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Cuban Revelations: Behind the Scenes in Havana

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“A vivid, engaging exploration of Cuban politics, culture and economic life.”—America

“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.”—

“The most informative, accurate, insightful, detailed account available on twenty-first century Cuba.”—

“Marc Frank is the best foreign journalist reporting from Cuba today. We now have a behind-the-scenes look at the changes large and small taking place as the Cuban revolution molts from Fidel to Raúl to the next generation.”—Julia Sweig, author of Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know

“A must-read book to grasp what has been happening in Cuba over the past ten years.”—Wayne Smith, director of the Cuba Project, Center for International Policy

“Frank enriches his fascinating reportage with his unparalleled access to expressive Cubans from all walks of life.”—Richard Feinberg, University of California, San Diego

“With a sharp eye for human detail and a clear understanding of what makes Cuba tick, Frank’s narrative bears eloquent, balanced, and always sensitive witness to the troubled trajectory of Cuba from the ‘dark days’ of the 1990s economic collapse through to the challenging changes under Raúl. It genuinely gets ‘inside’ the otherwise confusing system and society, and is all the more welcome for that.”—Antoni Kapcia, coeditor of The Changing Dynamic of Cuban Civil Society

“Gripping and insightful. It is rare indeed to find reporting as authoritative and well sourced as this about what remains an impenetrable and opaque regime.”—Michael Reid, author of Forgotten Continent: The Battle for Latin America’s Soul

As a U.S.-born journalist who has called Havana home for almost a quarter century, Mark Frank has observed in person the best days of the revolution, the fall of the Soviet bloc, the great depression of the 1990s, the stepping aside of Fidel Castro, and the reforms now being devised by his brother. In Cuban Revelations, Frank offers a first-hand account of daily life in Cuba at the turn of the twenty-first century, the start of a new and dramatic epoch for islanders and the Cuban diaspora.

Examining the effects of U.S. policy toward Cuba, Frank analyzes why Cuba has entered an extraordinary, irreversible period of change and considers what the island’s future holds. The enormous social engineering project taking place today under Raúl’s leadership is fraught with many dangers, and Cuban Revelations follows the new leader’s efforts to overcome bureaucratic resistance and the fears of a populace that stand in his way.

In addition, Frank offers a colorful chronicle of his travels across the island’s many and varied provinces, sharing candid interviews with people from all walks of life. He takes the reader outside the capital to reveal how ordinary Cubans live and what they are thinking and feeling as fifty-year-old social and economic taboos are broken. He shares his honest and unbiased observations on extraordinary positive developments in social matters, like healthcare and education, as well as on the inefficiencies in the Cuban economy.

Ultimately, Cuban Revelations is an objective account by a reporter who has lived with the Cubans for many years as their old world falls apart and they set about trying to build a new one.

ISBN-13: 9780813061818

Media Type: Paperback(Reprint)

Publisher: University Press of Florida

Publication Date: 05-12-2015

Pages: 344

Product Dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Series: Contemporary Cuba

Marc Frank is a U.S.-born journalist who has called Havana home for almost a quarter century. He has observed the best days of the revolution, the fall of the Soviet bloc, the great depression of the 1990s, the stepping aside of Fidel Castro, and the reforms now being devised by Raul.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction 1

Part I Revolution on the Ropes (1994-2008)

1 Trauma 19

2 Castro Falters 32

3 The Big Bang 43

4 Raul Pinch-Hits 62

5 Fidel Steps Down 77

6 From Clinton to Bush 86

Part II Raul Castro in Power (2008-2009)

7 Conservative Reformers 107

8 Computers, Cell Phones, Hotels, and More 114

9 Disaster, Man-Made and Natural 123

10 Obamamania 127

11 Old Foes Get Reacquainted 135

12 Shock and Awe, Raul Style 145

Part III The Road to Reform (2009-2010)

13 Blueprint for Survival 157

14 Stealth Reform 170

15 Obama versus Raúl 178

16 Wired 191

17 Castro, the Cardinal, and the Damas 199

18 Fidel, Born Again 208

Part IV Brave New World (2010-2013)

19 Pink Slips and Permits 217

20 Requiem for the Command Economy 226

21 On the Road Again 235

22 Forward March 244

23 Cheers and Jeers 252

Conclusion 269

Acknowledgments 287

Notes 289

Selected English-Language Bibliography 311

Index 313