Perhaps the foremost social analyst and journalist on Cuban affairs, Carlos Alberto Montaner has written a definitive study of the Cuban regime from the vantage point of the Cuban dictator. This is t simply a history of Cuban communism but rather a personal history of its leader, Fidel Castro. Montaner's extraordinary kwledge of the country and its politics prevents the work from becoming a psychiatric examination from afar. Indeed, what personal irrationalities exist are seen as built into the fabric of the regime itself, and t simply as a personality aberration. Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution is t an apologia for past United States involvement in Cuban affairs. The author is severe in his judgments of such participation. Nor is he sparing in his sense of the betrayal of the original purposes of the Revolution of 1959 manifested in the character and policies of Fidel Castro. As the work progresses from a study of the victims to a study of the beneficiaries of the Cuban Revolution, it leaves the reader with a deep sense of the tragedy of a revolution betrayed, but t one that could have easily been avoided. Montaner is an exile like the great Alexander Herzen before him. His decision to live in Europe was made by choice, t of necessity. He sees his role as critical analyst, t as restoring the status quo ante. A most valuable aspect of this book is its intimate reevaluation of Fulgencio Batista. Whatever the reader's judgment of Montaner's work, one can read it and be dismissive of the effort. It is a work of intimacy even through written in exile--and hence must be viewed as an important effort to understand the character of the man and regime who have changed the course of Cuban history in our times.
Carlos Alberto Montaner is director of Firmas, a news agency and journalistic bureau located in Madrid, Spain, which services the entire Spanish-speaking world. He is author of Cuba, Castro and the Caribbean; Secret Report on the Cuban Revolution (both published by Transaction); Two Hundred Years of Gringos; and a series of novels and short stories published in Spanish, including Dog's World; Witches' Poker; Snapshots on the Edge of the Abyss, and Literature Considered as a Form of Hives.