Stuart M. Hoyt, Jr. reviews Stephen Kimber’s book on the Cuban 5 and exposes it for the Castro propaganda piece that it is.
Castro-Cuba’s Clandestine Wasp Network
- What Lies Across the Water: The Real Story of the Cuban Five
- By Stephen Kimber
- Fernwood Publishing, Nova Scotia, Canada, 2013
- PB, 296 pages, CAD $29.95
- ISBN: 978-1-552-66542-8
There is an oft told story about an encounter between an American and a Cuban. The American, wanting to extol the virtues of the freedoms he enjoys, proudly proclaims: “I can stand in front of the White House and shout: ‘Down with the president of the United States’ and nothing will happen to me.” The Cuban quickly retorts that he, also, has the same freedom: “I can stand in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution and shout: ‘Down with the president of the United States,’ and nothing will happen to me.” In his book, What Lies Across the Water: The Real Story of the Cuban Five, author Stephen Kimber writes the literary equivalent of shouting in the Plaza of the Revolution. There is a real story to be told, but regrettably, Kimber does not tell it. Kimber begins by describing his work in the book’s Prologue: “This is not the book I intended to write. That book was to be a novel, a love story set partly in Cuba.” Kimber did write a novel, a piece of historical fiction at best. It is also a love story set partly in Cuba. Kimber falls in love with the Five, blind love, as he finds no fault in their covert activities.
The Five are all members of what is called the Wasp Network. Three are Cuban Directorate of Intelligence (DI) illegal intelligence officers (IO) and two are Cuban agents. All five were arrested on September 12, 1998, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on numerous charges, including conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit espionage, failing to register as foreign agents, and other charges. Seven others members of the Wasp Network were arrested but pled guilty to a variety of charges and cooperated with the government. According to Kimber, at one time or another there were twenty-seven members of the network. Following a lengthy trial, the Five were found guilty of all the charges against them and received sentences ranging from two life terms to fifteen years.
One of the twenty-seven members of the Wasp Network Kimber refers to is Lt. Col. Juan Pablo Roque – a Cuban agent that infiltrated the Miami-based Brothers to the Rescue pilots organization tasked with the search-and-rescue of rafters in the Florida Straits – who was primarily responsible for the targeting and 1996 shoot-down of two civilian planes resulting in the death of four pilots. Roque fled to Cuba the day before the incident.
Kimber does not profess to be an unbiased observer chronicling the story of the Five. In his public appearances he confesses to being an advocate for the Five and demonstrating on their behalf, and his writing reflects his prejudices. He tells only one side of the story, that propagated by Fidel Castro’s regime. It is full of lies, misinterpretations, half-truths, and enough facts scattered about to make the story seem plausible to those unfamiliar with it or who do not delve into the truth.
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