OUR WOMAN IN HAVANA published by Vicki Huddleston (Peru)

[Not a Review}

Vicki Huddleston

Our Woman in Havana chronicles the past several decades of U.S.-Cuba relations from the bird’s-eye view of State Department veteran and longtime Cuba hand Vicki Huddleston, our top diplomat on the ground in Havana under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush.

After the U.S. embassy in Havana was closed in 1961, relations between the countries ground to a halt. In 1977, the U.S. established the U.S. Interests Section to serve as a de facto embassy. Ambassador Huddleston’s spirited and compelling memoir about her time as a diplomat in Havana and beyond takes the reader through some of the most tense and dramatic years of Castro’s Cuba, from her first days going face-to-face with Fidel Castro, pressing to improve relations and allow hundreds of thousands of Americans to visit Cuba, to the present day, as she peers forward to the future of the relationship. She writes incisively about the Elián González custody saga and the post 9-11 decision to use Guantánamo as a prison for terror suspects, and addresses the up-to-the-minute, mysterious “sonic” brain and hearing injuries suffered by U.S. and Canadian diplomats who were serving in Havana.

Our Woman in Havana tells the story of missed opportunities, and of mistakes, misconceptions, and lies that make up the last several decades of U.S.-Cuba relations. Ambassador Huddleston is uniquely positioned to address the inner workings of the relationship, especially crucial now, as Raúl Castro is scheduled to step down in 2018 and President Trump has not yet made clear how far he will undo Obama’s reconnection with Cuba. Our Woman in Havana is essential reading for everyone interested in the nuances and challenges of international policy-making and in the U.S.-Cuba relationship―past, present, and future.

Ambassador Vicki Huddleston (Peru 1964-66) served under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush as Chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. She also served as U.S. Ambassador to Madagascar and Mali. Her report for the Brookings Institution about normalizing relations with Cuba was adapted for President Obama’s diplomatic opening with Raúl Castro in 2014. She has written opinion pieces in the New York TimesMiami Herald, and Washington Post. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Our Woman in Havana
by VIcki Huddleston (Peru 1964-66)
The Overlook Press
March 2018
304 pages
$29.95

 

 

 

 

3 Comments

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  • Thanks for the nice review. For my fellow volunteers who may not recognize me — I was Vicki Latham all those long years ago. Warmly, Vicki

  • Thank you John for posting this review and Vicki for writing your book about such an important experience.

    For RPCVs in Portland, Oregon, The Thirsters will be hosting a presentation and dicussion about life in Cuba.
    Here is the announcement.

    jdougherty-thirsters (via memberannouncements list) (memberannouncements+jdougherty-thirsters=earthlink.net@lists.thirsters.org)
    To:you (Bcc) + 1 more Details
    * MY CUBA – WARMTH AND JOY ADMIST HARD LIVES – ALAN WIEDER– MAY 24th 2018

    Dear Thirsters in Residence,

    On Thursday, May 24th, we will have a presentation from Thirster Alan Wieder, who will talk about life in Cuba through photographs he has taken in Havana, Vinales, and Santiago de Cuba since 2016. The conversation will include both the joys and hardships of daily lives — the many contradictions. Wieder’s premise is that there is not an essential Cuba just as there is not an essential United States. Topics for discussion are housing, education, healthcare, food, and gun control.

    Alan Wieder is an oral historian & street photographer who taught at the University of South Carolina for over twenty years. His latest book is entitled: Studs Terkel: Politics, Culture, but Mostly Conversation. He has photographed throughout the world – most recently in Portland, San Juan and Cuba.”

    THIRSTER MEETING LOCATION: GLADSTONE ROOM, MCMENAMINS BROADWAY PUB, 1504 NE BROADWAY (AT NE 15TH AVE), PORTLAND, OR 97232.
    – Thirsters meetings start at 7 pm with discussions, ale, wine, and food, and may continue until 11 pm.
    – Presentations or Seminars, if one is scheduled, start at 7:30 pm.

  • This looks intensely interesting: a book for our RPCV Gulf Coast Florida group, and a private book club in Sararsota.
    Thanks, Vicki Huddleston, for her amazing work through the years, and for this important memoir.

    Leita Kaldi Davis
    (Senegal 1993-96)

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