In This Review

The Soviet-Cuban Alliance, 1959-1991

The Soviet-Cuban Alliance, 1959-1991
By Yuri Pavlov
272 pp, Transaction Publishers, 1994

A fascinating insider's view of the vicissitudes of the Soviet relationship with Cuba by a former Soviet foreign service officer. Pavlov held several key positions over the years: occasional translator for Nikita Khrushev, ambassador to Costa Rica, and head of the foreign ministry's Latin American directorate. Although this history is disappointing on information about the large-scale Cuban intervention in Africa during the 1970s, Pavlov's account of his discussions with Bush administration officials and the Cubans during the twilight years of Gorbachev provides much new material unavailable elsewhere. Indeed, the light that Pavlov sheds on the diplomatic skill with which the Bush administration defused the Central American controversies, as well as the mutual Soviet and American frustration in the face of Castro's intransigence and skill at manipulating domestic factions within each power's policymaking establishment, is particularly instructive. This is a very important contribution to the literature on the Soviet-Cuban alliance. Regrettably, the publisher did not include an index, an inexcusable defect in a book of this sort.