The Prison Letters of Fidel Castro

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Early in Ann Louise Bardach's Cuban voyage she came across Cartas de Presidio or The Prison Letters of Fidel Castro. Edited by Luis Conte Aguero, who was the recipient of most of these letters, they are cited in every important work from Hugh Thomas' opus Cuba to Tad Szulc's Fidel biography, and everything in between and since. These twenty-one letters (nine to Conte Aguero, six to his late sister and close collaborator, Lidia, one to his wife Mirta, one to his comrade in combat, Melba Hernandez letters, one to the great scholar Jorge Manach) are regarded as the single most valuable and revelatory document regarding Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution. Never before published in English, these letters were written when Castro was imprisoned for his failed attack on the Moncada from 1953 to 1955 and reveal a man of spectacular ambition and steely determination. A man, who despite being incarcerated to serve a lengthy prison term, never wavers in his confidence that he will one day rule Cuba.
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About the author

Ann Louise Bardach is an award-winning investigative journalist who has been covering Cuba for ten years for The New York Times, Vanity Fair and other national publications. She has appeared on 60 Minutes, Today, Dateline, CNN, The O'Reilly Factor, Charlie Rose and NPR. She is the author of Cuba Confidential and lives in Santa Barbara, CA.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Bold Type Books
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Published on
Apr 29, 2009
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Pages
208
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ISBN
9780786734122
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Caribbean & West Indies / Cuba
History / Holocaust
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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From the award-winning reporter and go-to source on Cuban-Miami politics Ann Louise Bardach comes a riveting, eye-opening account of the last chapter in the life of Fidel Castro: his near death and marathon finale, his enemies and their fifty-year failed battle to eliminate him, and the carefully planned succession and early reign of his brother Raúl.

Ann Louise Bardach offers a spellbinding chronicle of the Havana-Washington political showdown, drawing on nearly two decades of reporting and countless interviews with everyone from the Comandante himself, his co-ruler and brother Raúl, and other family members, to ordinary Cubans as well as officials and politicos in Miami, Havana, and Washington. The result is an unforgettable dual portrait of Fidel and Raúl Castro -- arguably the most successful and enduring political brother team in history.

Since 1959, Fidel Castro has been the supreme leader of Cuba, deftly checkmating his foes, both from within and abroad; confronting eleven American presidents; and outfoxing dozens of assassination attempts, vanquished only by collapsing health.

As night descends on Castro's extraordinary fifty-year reign, Miami, Havana, and Washington are abuzz with anxious questions: What led to the lightning-bolt purge of key Cuban officials in March 2009? Who will be Raúl's heir? Will the U.S. embargo end now?

Bardach offers profound and surprising answers to these questions as she meticulously chronicles Castro's protracted farewell and assesses his transformative impact on the world stage and the complex legacy that will long outlive him. She reports from three distinct vantage points: In Miami, where more than one million Cubans have fled, she interviews scores of exiles including Castro's would-be assassins Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles; in Washington, DC, she reports on the Obama administration's struggle to formulate a post-Castro strategy; in Havanah she permeates the bubble around the fiercely private and officially retired Castro to ascertain the extent of his undisclosed medical condition.

Bardach delivers a compelling meditation on one of the most controversial, combative, and charismatic rulers in history. Without Fidel includes never-before-published reporting on Castro, his family, and his half-century grip on the largest country in the Caribbean while assessing how his departure will forever transform politics and policy in the Western Hemisphere -- and the world.
Acquired by the United States from Spain in 1898, Puerto Rico has a peculiar status among Latin American and Caribbean countries. As a Commonwealth, the island enjoys limited autonomy over local matters, but the U.S. has dominated it militarily, politically, and economically for much of its recent history. Though they are U.S. citizens, Puerto Ricans do not have their own voting representatives in Congress and cannot vote in presidential elections (although they are able to participate in the primaries). The island's status is a topic of perennial debate, both within and beyond its shores. In recent months its colossal public debt has sparked an economic crisis that has catapulted it onto the national stage and intensified the exodus to the U.S., bringing to the fore many of the unresolved remnants of its colonial history. Puerto Rico: What Everyone Needs to Know® provides a succinct, authoritative introduction to the Island's rich history, culture, politics, and economy. The book begins with a historical overview of Puerto Rico during the Spanish colonial period (1493-1898). It then focuses on the first five decades of the U.S. colonial regime, particularly its efforts to control local, political, and economic institutions as well as to "Americanize" the Island's culture and language. Jorge Duany delves into the demographic, economic, political, and cultural features of contemporary Puerto Rico-the inner workings of the Commonwealth government and the island's relationship to the United States. Lastly, the book explores the massive population displacement that has characterized Puerto Rico since the mid-20th century. Despite their ongoing colonial dilemma, Jorge Duany argues that Puerto Ricans display a strong national identity as a Spanish-speaking, Afro-Hispanic-Caribbean nation. While a popular tourist destination, few beyond its shores are familiar with its complex history and diverse culture. Duany takes on the task of educating readers on the most important facets of the unique, troubled, but much beloved isla del encanto.
The intimate and highly revealing life story of the world’s longest-serving, most charismatic, and controversial head of state in modern times.

Fidel Castro was a dictatorial pariah to some and a hero and inspiration for many of the world's poor, defiantly charting an independent and revolutionary path for Cuba over nearly half a century. Numerous attempts were made to get Castro to tell his own story. But only in the twilight of his years was he prepared to set out the details of his remarkable biography for the world to read before his death in 2016. This book is nothing less than his living testament.

In these pages, Castro narrates a compelling chronicle that spans the harshness of his elementary school teachers; the early failures of the revolution; his intense comradeship with Che Guevara and their astonishing, against-all-odds victory over the dictator Batista; the Cuban perspective on the Bay of Pigs and the ensuing missile crisis; the active role of Cuba in African independence movements (especially its large military involvement in fighting apartheid South Africa in Angola); his relations with prominent public figures such as Boris Yeltsin, Pope John Paul II, and Saddam Hussein; and his dealings with no less than ten successive American presidents, from Eisenhower to George W. Bush.

Castro talks proudly of increasing life expectancy in Cuba; of the half million students in Cuban universities; and of the training of seventy thousand Cuban doctors nearly half of whom work abroad, assisting the poor in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He confronts a number of thorny issues, including democracy and human rights, discrimination toward homosexuals, and the presence of the death penalty on Cuban statute books. Along the way he shares intimacies about more personal matters: the benevolent strictness of his father, his successful attempt to give up cigars, his love of Ernest Hemingway's novels, and his calculation that by not shaving he saves up to ten working days each year.

Drawing on more than one hundred hours of interviews with Ignacio Ramonet, a knowledgeable and trusted interlocutor, this spoken autobiography will stand as the definitive record of an extraordinary life lived in turbulent times.
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