AFSA Book Notes: "Our Woman in Havana"

Start Date/Time: 
Thursday, May 3, 2018 - 09:00
End Date/Time: 
Thursday, May 3, 2018 - 10:30


AFSA welcomes Ambassador (ret.) Vicki Huddleston to discuss her new book, Our Woman in Havana: A Diplomat's Chronicle of America's Long Struggle with Castro's Cuba. The program takes place at AFSA headquarters, 2101 E St NW, from 12:00-1:30 p.m. on Thursday May 3, 2018.

Our Woman in Havana chronicles the past several decades of U.S.-Cuba relations from the bird’s-eye view of State Department veteran and longtime Cuba hand Vicki Huddleston, our top diplomat in Havana under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush. After the U.S. embassy in Havana was closed in 1961, relations between the two countries broke off. A thaw came in 1977, with the opening of a de facto embassy in Havana, the U.S. Interests Section, where Huddleston would later serve. In her compelling memoir of a diplomat at work, she tells gripping stories of face-to-face encounters with Fidel Castro and the initiatives she undertook, like the transistor radios she furnished to ordinary Cubans. With inside accounts of many dramatic episodes, like the tumultuous Elián González custody battle, Huddleston also evokes the charm of the island country, and her warm affection for the Cuban people.

Uniquely qualified to explain the inner workings of U.S.-Cuba relations, Huddleston examines the Obama administration's diplomatic opening of 2014, the mysterious “sonic” brain and hearing injuries suffered by U.S. and Canadian diplomats who were serving in Havana, and the rescinding of the diplomatic opening under the Trump administration. Huddleston recounts missed opportunities for détente, and the myths, misconceptions, and lies that have long pervaded U.S.-Cuba relations. With Raúl Castro scheduled to step down this year, she also peers into the future, when for the first time in more than six decades no one named Castro will be Cuba's leader.