Review of What lies across the water.


What lies across the water. The real story of the Cuban Five.
Stephen Kimber.
Fernwood Publishing, 2013

by Paul Evrard
Oddly enough, the author did not intend to write this book. He was contemplating a novel that would occur in Cuba. Therefore he visited the island several times ten years ago to get inspired. But during his stay he continually faced the ubiquitous Five Young Heroes. Until one day he had a guide, Alejandro, who also happened to be an interpreter, a former bodyguard and security guard of Fidel Castro, also active in counterespionage. When they touched on the subject of the difficult relations with the U.S., Alejandro said: “Whoever may be president of the US and whoever is in charge in Cuba, those relationships will never improve until the case of the Five is resolved!”
This was the trigger for Kimber. As a journalist, he became so intrigued by this thing that he began a thorough investigation. This book came to be without intending to write it.
The subtitle suggests a completed story, but that will be for the next book. He was forced to rely on the media because even though he received much information from the Cuban side and also corresponded and spoke with the Five himself, the archives in the U.S. remain closed.
The book reads like a real spy novel, even though this is not fiction.
The first chapter describes the background, the reasons why Cuba let some of his best people ‘defect’ to the U.S. to try and stop terrorism from Florida.
The rest of the story is structured chronologically like a journal would be. None of the chapters cover more than a few pages which makes the reading very enjoyable.
We get an exclusive look behind the scenes with stories that can be very personal and even intimate. And although I am now tempted to lift the veil on some delightful passages, I will leave you in suspense. There are so many details involved that the reader will regularly jump back and forth while reading, to refresh his memory.
The final chapters provide us with a summary, some conclusions and some explanatory notes as Kimber submitted his manuscript to the Five and he subsequently reveals their comments.
Although several books have been published about the Five, this is probably the most insightful mainly because it deals with such a complicated matter of which we do not yet know the gist.

PS: Kimber has also managed to write a long opinion piece for the Washington Post. This article is the perfect summary of his book and an ideal eye-opener for the public opinion in the U.S. where this case is largely ignored. (, )

(transl. Kurt B.)

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