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68
F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / M A R C H 2 0 1 2
Cuba Libro
Cuba: The Audacious Revolution
George Gedda, CreateSpace, 2011,
$12.98/paperback, $4.99/Kindle
Edition, 362 pages.
R
EVIEWED BY
J
OHN
M
AISTO
Longtime readers of the
Foreign
Service Journal
will instantly recognize
George Gedda’s name, both for his
decades as the State Department cor-
respondent for the Associated Press
and his frequent articles in the
FSJ
.
Several of them concerned Cuba, a
country he has visited 31 times since
1974.
Add to that firsthand experience
Gedda’s old-fashioned, source-focused
journalism and lively, reader-friendly
prose, and the result is
Cuba: The Au-
dacious Revolution.
Anyone who wants
to understand this country that has
challenged the United States for half a
century should acquire it right away.
Gedda’s analysis of the history of the
U.S.-Cuba relationship, which draws
on his many contacts at State, is thor-
ough. Still, a brief explanation of how
U.S. imperialism from the Spanish-
American War until the New Deal
helped foment Cuban nationalism
would have usefully framed that dis-
cussion.
Using quotes from Fidel Castro’s
speeches over the years, Gedda docu-
ments how Castro skillfully conducted
the “Audacious Revolution.” He also
explains how Castro continues to hold
sway long after leaving the Cuban pres-
idency. And his account of Havana’s
skillful use of medical diplomacy and
soft power around the world is a story
that most Americans have never heard.
The author pulls no punches in de-
scribing how Cubans have coped with
$1/day wages, rationing, corruption at
all levels, the tough post-Soviet econ-
omy, the weapons culture, neighbor-
hood defense committees and short-
ages of medicines (despite health care
that is good overall).
But he is also careful to give the rev-
olution its due, citing health and edu-
cation statistics with appropriate
context. That said, it would have been
instructive to add, perhaps in a foot-
note, the fact that other countries in the
B
O O K S