Books: Castro's Island


by Jacobo Timerman

Knopf; 125 pages; $18.95

Like most people, Jacobo Timerman did not travel light when he went to Cuba. Before his arrival for a four-week stay in 1987, the Argentine journalist had already asserted his support, as a Latin American socialist, for Cuba's right to sovereignty, while also declaring his hatred, as a former political prisoner of the Argentine military, of totalitarianism in all its forms. Opposing predispositions would cancel each other out, leaving him in a state of perfect neutrality.

So much for theory. In practice, most of what he finds is conversations that go...

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