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Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana
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Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  183 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
From America’s number one Cuba reporter, PEN award–winning investigative journalist Ann Louise Bardach, comes the big book on Cuba we’ve all been waiting for. An incisive and spirited portrait of the twentieth century’s wiliest political survivor and his fiefdom, Cuba Confidential is the gripping story of the shattered families and warring personalities that lie at the hea ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published October 14th 2003 by Vintage (first published October 1st 2002)
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Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
This meticulously-researched book makes two things abundantly clear: first, that Fidel Castro may very well be a sociopath; and second, that the leaders of the Cuban exile community in Miami are all unquestionably sociopaths.

I think the author did a wonderful job of showing how Castro always operated from a love of his country and a desire to end America's exploitation of his land and people, while at the same time not sugar-coating the fact that he has done terrible things to lots of people in
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it
A lot of names, a very few places. Not fond of the writing style and the insertion of the author in several places. That said, quite educational, particularly about the personalities and power behind the resident exile community in Miami. Irony must not be a strong suit there, coming here to escape oppression yet supporting assassinations, murder, and shutting down or putting the arm on community members who don't share their views.
Megan Elliott
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A comprehensive look at Cuban/American relations with the Elian Gonzalez saga as the backdrop that helps explain the complicated relationship the U.S. has with Cuba. If you want to stay blissfully unaware of political machinations, don't read this book. If you want to know why we have kept an embargo against Cuba for 50 years, read this book.
Mar 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Published in 2002, this book does not provide information on the recent developments (thaw?) in the Cuba-U.S. relationship. If it were to be republished, an epilogue by the author would be very desirable.

I came across this book on a website I was looking at about travel to Cuba. I've wanted to travel to Cuba for a long time; only recently has this been possible, although still on a somewhat restricted level. My attraction to Cuba, by and large, was stimulated by Hemingway, even though I have lon
JoséMaría BlancoWhite
**Review in Spanish**

Allá por el 2003 salió este revelador y a la vez apasionante libro sobre los cubanos huidos a Miami, poco después de que el famoso caso de Elián González y su madre ahogada tratando de llegar a la libertad de Estados Unidos levantara una gran polémica. El libro es altamente recomendable si se quiere obtener un fiel retrato de los sufrimientos y situaciones por los que pasan estas personas esclavas de la dictadura cubana, para ver y comprender lo que les mueve a arriesgar sus
Rowland Bismark
Jul 27, 2010 rated it liked it
This book is subtitled "Love and Vengeance in Miami and Cuba" but it is less about love than it is about vengeance. Since the 1959 revolution that brought Castro to power over one million exiles have left Cuba. Most of them have taken residency in Miami where they have amassed great political and financial power working for over 40 years to end Fidel's rule. Bardach's exhaustive research uncovers the emotional and often violent tactics used by both sides in this historical battle. From the Bay o ...more
Tony Hightower
Ann Louise Bardach has clearly done her homework. Every meaningful player in the history of Cuba in the last 40 years, from Fidel and Jorge Mas Canosa on down, is represented in this comprehensive tome. Certainly, she's written enough articles for Vanity Fair and other publications on the subject that it was well worth the extra effort to tie them together into a complete personal history of Cuban politics and society.

But a series of articles fleshed out is not a book, and there are times where
Timothy Riley
What type of government supports terrorism? North Korea? Iran? Israel? What about the US government? If I said that a terrorist blew up a fully loaded airliner full of civilians and he was celebrated in a major American city, saved from justice in another country, brought to America, given asylum, and put on the government payroll, would you believe me? Orlando Bosch is the name of the murderer who has a day named after him in Miami where they apparently don't care that he killed women and child ...more
Feb 20, 2011 rated it liked it
"Cuba Confidential," published in 2003, is essentially piece of journalism and so parts of it seem a little dated in 2111. Bardach presents the book as the history of internal conflict within various Cuban "families" in Miami and Havana, the three most notable being the Elian Gonzalez family, the Fidel Castro family and the larger "family" of the Cuban exile community in South Florida. It is the story of this latter family that make this book intriguing and, in my opinion, makes it worth reading ...more
Michael Casey
Mar 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
For Castro's foes in Miami and his supporters in Havana and other parts of Latin America, there is no middle ground: "El Lider Maximo" is either a tyrant on par with Hitler or the bold leader of a revolution that has freed Cubans from the oppression of U.S. imperialism. The truth is that both sides are guilty of extreme exaggeration, violence, and self-serving manipulation of innocent people (Cubans on Castro's part, American voters on the part of the Miami Cubans.) It takes a hard-hitting, fear ...more
Sheila Friedman
Aug 29, 2012 rated it liked it
I won't say this wasn't extremely informative and extremely detailed. Bardach gives you an in depth study of the Elian Gonzalez saga as it relates to the politics as they took place in Havana and Miami during the time of Elian's 6 months in the States. I learned a lot... in fact I had to take copious notes just to keep up with the names and events. That said, I found the book somewhat disjointed and confusing. I finished reading it with some difficulty, but I was learning too much to return it w ...more
Jon Fish
Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fascinating! I fancy myself a well-informed American, yet I had no idea how much the US-Cuba relationship affected not only the international political landscape, but also domestic life.

The book follows the Eliàn Gonzalez case as it dissects Fidel Castro's fortunes over the years. The tales of intrigue, conniving, strategy, and politicking both in the US and Cuba seem worthy of an Aaron Sorkin film.

Bardach writes as the reporter she is: clearly, informatively, and with a hint of emotion that e
Jan 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. Not many people can write about Cuba from a balanced perspective like Bardach can (usually it's either really pro- or anti-Castro and incredibly biased), so for that, I commend her. Also, there were a bunch of really interstate tidbits about the Castro family in here, as well as about the super-powerful exile community in Miami. All in all, a great, balanced read about Cuba and the Castro regime.
The Tick
May 18, 2012 rated it liked it
I felt a little misled by the title and the cover copy. It sounded more like a travel memoir, something more personal than what the book turned out to be. It wasn't bad, but it really wasn't what I wanted at this point either. I also had a very hard time keeping some of the people in the book straight, especially when she would go several chapters without talking about them and then bring them up again without any reminders.
Mar 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: the Cuba-curious
A must-read examination of the Miami exile community and some good post-Revolution Cuban history. I thought there was something really deeply wrong with Cuban exile politics during the Elian Gonzalez debacle, etc., but I didn't know the half of it.

I read this book in Cuba and Fidel's, scratch that, Raul's security guard at the airport almost didn't let me bring it in until I explained that it was a "travel book."
Jun 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in my Global Journalism class. The author of this book was a visiting professor at my school. She is the first and only person I met to have had a face-to-face interview with Fidel Castro twice before he passed away. She was a White House correspondent and columnist for Vanity Fair.
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The book begins and ends with Elian Gonzales landing on a beach in Florida and eventually returning to Cuba. In between is a detailed account of the people, politicians, and other players in Cuban history, politics, and Cuba-US relations, with the author traveling to and talking with them where they are located in Cuba, Miami, D.C. and elsewhere. Complex and fascinating.
May 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in U.S.-Cuba Relations
This is a fantastic journalistic account of the history between the U.S. and Cuban governments, mainly from the time Castro took control in the 1960s. It focuses a lot also on the Elian Gonzalez case, and how it impacted both sides of this relationship, both personally and politically. It also details the CIA's involvement during the 1970s and 1980s in attempting to destabilize Cuba.
Jul 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
A good commuter book because I could read it in bits and pieces. Very interesting and well written without any bias to either side. The only thing I wish is that I had an updated version of it as this was written in 2002.
Nov 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I loved learning more about Cuba, Cuban Americans, and Miami politics from this book, and I say that as the wife of a Cuban American, a scholar of Latin America and a former Miami resident. Very educational; a fascinating read.
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm almost done and this book has been fascinating. All the political maelstrom surrounding this young boy and the tentacles that reached back to the Bay of Pigs, Iran-contra involvement, the 2000 debacle of an election process in Florida, the
Lois Flaherty
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a riveting and amazing expose of the Cuban exiles power and stranglehold on US relations with Cuba. It's a combination of a rigid ideology that has the flavor of a fanatical religious movement and gangsterism. There is some hope that as the older generation dies off things will improve.
Aug 16, 2008 added it
Fascinating. and fucked-up. written like a thriller it details the history of the U.S policy with Cuba and the powerful Miami exiles who dictate it. this one will make you mad.
Mar 18, 2008 marked it as to-read
a pop exploded all over this book in my bag the day i started reading it. so it has been put on the back burner.
Not sure if I'm going to enjoy this...I'm only part way through the first chapter and I sense a distinct US bias...
Amazing revelations about the connection of Mafia, CIA, assasins and hoodlums in government all connected to Miami Cubans
El Diablo
Feb 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Very objective account of the dysfunctional relationship between the U.S. and Cuba, pointing fingers equally at both sides...
Oct 10, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
What I found most fascinating was the influence and power of the exile community in the US. Eye opening.
rated it really liked it
Jan 15, 2013
Roberto Ramirez
rated it really liked it
Mar 02, 2014
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