Read Red Heat by Alex von Tunzelmann Free Online
Book Title: Red Heat|
The author of the book: Alex von Tunzelmann
Edition: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Date of issue: March 29th 2012
ISBN 13: 9781847394590
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 760 KB
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Loaded: 2935 times
Reader ratings: 3.9
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A well-written, lively and colorful account of the Cold War in Latin America. Well-researched, Tunzelmann shows how the US involved itself in the region, how it backed various unsavory characters in order to fight communism and how it plotted to overthrow leaders just as unsavory.
Throughout the 1950s, the Soviets showed little interest in Latin America (in fact, between 1943 and 1955, the KGB made zero payments to communist parties in the region). And few Latin American politicians described themselves as communists. The KGB even thought that Fidel was “burgeois.” The American government saw anti-American sentiment in the region as a product of Soviet influence. It was actually the other way around. And anti-Castro policies did more to help Castro consolidate power than it did to hinder him in doing so.
The author’s treatment of the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis is particularly good. Her treatment of the Cuban revolution is very insightful. Fidel was pretty much a radical social democrat, and he never had any sympathy for the communist party. Initially, Fidel was an opportunist, taking money from the right and manpower from the left. The Cuban revolution was essentially dominated by three factions: a center-right government, a center-left dominated by Fidel, and a radical left led by Raúl Castro and Ce Guevara, neither of whom wielded much influence over Fidel. “Do you know what I’m going to do with Che Guevara?” Fidel once asked guests at a dinner party. “I’m going to send him to Santo Domingo to see if Trujillo kills him.”
“If you think I’m radical,” Fidel told the press, “wait till you see my little brother.” Fidel was always careful to keep his distance from the communist party.
Still, Tunzelmann is prone to some exaggerations. At one point, she describes some Cuban terror plots in the US and theorizes that they were staged by the US government. Her claim is based loosely on a memo dealing with “Operation Northwoods” (admittedly a rather insane plot) but she doesn’t really point out that just because the action was proposed in a memo, it doesn’t really mean the government was prepared to carry it out. Tunzelmann also writes with certainty on exactly when certain things happened (like when Castro became a communist) , even though the subject in question is still a matter of some debate.
Still, Tunzelmann shows a good command of the confusing politics of Latin America, where democracy was dictatorship, ideology was typically irrelevant, and communism was just a word dictators used to get Washington’s attention.
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