The Cuban Affair: Nelson DeMille Exposes the Communist Paradise

The Cuban Affair by bestselling author Nelson DeMille is a realistic portrayal within an action-packed story.  DeMille participated in a Yale University-affiliated educational tour that provided him with an insider look at Cuba, including the culture and history.  Drawing from this experience, he has created a novel surrounding accurately portrayed facts.

Newt Gingrich's 1984 description of the Democrats can apply today: "Every time a communist movement takes power, Democratic congressmen say it will be fair, progressive, enlightened ... and give the benefit of doubt to Marxist regimes."  This became evident when President Obama visited Cuba and did the wave during a baseball game, making it appear that this is a fun-loving Caribbean island.  Yet DeMille shows the direct opposite: overwhelming poverty, a police state, and a violator of human rights.

Through his characters, DeMille points out how "[i]n Cuba, guilt or innocence is not important.  Politics are important.  Let me remind you that your compatriot Alan Gross received a fifteen-year sentence for spying and spent five years in prison, and he was innocent."

Alan Gross was imprisoned in Cuba from 2009 to 2014 basically for being a U.S. contractor employed by the U.S. Agency for International Development.  In March 2011, he was convicted of "acts against the independence or the territorial integrity of the state."  Gross told American Thinker he gives DeMille high marks for grasping the reality on the ground regarding life in Cuba. 

DeMille's story paints a clear picture of the communist regime as a police state.  A powerful quote: "The Communists, like the radical Islamists are not fun-loving people[.] ... The Ministry of the Interior – the ministry of torture and repression."  Gross agrees and describes the government as "slave laborers, corrupt, and criminal.  I was put in isolation with two other Cubans.  The first year, we were never allowed to go outside.  After that, we were allowed outside for an hour.  During that first year, I was not allowed to have TV, radio, books, magazines, or even paper and pen, and the lights were on 24/7.  I was cut off from all mental stimulation."

He went on to say, "It is a police state, a failed state.  They thrive on enslaving a population while enriching themselves.  Socialism and communism have failed.  Castro was a megalomaniac who was worth about 900 million dollars when he died.  Compare that to the per capita monthly income of about $23 a month."

The description of Villa Marista prison in the novel is accurate, according to Gross.  It is a place that uses physical and psychological torture, destroying the soul and having the political prisoners become the walking dead.  Gross spent about eight weeks there and still remembers the tiny cells without any windows, with only slants for ventilation.  "While in Cuba, I lost 114 pounds because my food was full of ants and roaches.  The only time they served me meat, it was pork, and that was on Rosh Hashanah, probably because I am Jewish.  They are purely morally corrupt."

One of the characters of the book, a Cuban-American, speaks of "wanting justice to all who had suffered at the hands of these godless monsters.  The return of our property, and the right to return to Cuba[.] ... The problem is actually the improved relations."  DeMille explained to American Thinker, "The contemplated treaty between the U.S. and Cuba will address the question of compensation for American assets that were seized when Castro took over.  These are now worth billions.  But in exchange, the regime insists that the U.S. legitimize its appropriation of all private property and money seized from Cuban citizens.  For the Cubans who lost everything, there will be nothing.  Most of the people who came to Miami when the communists seized power left houses, factories, and huge businesses.  They want their property back, and that's going to be a big issue as normalization moves forward.  The current regime has no intention of returning property to those who left.  Unfortunately, we are not pushing."

Gross noted that some Cuban exiles who have visited the homes left behind saw that everything was still there, including the furniture.  "It is despicable.  It is like what the Nazis and the communists did to the Jews after they appropriated their property."

Where DeMille and Gross differ is on the trade embargo. DeMille supports it: "[t]here is no reason for the mass poverty in Cuba, because they are trading with everyone else.  The poverty is due to their economic system.  Even though they are opened up to 95% of the world, they still cannot get their economy together.  The press never reports that we are not embargoing medical supplies.  It is a repressive regime with a subjugated population that isolates itself."

Gross disagrees and has become an advocate for the elimination of the embargo.  He thinks constructive engagement is an important ingredient to solve problems.  "If we had diplomatic relations or even an informal avenue, I might not have had to forfeit five years of my life.  Trying to punish the government really punishes the people.  We are punishing the punished.  You cannot open something up by closing it down."

DeMille and Gross emphasize that unlike the Cuban government, the people are generous, kind, and warm-hearted.  They are incredibly resilient.  Even so, DeMille has had his fill of the repressive regime in Cuba and would not return in its current form, while Gross wants to go back to "meet the families of my cellmates who fed me for five years during their weekly visitations.  They sustained me."

DeMille summarizes to American Thinker his impression of Cuba: "if I hadn't gone to Cuba, I could not have written this book.  I saw firsthand that the people have no property rights, human rights, and civil rights.  You cannot have a country that is repressive and also have a booming economy.  Even though it is the real pearl of the Caribbean, filled with historical cities, a great culture, and a beautiful countryside, it is currently the big black hole."

This book, beyond its riveting adventure story, is realistic, as readers experience with the characters, the Cuban regime, and Cuban policies.  Although it is a fictional story, DeMille is known for doing impeccable research, where there is a fine line between truth and fiction.

One thing is certain: The Cuban Affair will not be on the top ten list in Cuba, nor will it be used to promote tourism there.

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.

If you experience technical problems, please write to