Book cover image for: Whose Man in Havana? Adventures from the Far Side of Diplomacy

Whose Man in Havana? Adventures from the Far Side of Diplomacy


John W. Graham

$34.95 CAD / $34.95 USD

328 pages, 44 illustrations

6 x 9 inches

978-1-55238-824-2 (Paperback)

978-1-55238-916-4 (Audio Book)

978-1-55238-826-6 (Institutional PDF)

978-1-55238-827-3 (ePub)

978-1-55238-828-0 (mobi)

Latin American & Caribbean Studies

November 2015

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About the Book

In Whose Man in Havana? John Graham provides us with a direct look at international relations through his experience as a practitioner who, as he puts it, has been fortunate in his career within the Canadian foreign service and international organizations to be ‘in the right place at the right time’.  The stuff of novels, he never would have dreamed that his apprenticeship would have him stationed in Cuba spying for the CIA on Soviet military operations. Subsequent assignments proved to be as unexpectedly and bizarrely entertaining.

Throughout the book, he has focused on the lighter side of people and places, but almost everywhere the dark side intrudes, particularly the man-made dark side, providing quite a bit of black comedy. He notes that diplomacy at its most effective is neither dry nor humourless. The book is focused mainly on Latin America and the Caribbean, but other chapters range across Bosnia, the UK, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Palestine, and Crete.

John W. Graham is president emeritus of the Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL) and member of The Friends of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, founded by former US President Jimmy Carter. He was the first director of the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy of the Organization of American States (OAS) and led several missions to Latin American to observe elections. Having participated in the mediation of the OAS in Guatemala, Graham was the chief international mediator in the Dominican post-election crisis in 1994. He has been involved in over thirty electoral observations in the Western Hemisphere, Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Central Asia. In addition, he was High Commissioner to Guyana, Ambassador to Suriname, Minister in London, Director General for the Caribbean and Central American affairs, Ambassador to Venezuela, and non-resident Ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

Praise for Whose Man in Havanna: 

At turns lighthearted, irreverent, and deadly serious… Graham’s book is not only a rollicking, entertaining, and worthwhile read, but an elegy for the Silver Age.

—Asa McKercher, American Review of Canadian Studies 

A rollicking, engaging memoir—a combination of black humour, wry observations on life in exotic climes and—woven throughout—sophisticated socio-political analyses of places most of us don’t really want to experience in any depth.

—Paul Durand, Amazon 

Splendidly written and marvellously funny.

—Robert Bothwell, University of Toronto

Brilliant . . . from one of the foreign service’s best raconteurs.

—James Bartleman, former ambassador and Lieutenant—Governor of Ontario

A rollicking, engaging memoir . . . a feast of colourful tales that don’t quite obscure a serious piece of work on the diplomacy of the period. Writing of the highest order.

—Paul Durand, former ambassador and international mediator.

Table of Contents
 

Foreword
Robert Bothwell

Preface

Book One

Dominican Republic

Voyage to a Different Planet
Leopold’s List
Darkness at Noon
The Dictator’s Sarcophagus
"Down with Those Who Rise"
Navidad con Libertad
Meatballs, Moose Piss, and the National Day

Cuba

Whose Man in Havana?

United Kingdom
The Thames, Bunnies, and Bicycles

Japan
Sake and the Advancement of Cultural Diplomacy

Guyana
Caviar and Christmas Trees
The Phantom Saboteur
Alcide
Three–Piece
"Will the Dynamite Explode if I . . ."
The State Funeral of the Honourable Linden Forbes Burnham

Suriname
Clothes Make the Man
Jewels of the Forest

Trinidad and Tobago
Me, Mick Jagger, Jungle Fever, and the Legion of Evil

Grenada
Pierre Trudeau and the Embarrassment of a Full Scale American War against a Very Small Island

Haiti
Le Chie est Mort

Central America and Columbia
Go By Boat: Travels with Allan MacEachen

Panama
The General and Margot Fonteyn

Central America
Fireworks and Foreign Policy

Venezuela, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic
A is for Aristide
Between Brazil and Venezuela: Caipirinhas, Trestle Bridges, and Formula One Bus Drivers
Beauty and the Official Beast: The Miss Venezuela Contest

Book Two

Dominican Republic
Stepping Back from the Precipice

Haiti
"The Pencil of God Has No Eraser" I
"The Pencil of God Has No Eraser" II

Bosnia
Black Past, Grey Future?
Sex, Sports, and Diplomacy
The Psychologist, the General, and the Beauty Contest
More Generals and the Ice Cream Man
The Road to Srebrenica

Paraguay
El Supremo

Kyrgyzstan
Boiling Toilets and Fermented Mare’s Milk

Guatemala
San Marcos and the Elections of 2003

Venezuela
Hugo Chavez: Much Loved, Much Loathed

Ukraine
Night train to Ternopil

Palestine
Good Elections, Bad Judgement

Nicaragua
The Jaguar Changes Some of Its Spots

El Salvador
Off the Beaten Track

Haiti
Goudeau–Goudeau: Return to Haiti
Lou Quinn: A Profile

Afterward
Notes
Index