Castro’s Secrets: The CIA and Cuba’s Intelligence Machine by Brian Latell - review by Hugh Bicheno

Hugh Bicheno

Spies of the Caribbean

Castro’s Secrets: The CIA and Cuba’s Intelligence Machine


Palgrave Macmillan 272pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

This may be the most puzzling book I have ever read. Latell promises the ‘first penetrating look into the workings of one of the world’s best and most aggressive intelligence services’, the Cuban Dirección General de Inteligencia (DGI). For twenty-one pages he whets the appetite by describing how, from the early 1960s until the defection of the high-level DGI officer Florentino Aspillaga in the summer of 1987, the Cubans made fools of the Americans with a ‘double-cross’ operation of such sophistication that it made the justly celebrated British equivalent during the Second World War seem like child’s play.

But then the book diverts into yet another regurgitation of the frantically unprofessional performance of the CIA in the early 1960s, a story that has already been exhaustively told. Compounding the disappointment, it turns out that the reason for the thematic discontinuity is that the author is setting the stage

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