In the Pirate's Den: My Life As a Secret Agent for Castro

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Overview

At the age of eighteen, Jorge Masetti had been selected by Fidel Castro's spymasters to study "conspiratorial methods" that would allow him to work in Havana's growing international underground. After graduation he joined the notorious Americas Department, entering "the pirate's den" where he worked as a secret agent for Castro for the next twenty years. Taking the reader inside the war room of the Cuban revolution, Masetti tells a dramatic story of international intrigue: smuggling diamonds and ivory from Africa...
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Overview

At the age of eighteen, Jorge Masetti had been selected by Fidel Castro's spymasters to study "conspiratorial methods" that would allow him to work in Havana's growing international underground. After graduation he joined the notorious Americas Department, entering "the pirate's den" where he worked as a secret agent for Castro for the next twenty years. Taking the reader inside the war room of the Cuban revolution, Masetti tells a dramatic story of international intrigue: smuggling diamonds and ivory from Africa to help support the Havana government; counterfeiting U.S. dollars; trafficking in narcotics. He describes his work as an agent in Europe and throughout Latin America, and his activities in Angola, Nicaragua and other war zones. He was happily married to the daughter of Antonio de la Guardia, a major figure in the Cuban government, whose twin brother, Patricio, was a general in the Cuban army.

Things suddenly changed in 1989 when Masetti returned from a mission in Africa to find that Castro's secret police had arrested both Antonio and Patricio de la Guardia along with General Arnaldo Ochoa, Cuba's most famous and respected soldier -- all of whom were thought to be fomenting a Cuban perestroika. Masetti describes the Kafkaesque workings of the tribunal that resulted in the execution of his father-in-law and General Ochoa, and ultimately made him see the brutal reality of the revolutionary movement to which he had devoted half a lifetime. In the Pirate's Den offers a window onto the secret machinations of Castro's government as well as a compelling account of a crisis in revolutionary faith. This is a page-turning chronicle of a remarkable journey into and out of the Cuban revolution.

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Editorial Reviews

The Los Angeles Times
Now comes a memoir from Jorge Masetti, a former Barba Roja operative turned whistle-blower, engagingly titled In the Pirate's Den: My Life as a Secret Agent for Castro. It is a slim memoir of precious little political analysis and psychological insight but one that offers tantalizing glimpses into the murky guerrilla demimonde of the 1970s and '80s, when revolutionary ideals not infrequently mingled with criminality. — Ann Louise Bardach
Publishers Weekly
Masetti spins a tale of progressive disillusionment with communism. He followed in the footsteps of his father, a Communist guerrilla who was killed when the author was seven. Cuban-born Masetti traces his involvement, beginning as a teenager in Argentina (his mother's native land), followed by stints in Colombia, Angola, Nicaragua and other revolutionary hot spots of the 1970s and '80s. Though the story of growing disgust with a bankrupt ideology has been told with more passion and insight elsewhere, Masetti does hit an emotional crescendo in the book's final pages, when he tells of the execution of his father-in-law, which led to his final break with Castro's Cuba. The book's strength lies elsewhere, in its description of the world of Communist spying and intrigue that Masetti experienced firsthand. He brings the reader into his initial training in guerrilla warfare and his later revolutionary actions. Despite the occasional triumph (some of his former comrades were involved in the murder of Nicaragua's Somoza during the Sandinista takeover in 1979), Masetti and his revolutionaries bungle a lot of attempts. As the years pass, these activities become simply illegal rather than revolutionary (robbing banks, for instance), and Masetti's devotion to his cause wanes. In fact, as he shows, his ideals fell victim to authoritarian secrecy-for which he holds Castro responsible-and intrigue and internecine bickering. (Nov.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594030482
  • Publisher: Encounter Books
  • Publication date: 5/28/2004
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,321,115
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 8.82 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: Havana, June 1989 1
1 Havana, May 1965 7
2 Buenos Aires, 1970-1971 14
3 Buenos Aires, 1972-1973 21
4 Cuba, 1974-1976 30
5 Italy, 1976-1977 41
6 Panama-Costa Rica, 1979 49
7 Managua, July 1979 57
8 Mexico City, 1980 65
9 Mexico City, 1982-1983 74
10 Havana-Lima-Santa Cruz, September 1983 82
11 Buenos Aires, 1984-1985 90
12 Managua-Panama-Cartagena de Indias, 1986 97
13 Havana, 1988 111
14 Havana, June-July 1989 125
15 Afterword 149
Index 160
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