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Cuba & the U.S.: A New Beginning + The CIA and Cuba

Program #ERLR002-AGEP002.

First Program: Reese Erlich - Cuba & the U.S.: A New Beginning

The rigid and dogmatic decades-old policy of Washington toward Havana left the U.S. in virtual total isolation internationally. The lopsided UN General Assembly votes condemning the policy made Washington a global laughing stock. Thus, Obama’s December 2014 announcement on re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries came as a relief. The diplomatic move, he said marked “a new chapter” between the U.S. and Cuba. The old chapters were pretty sordid. There was Henry Kissinger who wanted to “smash” and “clobber” Cuba and its “pipsqueak” leader. Or Alexander Haig, another secretary of state threatening, “I'll turn that f***ing island into a parking lot.” Obama did not mention the CIA’s infamous “Operation Mongoose” campaign of terror carried out against Cuba including chemical and biological warfare and the bombing of a Cubana airliner killing all aboard. Apologies and reparations? Return Guantanamo? Fuggedaboutit.

Second Program: Philip Agee - The CIA & Cuba

The island of Cuba occupies a big place in the imagination and politics of the United States. The powerful anti-Castro lobby has greatly influenced U.S. policy toward the Caribbean nation. The landscape of U.S./Cuba relations is dotted with the missile crisis, blockades, embargoes and boat refugees. Few know the details of the extensive CIA operations against Cuba. They range from sabotage to invasion to biological warfare to assassination plots. At one time, the Miami-based CIA station was the largest outside of HQs in Langley, Virginia.


Reese Erlich

Reese Erlich, an award-winning journalist, is special correspondent with GlobalPost. He also reports regularly for NPR, Deutsche Welle and the CBC. He is the author of Inside Syria and Dateline Havana.

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