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Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana Paperback – October 14, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (October 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385720521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385720526
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #773,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The 2000 custody battle between little Elian Gonzalez's father, acting, according to Bardach, as the surrogate for the Cuban government, and his exiled Miami relatives, the surrogate anti-Castro forces, became a relentless media event and international affair. The PEN award-winning investigative journalist uses the Elian story as a starting place to examine the larger issues that have roiled Cuba-U.S. politics for four decades. Relying on interviews with Castro, U.S. and Cuban government officials, relatives from both sides of Elian's family and members of the Cuban-exile community, she explores the sources of American enmity toward Cuba and the blood feuds (for example, the Florida congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart is the nephew of Castro's former wife) that inform anti-Castro sentiments among Cuban exiles. Along the way Bardach finds craven political opportunism (hoping to secure Cuban-exile support, Bush and Gore both backed keeping Elian in the U.S. during the 2000 presidential campaign), political corruption facilitated by the power of the Cuban-exile community in the Miami area, and a shocking tolerance, by post-September 11 standards at least, within the exile community and U.S. government for terrorism directed toward Cuba. Bardach's credibility is sometimes undermined by her failure to critically assess her informants' accusations-innuendoes about Florida governor Jeb Bush's philandering fall into this category-and her tendency to hint at political conspiracies everywhere. All in all, though, Bardach's muckraker is entertaining and disturbing, as it reflects on the power of the dubiously motivated Cuban-exile community. 16 pages of photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

The quagmire of the shattered Cuban family is the background for PEN Award-winning journalist Bardach's investigation of the tragic parallel universes in the two Cubas: the largest island in the Caribbean and the diverse, multifaceted exile community in Miami. Since 1959, Cuban families have suffered, driven apart by politics, geography, conflicting convictions, secrets, and the anguish of separation. Four decades of seething betrayal, suspicion, and conspiracies culminated in world media attention during the Eli n Gonz lez affair, the single most transforming event of Cuba-U.S. relations since the Bay of Pigs. Drawing on ten years of reporting on Cuba and its exiles, Bardach transitions effectively between profiles of aging patriarch and leader Fidel Castro and Cuban exiles seeking freedom but shunted into silence by hard-liners committed to revenge, retribution, and power. Designed for a general audience, this compact volume offers clear explanations of events, individuals, and dynamics since the Cuban Revolution, telling the story of the Gonz lez family and many others. Bibliographic citations incorporate bilingual print, online resources, and interviews. Highly recommended for purchase by large public and academic libraries and specialized contemporary Latin American studies collections.
Sylvia D. Hall-Ellis, LIS Program, Coll. of Education, Univ. of Denver
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Wow! She's got guts. As an earlier reviewer noted, to understand the negative reviews of this book, you have to read the book. I read it in 2 days, although some of the sections on the Cuban exile community are just so disheartening/sad/frusturating that I had to skim over them.
The U.S. public has been fed one version of Cuba by a lazy media and pandering politicians. But more and more people are becoming more and more interested-visiting Cuba and educating themselves....Bardach's book is an excellent contribution!
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
A very detailed and carefully written book. And, from my experiences in Miami, accurate. The Elian incident was a watershed period in Miami. Any honest person with any type of interaction with the Miami Cuba community knew how committed most Cubans were to keeping Elian in the United States. The feelings were so extreme that conversations about the boy was difficult; and, with some, it is still difficult. But things are a little different now. Somehow the Elian incident seems to have mitigated some of the more extreme voices in the community, and for that, things are better. This book is an excellent primer for understanding the South Florida community.
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36 of 49 people found the following review helpful By "kapah" on October 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Most written materials on either Cuba or the Cuban exiles are biased toward relentless criticisms or else justifications and praise.Not this one. Living in the Miami area, I find that the book has an uncanny portrait of this group impact on anyone who dwells here, whether one cares about Cuba or not. The influence that the Cuban exiles, and their political and local media have in this County is evident for anyone that followed the Elian story, let alone the national electoral events in 2000. This is well described in this book, with immediate character impressions in interviews that make it irresistibly suspenseful, especially in the first few chapters. The juxtaposition of persons of the Elian Gonzalez family in both sides of the exile divide, is presented with candid portraits and fresh information .The personal saga of the Castro family , and of the relatives which are at opposite poles of passion, often hatred, is particularly illuminating, and brings surprising data. The views of the persons left in Cuba give a human dimension that no doubt is a common experience to the over one hundred thousand Cubans that come and go every year, but unavailable to the rest of the US citizens who cannot travel to the Island. This is not a political or socio-economical treatise, and it has a minimum of quantitative information. Political events, especially those at the beginning of the Revolution, are incomplete and critical figures are glossed over. It indirectly describes- I believe impartially- the hardships of life in a one-Party state with few political and economical options, and suggests the adaptations that allow everyday endurance . Overall, it has the freshness and attraction of superb reporting. It cannot be ignored by those who need to understand a community with at times disproportionate influence in American life .
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Linda C. Estrada on March 19, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My Dad was a balsero, who eventually made it to Phila. where I was born, he went back to fight against Castro and we have never seen or heard from him again!I never got an opportunity to talk with him about all the politics involved in this Castro-Cuba thing but this answered so many questions. YOu're reading history but its not dull or stilted at all. Thank you Ms Bardach for a great book and although I know you lost many contacts, for writing this way. I applaud you, for your honesty and courage!!!
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Richard Mensah on March 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana is a definitive look at the two very different communities of the Cuban exiles in Florida and New Jersey and that of the nation of Cuba. Ann Louise Bardach provides an clear and primarily unbiased look at how the Cuban Revolution of 1959 caused a rift not only between America, which used the island as a sin city playground, and Cuba but between families who choose to support Castro and those who opposed communism. Bardach's book is part history and part sociology. Thoroughly researched and written with style of writing that keeps the reader highly interested chapter after chapter, "Cuba Confidential" hits many topics ranging from politcal corruption and terrorism to family values and race relations. Three of the most interesting and intriguing chapters are those of "Calle Ocho Politics", "An Assassin's Tale in Three Acts" and "The Third Rail". I found them the most interesting because they focused on the political climate of South Florida and the overwhelming influence of the Cuban exile community on the government of the state of Florida. As a history and political science major in college, I read about the strength of the primarily conservative Cuban Americans in South Florida but I never researched how pervasive and corrupt it was and still is. "Cuba Confidential" details the long list of injustices committed by some cuban officals in Florida and the Tammany Hall political machines that they run. Even the federal government through such agencies as the FBI are found to be influenced by the power and cohersion of Cuban politicos.
If you want to learn about the darker side of the "Sunshine State" then read this book.
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