Monday, December 4, 2017

Revisiting Graham Greene's Cuba

"Greene... visited the country in the 1950s, and 'enjoyed the louche atmosphere of Batista’s city,' when Havana was dominated by the American mafia, and rife with brothels, casinos, and saloons. At the same time, he became more intimately familiar with the realities of Batista’s Cuba. Greene sympathized with the rebels so much he ended up trafficking warm winter clothing to Fidel Castro’s men camped in the mountains, befriending Castro in the process. Our Man in Havana was published in October, 1958; three months later, Castro descended from the Sierra Maestra to finally seize Havana. The outside view of Cuba is that it still hasn’t changed much since then. It has long been an island, as Christopher Hitchens described it, “stranded in time and isolated from many recent currents of history and political economy… the city of Havana has been compelled to remain very much as Greene described it.” Using Greene’s novel as a reference point would therefore be the perfect snapshot... More>>