused some questioning of the revolution. Private businesses and selling of property are being conducted in the open with government permission. The fall of the Soviet Union has created an urgent challenge for Cuba. It lost its major source of subsidized trade and is now loaded down by debt. Countries are hesitant to offer loans Cuba, and Cuba does not have access to the World Bank or the IMF.

Cuban Revelations gives a short history of Cuba mainly dealing with the time from the fall of the Soviet Union and the aging and retirement of Fidel Castro. Frank gives the reader an insiders view to Cuba that most do not get to see. Most information is first hand reporting, but there is also over twenty pages of documentation. Cuban Revelations is a timely and well written book covering on of the most interesting American foreign policy issues and the inner workings of a country closed off to Americans. A very worthwhile read.

*Bhutan only has relations with 22 countries. Since Recognizing the People’s Republic of China, the United States no longer recognizes Taiwan as an independent country.

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