CUBA: A Journey by Jacobo Timerman

CUBA: A Journey

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Without much organization and marbled with ambivalence, this is Timerman's shaggiest work, much less powerful and prophetic than Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number. The book seems mostly to be about personal, committed journalism, a kind of mythical bottom line; that Castro's Cuba woefully fails Timerman's journalistic potential then comes to seem, absurdly, Cuba's greatest indictment. Timerman goes around interviewing the small, the plain, the poor, the afflicted of the island, but never--he makes a great deal out of this--Fidel. This, Timerman couches as a snub--his--to Castro. As a man of the left--and, he says, as a supporter of the Cuban Revolution because that revolution was spit in the eye of America--Timerman wanders the country being disappointed. Only very occasionally can he shuck off Hamlet's cape and declare what readers (if not the author) are all too ready to be convinced of: Cuba is a fascist state, and worse, a decrepit, moribund fascist state. Timerman does throw a couple of clean punches--Garcia Márquez's p.r.-man role for the Revolution gets unsparing attention; there is a sad-comic visit to a state-run ""love-hotel"" where married couples can escape the huge shared living quarters they inhabit--but elsewise this is more an ego-trip in a minor key than a real exposÉ or even measured report. Hasty, repetitious, blurry as to details and local flavors: a very weightless thing from the generally more charged Argentinian.

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1990
Publisher: Knopf