Semper Fidel?

Letter From Grenada

It is over ten years now since the last Cuban left Grenada. My wife and I happened to own a retirement property on the island less than a hundred meters from the huts put up to house the thousand-odd "freedom fighters" sent down by Fidel Castro (whom I met) to spread the Good Old Cause. During those four years (I979-I983) we maintained a round-the-clock occupancy of our house. hoping to prevent the expropriations that had overtaken others. More than one ex-pat had returned from shopping in the capital, St. George's, to confront an "off-limits" guard outside his domicile. There was no American embassy on board and only a charge in Barbados. Today, with cruise ships pouring out passengers daily, many visiting the Ronald Reagan monument opposite our own abode, friends ask if we weren't afraid during this period.

We were not. At least not of the Cuban day (and night) workers who kept a low profile and were policed by intelligence operatives from the celebrated DCI (Direccion General de Inteligencia). They were, alas, a cowed, glum lot, whose intent was to earn points, puntas, by such overseas assignments, whether in Grenada, Angola, Suriname, or South Yemen. These points made them eligible for perks on their return home, putting them at the head of the line for a toaster or whatever else in their local supermercado. What they desired, and surreptitiously acquired from us, was electronic gadgetry,...

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