AND THE RUSSIANS STAYED by Nestor T. Carbonell

AND THE RUSSIANS STAYED

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An impassioned account of Soviet involvement in Castro's Cuba; by a native Cuban (now American immigrant) with a family tradition of fighting for independence. This is the strongest anti-Castro volume to appear since Armando Valladares' prison memoir, Against, All Hope (1986). After offering a brief history of Cuba, emphasizing its ability to endure and then oust dictators and "mesmerizing caudillios," Carbonell settles into a scathing chronicle of the past three decades under a "new breed of demagogue" who had "exotic and disquieting totalitarian overtones." Castro, the author points out, caught most people by surprise on New Year's Day, 1959; and he was a master at concealing his Marxist-Leninist stripes--even American State Department officials were duped. Carbonell intersperses his history of Castro's regime with an account of his own (and his family's) attempts to influence the island's political future--resulting in Carbonell's forced emigration in 1960, after several attempts to sway public opinion to force Castro to adhere to the Consitution of 1940. The "Sovietization of Cuba," Carbonell makes clear, had its ironic birth in the American boycott of Castro's sugar, allowing Moscow to step in as an economic savior. And Carbonell states that for Cuba, "the Gibraltar of the Americas," geography is destiny. Thus, the Cuba-Soviet compact had far-reaching big-power implications--e.g., the Cuban missile crisis. Carbonell finds little to be hopeful about in recent signs of conciliation between the US and Cuba. Pointing out that the Soviet Union provides ten times as much military assistance to Cuba as does the US to all of Latin America, he finds it highly improbable that Castro will have a change of heart; still, citing his family struggles as a model, the author insists that "the Cuban saga continues."

Pub Date: May 12th, 1989
ISBN: 688-07213-5
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
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