Books by Andrés Oppenheimer

Released: April 30, 2019

"A promising, terrifying, and cautionary exploration of the 'unstoppable' rise of automation."
A keen assessment of the future of work amid sweeping advances in technological automation. Read full book review >
Released: April 17, 1996

NAFTA, Zapatista guerrillas, and Wall Street form the backdrop for this fine journalistic account of Mexico's current tumult. If the people of Mexico ever rise up in revolution—-as they now seem poised to do—it will be at least in part a response to the Wall Street investment bankers who, in Miami Herald reporter Oppenheimer's charged telling, have long profited from that nation's misery. Oppenheimer dissects the career of former president Salinas de Gortari, who is now in hiding, a man who entered office supposedly determined to root out corruption and who, it now appears, robbed the country blind. While doing so, he managed to convince President Clinton to engineer a politically controversial bailout of Mexico, a nation Clinton had hailed as a model of economic development. The complicated financial doings that underlie this story do not make for easy reading, but Oppenheimer lays them out patiently, and Americans wondering just what goes on behind closed doors in Washington can do worse than ponder what he has to tell. What Oppenheimer has to say about Subcomandante Marcos's Zapatista Liberation Army, a substantial portion of the book, is less immediate, if only because Marcos has been so much in the news lately. Still, his tying the Chiapas revolt into the historical context of US-Mexican affairs drives home a needed point; as he writes, ``Mexican presidents had conveyed the idea to their friends in Washington . . . that they were the only ones standing between a modernizing, pro-American Mexico and an insurgent Mexico'' poised to expropriate American holdings there. That specter, Oppenheimer suggests, now allows the administration to hail yet another ``reform president,'' Ernesto Zedillo and to proclaim against all evidence, as Clinton has done, that ``the Mexican economy has turned the corner.'' Mexico watchers expect hard times to come for that country, and Oppenheimer's excellent book explains just why. Read full book review >
Released: July 29, 1992

Real-life thriller about Fidel Castro vs. perestroika and glasnost; by Oppenheimer, Pulitzer-winning foreign correspondent for The Miami Herald. According to the author, withdrawal of Soviet support in the late 80's soon impoverished Cuba, which depended on the Soviet bloc for 87% of its trade and 90% of its oil. Oppenheimer depicts a discouraged, bureaucratized populace, reduced to rationing, illegal transactions, and ox-carts and bicycles, champing to get back to prosperity, no longer convinced by Castro's thundering speeches. During this period, several ranking military officers were convicted of drug smuggling and shot. At the heart of Oppenheimer's study is an in-depth exploration of this case, and of the Machiavellian world of the Cuban military, intelligence, and criminal communities in which it transpired. He finds that the executions amounted to human sacrifices to political expediency: With Cuba falling apart, Castro apparently feared revolt, even from these officers so close to him. The most prominent victims form a dramatic study in Cuban culture: Colonel ``Tony'' De La Guardia- -arrogant, athletic, well connected, upper middle-class, a womanizer, educated in the US; and General Arnaldo Ochoa, the hero every Marxist revolution wants to produce—a man of the people with a fourth-grade education who came up through the ranks to become Castro's friend and to command the Cuban forces in Angola, but who still lived in a small house and was embarrassed to drive his Mercedes. What these two men shared, Oppenheimer says, was a critical view of Communism and a realistic entrepreneurial grasp unacceptable to Castro. Unfortunately, the author fails to explore fully how US foreign and trade policy, CIA activity, and historic relations with the dictator Batista are involved in Cuba's current plight. Still, Oppenheimer's familiarity with Cuban history, psychology, and culture—combined with extensive research and interviews—place his account well above standard left-bashing. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen.) Read full book review >