22 Aug


So,  the Bedlamite regime has cast an evil spell/toxic pall on  America, like the thumb blocking out the sun, dominating the daily news cycle and social media for nearly two years. Exacerbating an already sketchy level of interest of matters global. A recent report which claimed that Cuba had been targeting US diplomats  quoted a 2007 State  Department’s Inspector General’s  64-page report asserting


that the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana suffered from poor morale as a result of the Cuban government’s deliberate efforts to create hardship and discontent in the lives of the diplomats. “Retaliations have ranged from the petty to the poisoning of family pets. The regime has recently gone to great lengths to harass some employees by holding up household goods and consumable shipments. The apparent goal has been to instigate dissension within USINT ranks.”

And this news item was a reminder that the world has kept turning despite the antics of our vulgarian POTUS.





I have an unusual if not special connection to Cuba. As an immigrant boy living in Chicago, Illinois in the late 50’s, a coalescence of things brought Cuba to my impressionable mind. Whenever snatches of music got past the rising mania of Elvis Presley, it tended to be Latin— Prez Prado, Xavier Cugat even Desi Arnez and soon after Dizzy Gillespie’s Afro Cuban explorations. And then the overthrow of US sponsored thug Fulgencio Batista brought a cadre of hirsute guys variously known as Fidelistas or the Bearded Ones onto the world stage. Perhaps the first time in recent memory that revolutionaries were (briefly) embraced by their Uncle Sam.

So since that time, things Cuban have always had an allure for me. And as my preoccupation ripened as I became familiar with the richness of Cuba culture and gustatory delights from fulsome cigars to the island’s rums…so it did not escape my attention that on 26 July not was made of the anniversary*of Cuba’s revolution, entitled The 26th of July Movement. So called because Fidel cars led an unsuccessful attack on the Army’s Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba in July 1953. Defeat notwith- standing, Cuba celebrates that attack as a national holiday taking three days off.

US aggression or inattention, Cuba continues to avoid the pitfalls of a dreary socialist state which, it should not go unsaid, is amazing. Among other things, author Leonardo Padura’s noir quartet has served as the foundation of the Four Seasons in Havana series on Netflix And

And Padura’s latest novel, Heretics, is a robust narrative touching on the infamous SS St Louis incident of 1940, a wandering Rembrandt painting and the changing face of pre revolutionary Cuba. Jon Lee Anderson lucidly profiled Padura in The New Yorker which is worth reading as Jon Lee and is a reliable reporter and knows Cuba



Heretics by Leonardo Padura

In fact, Anderson’s biography of Che Guevera is an insightful snapshot into recent Cuban history. Add Ned Sublette’s Cuba and Its Music and The American Slave Coast


and one can begin to fill in the compelling history of the largest island in the Antilles.

Of course, if you really want to immerse yourself in depths of Cuba’s presence in the history of the Western hemisphere, there is English historian Hugh Thomas’s magisterial opus, Cuba: Or the Pursuit of Freedom  published in 1971 running more than 1700 pages is the authoritative source


Today’s Cuba is not all old cars and cigar smoking, guitar strumming campesinos, as a recent exhibition at the Pérez Art Museum Miami makes clearOn the Horizon: Internal Landscapes** was dedicated to contemporary Cuban art created on the island and intends to be the launch of a series.





However, Cuba is presented in the news and whatever the conventional understanding of Cuba’s place in world history, one should always keep in mind that Fidel made a career out of pulling on Uncle Sam’s nose and thus he gained great credibility and admiration around the world…











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