Even the most casual visitor to Cuba who arrives for fun and rum very quickly begins to ask questions and get involved in thinking about the aspirations of Cuba and its people. You just cannot help getting drawn in by this captivating country.
A typical first query has to do with Cuba’s dual currency, which in turn leads to salary levels, operating old cars, homes, food and then to the US embargo. The conversation moves infectiously on to internet, travel, visas, the Soviet Union, Fidel, Raúl’s new attitudes and on and on into the evening.
There have been and continue to be endless opinion on each and every one of those opinions but Marc Frank’s new book Cuban Revelations leaps out from the crowd for several reasons. Rather than being a strident advocate for any side of the argument, Frank is veteran journalist who has lived in Cuba for nearly 25 years. He has traveled around the island extensively, asked a lot of questions himself and in his role as a prolific writer for Thompson Reuters and Financial Times as well as consultant for ABC News has received communication from official and unofficial sources in Cuba and beyond. Legally in Cuba, he is a US citizen who understands, or at least knowingly observes, his native country’s relationship with the island nation. Although it’s only partially biographical, Frank takes on the whole assignment from a personal viewpoint candidly presenting his own experience and resulting observations as a constituent of the country’s evolution.
By his own admission, it’s a tall task to pin down what exactly is happening in Cuba today. In fact, it’s difficult to even get accurate details about past events so Frank uses a well researched combination of reported news, published opinion and anecdotes layered with an astute analysis to attempt to provide answers. That makes for a lot of reading and some incredibly insightful thinking aimed at honing in on a few conclusions. Those conclusions are mostly qualified with a “likely” or “possibly” since absolutely authoritative information about who or what are steering the many ships on the complicated political sea is simply not available. You just couldn’t do an analysis like this if you hadn’t been following closely for a quarter century; he has.
There is a staggering amount of information to ponder here taking a stroll through Cuba’s politics, economy, morality and 54 –year post revolution history. Thanks to old school newspaper reporting, contacts carefully cultivated over a professional career and some shrewd observation, Frank’s book is a considerably deeper than much of the work on the subject. It takes on the challenge of describing what’s in a black box with energy and candor.
So what’s happening behind the scenes? What will happen next? Does this book answer the questions everyone is asking? Yes, but with an allowance for what might or might not have really happened or what might be to come. Cuban Revelations is published in the USA by University Press of Florida. I, for one, am fascinated by Cuba and found Frank’s reporting thought provoking and informative. If you share that fascination be sure to read it.
Cuban Revelations is published in the USA by University Press of Florida. The book or e-book is available through amazon.com, amazon.ca, barnesandnoble.com and via many retail bookstores.