by Néstor T.Carbonell


This is my newest book on Cuba, which will be published on May 27 by Archway of Simon & Schuster and sold by Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The following highlights of the book are based on my answers to some of the questions I have received from a variety of interested parties. They provide insights into my thinking as I pursued what turned out to be an arduous but inspiring ten-year project.

Why the title of the book?  I chose Why Cuba Matters because I believe that many people, including foreign affairs experts, have overlooked the outsize geopolitical importance that Cuba for centuries has had. It sits astride the so-called American Mediterranean, dominates the main entrances to the Gulf of Mexico, commands the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic approaches to the Panama Canal, and lies ninety miles from the United States. But today the island’s strategic significance may be even greater, as Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping have already recognized. Few Americans are aware of how closely Cuba is working with Russia, China, Venezuela and others to pose a serious threat to US national security.

What’s the book about?  It’s a vivid, in-depth history of the 60-year Castro-Communist regime and the startling impact it has had on Cuba and the world. I’ve included a lot of fresh information to show how the regime deceived and subjugated the Cuban people, defied twelve US presidents, and continues to jeopardize peace and security in America by colluding with hostile powers.

What prompted you to write the book?  I was born and raised in Havana, and my family played an important role in the development of the republic. So for six decades I’ve actively opposed the Communist takeover -- while in Cuba and in exile. In fact, I’ve been very committed to defending the principle of freedom under the rule of law, both for my country of birth and my adoptive country, the United States. That led me to train for the Bay of Pigs in Guatemala, to pursue the expulsion of the Castro regime from the OAS, and to alert Congress to the Missile Crisis. In those endeavors, my legal training in Cuba and at Harvard served me well. Later my perspective was considerably broadened by my forty years as an executive of PepsiCo, where I focused on international affairs, visited scores of heads of state and participated in strategic conferences like the World Economic Forum. I also wrote five books and numerous articles on Cuba to challenge the myths and fallacies spread by Castro-Communism. 

What’s historically significant in the book?  The book draws from declassified government documents, reliable testimonies of key players that were shared with me, and my own experiences, to clarify key milestones of the Castro revolution, including these four pivotal and still baffling episodes:

  • How did Castro exploit his largely fabricated guerrilla fame to fill the political and military void that ensued after Batista’s flight on January 1, 1959, and gain total control of the island? And why did so many Cubans believe his false promises and fall into his trap?
  • Why was the US armada that was assembled near the Bay of Pigs in April 1961, with the aircraft carrier Essex and its jet fighters, the helicopter carrier Boxer with 2,000 combat-ready Marines, 12 destroyers and a submarine, barred from providing any support to the besieged brigade that needed it so badly?
  • Given the enormous US intelligence and surveillance capability, how could the Soviet Union in 1962 deploy to Cuba, over four months, 42 nuclear missiles and 40,000 soldiers and military personnel? Also, why, after the Missile Crisis was settled, did the US prevent Cuban exiles from pursuing the overthrow of Castro, but allow Moscow to turn the island into a launch pad for subversion throughout Latin America, Africa and other regions?
  • Why, in its many efforts to engage and pacify the Castro brothers, did Washington grant them unilateral concessions without requiring them to cease brutally violating human rights, harboring US fugitives and terrorists, and launching international forays?

What precisely are the new threats in America’s backyard? The head of US Southern Command warned Congress in February 2018 of the menacing advances made by Russia, China and rogue states in Latin America. In that context, he added: “From a national security standpoint, Cuba has demonstrated clear intent to target US interests through collection, surveillance and counterintelligence activities in countries throughout the region.” As detailed in my book, the Castro regime has buttressed the Venezuelan dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro with spies and military personnel, and has enabled Russia and China to develop in Cuba their military, intelligence and cyberwarfare capabilities – under sea, on land and in space.

What are the prospects for freedom in Cuba?  Despite the Castro regime’s iron rule, civic resistance is still alive on the island. With the passing of the Old Guard, opportunities for a broad-based opening under pressure may arise, if the US and its allies fend off the meddling of Russia and China in Cuba, and if an enlarged and more unified dissident movement galvanizes growing discontent and is encouraged and supported from abroad, as Poland’s Solidarity was. Liberty eventually will prevail in Cuba; the question is when.

Have foreign affairs experts endorsed the book?  Yes, it has been endorsed by former Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger; former CIA Director, Porter Goss; former President of the Council of the Americas, Ambassador Everett Ellis Briggs; former U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Senator Marco Rubio.

El libro, WHY CUBA MATTERS: NEW THREATS IN AMERICA'S BACKYARD,  saldrá a la publicidad el 27 de este mes, pero el "hardcover" puede ser preordenado ya en Amazon.

You can buy the book at:  

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