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Hardcover After Fidel: The Inside Story of Castro's Regime and Cuba's Next Leader Book

ISBN: 1403969434

ISBN13: 9781403969439

After Fidel: The Inside Story of Castro's Regime and Cuba's Next Leader

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Book Overview

This is a compelling behind-the-scenes account of the extraordinary Castro brothers and the impending dynastic succession of Fidel's younger brother Raul. Brian Latell, the CIA analyst who has followed Castro since the sixties, gives an unprecedented view into Fidel and Raul's remarkable relationship, revealing how they have collaborated in policy making, divided responsibilities, and resolved disagreements for more than forty years--a challenge to...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Essential Reading for the Latin American Observer

With the advent of neo-leftist movements all over Latin America, Brian Latell's "After Fidel" is certainly essential reading for any businessman, observer or diplomat involved in Latin America. Latell provides insightful analysis into the governing of Cuba by Fidel Castro and his brother Raul who Latell projects will take over the island nation after Fidel. The sucession is important as Latin American enters a period of neo-leftism lead by Venezuela's Chavez and marked by movements in Bolivia and Mexico. Cuba's potential support and possible involvement in these movements is at the top of the agenda for any analysis of the Latin America's political economy today. Raul is a compelling character - living for the most part away from the public eye - yet obviously holding critical influence and sway over government deliberations in every area of Cuba's domestic and foreign policy. Contrasting the two brothers is psychological as well as political theater - it is clear that some day Raul will certainly be able to direct policies his way independently of his brother and free of any rivalry which exists in any close relationship between brothers. Latell's key contribution is to project Cuba's future policies based upon his insights into the interactions between the two in the past. Latell leaves us hungry for the sequel which will certainly come soon: Cuba After Raul.

Cuban Leadership Issues

Latell's book is a vital reference for anyone interested in how Cuba is led and how the succession to Fidel Castro is likely to play out. It provides a compelling political portrait of the Castro brothers: their formative experiences, ideological convictions, leadership styles and evolving views of the outside world. Remote leadership analysis, though, is an imperfect explanatory and predictive tool, and we must keep in mind the wider context. The United States did not create the Castro phenomenon, but U.S. policy has had much to do with legitimizing and perpetuating the Cuban regime. How Cuba evolves post-Fidel will depend less on permutations of personality (whether the "compassionate Raul" or "Raul the Terrible" is in charge) than on policies made in Washington..Dropping the economic embargo and flooding Cuba with U.S. money, capital investment, entrepreneurship, technioal experts, culture ambassadors and other agents of change is certain to hasten the demise of the Communist regime or transform it beyond recognition. The book disappointingly glosses over Cuba's drug connections, important to an understanding of the Ochoa-de la Guardia trials (see chapter 11) and their aftermath. Drugs have been a focal point of both conflict and cooperation with the United States since the Carter administration as well as a source of painful divisions within the Cuban hierarchy.. Also. one wishes that Latell had included a more extended and nuanced discussion of modern-day Cuba, especially of the faultlines within the major power institutions and within Cuban society at large. Still, the book is timely, an excellent read and eminently worth the 5- star rating conferred by this reviewer.

Excellent Book On the Castro Brothers And Their Revolution

Before I write this review, I would like to state that I am a former student of Brian Latell. As an undergraduate at Georgetown University, I attended his class, "Cuba & The Great Powers", which was a once-a-week, three-hour long lecture. While I certainly open myself up to charges of bias by saying this, it was probably one of the best classes I have ever taken, and four years later, it has tremendously influenced my formation as an intellectual and historian of Latin America. While Professor Latell and I disagreed on a number of issues (I am very much a "liberal"), I found his lectures and expertise on Fidel's Cuba to be impressive and well-reasoned. The aim of Latell's book, simply put, is to shed light upon the lesser known Castro--Raul--who, for the last forty six years, has lived in the dominating shadow of his older brother. To do this, he contrasts Raul's personality and abilities with that of Fidel, thus authoring a dual biography of sorts. "After Fidel" is a compelling title for this book because, rather than focus exclusively on questions of succession, he uses the history of the brothers' relationship and their policies to differentiate their styles of rule and to suggest that for many years, Raul has ensured the continuation of the Cuban Revolution and its most dramatic successes, such as the various internationalist projects. Without Raul, Latell asserts, Fidel Castro could not have achieved the dramatic military mission in Angola, when thousands of Cuban soldiers, projected Cuban power thousands of miles from their small Caribbean island. Raul is the manager, the adept organizer, "the Prussian", yet he lacks the charisma and connection with his people that Fidel clearly possesses. Thus, his abilities and faults raise interesting questions of how and where Cuba will go. Without this revision, these questions would not be anywhere near as salient. I strongly recommend this book both for beginners and those deeply acquainted with the history of the Cuban Revolution and its jefe maximo. It is clear, concise, and written in a manner that is both engaging and accessible. It's a strong work of historical revision that challenges many preconceived notions, and while some may disagree with its premise or disdain the author's background, it should be given a chance. Let me conclude this review by stating that I, myself, have travelled to Cuba, and legally as well. To understand the Cuban Revolution, one must thoroughly challenge all notions of it. It is probably one of the most dramatic, polarizing political events of the twentieth-century, and its truths have either been torn by competing ideologies, or obscured by the Cuban government's adept use of "smoke and mirrors". Cuba is a beautiful island, yet one that must struggle day to day under the most enormous pressures of the embargo and the dictatorship. I, for one, hope that many of the dreams of the Cuban Revolution--equality, education, and justice--can survive long

What Happens After Fidel

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER FIDEL? By Rafael Aguirre Sacasa Few books are as timely as Brian Latell's "After Fidel: The Inside Story of Castro's Regime and Cuba's Next Leader." The book, which was recently released, but has been in the works for many years, is a masterful and insightful analysis into the personalities of and relationship between Fidel and his younger brother Raul, Fidel's designated successor. Few people are as qualified to write on this subject as Brian Latell. A 35 + year CIA veteran, he spent much of his career studying Castro and his actions; he attempted to "get into his shoes" and, after many years, became the foremost expert on Fidel in the United States Government. He culminated his career by becoming the National Intelligence Officer for Latin America, the crown jewel for an intelligence analyst. The book is engaging, well crafted and researched. From the outset, it draws the reader into the private life of the Castro Ruz family. It provides the reader with an intimate view into the lives of both Fidel and Raul. It's full of personal anecdotes, which provide a unique and unvarnished insight into their personalities, emotional underpinnings, motivations, and thought processes. This peek into their private lives weaves a rich tapestry that permits the reader to get a real feel for the Fidel behind his "public persona" and sheds light into the very secretive life of Raul. Whereas Fidel has always strived for attention and is jealous of anyone who tries to upstage him, Raul has shunned publicity, carefully working behind stage. Whereas Fidel has proven to be an unparallel political strategist and propagandist, Raul's strengths lie in his organizational and managerial abilities. Latell has come to the conclusion that in order to understand Fidel and his success in consolidating his position of power and the revolution you must understand the relationship between the two brothers. As he says early on in the book "the truth is that if the depths of the brothers relationship could ever be understood, the secrets-the innermost workings of the Cuban Revolution through its entire history- would become transparent. Each brother demonstrates unique leadership qualities, personalities and character traits that seamlessly compliment the other's. They fit perfectly, like the stone walls built by the Inca civilization in Peru hundreds of years ago." The book is timely because it deals with a topic that is getting more and more attention with every passing year....what happens in Cuba after Fidel. Watchers of Fidel have noticed that he is showing signs of accelerated physical deterioration. After more than 46 years in power it is becoming evident that his final curtain call is approaching. Since 1959 he has been a thorn in the side of 10 US Presidents, brought the world to near nuclear Armageddon, survived the collapse of the Cold War, seen the demise of the Soviet Union, his staunchest allie, and more recently been the guiding force behi

comment on After Fidel

In this book Brian Latell records his views of Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl, as well as the relationship between the two. It is the first such record available. It provides a unique perspective of the early roots of Fidel's ideological formation and the impact his own social situation as the illegitimate son of the household maid had during his attendance both to grammar school and to the Belén Jesuit High School in Havana. As to Raúl, it points to the fact that he was doomed to be a second fiddle, not only by his own personality but by the possibility that he was the son of Raúl Mirabal, a Batista army officer stationed in the area of the Biran household, who later became a notorious repressor. Their father never gave Raúl the financial support, education and attention that he provided Fidel. It is not surprising, therefore, that, as Latell points out, all his life Raúl felt subordinate and deferential to his taller, stronger and much more charismatic brother, complementing his anarchic ways with a systematic approach to managing the Cuban military that has no equal in any other country. The question is, will such a lifelong subordination prepare Raúl to be his own man? Latell raises the question for those exploring what may happen after Fidel Castro is no longer in charge. Latell draws on his broad familiarity with the history of the Cuban revolution, both as a CIA analyst and as a Georgetown University professor for 25 years on the subject of Cuban history. He also provides the only revelations known so far on the actions of Castro's top DIA mole, arrested on September 21, 2001, Ana Belén Montes. She entered into a plea bargain and is at present serving a 25 year sentence, without parole, given by a Federal judge on October, 2002. That is a bonus that, combined with his insightful analysis of the behavior of both brothers and their interactions, makes this a must read book for anybody interested in getting an understanding of events in Cuba.
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