In 1964, at age seven, Jorge Masetti was informed by a Cuban colonel that his father had died gloriously leading a guerrilla band in Argentina. By the age of 16, Masetti had left Havana to follow in his father’s footsteps, fighting as an urban revolutionary in Buenos Aires. Two years later, he was back in Cuba for a course in “conspiratorial methods.” Then he joined the notorious Americas Department, entering what he calls “the pirate’s den” as a secret agent for Fidel Castro.
In this riveting book, Masetti takes the reader inside the war room of the Cuban revolution. His life involved international revolutionary intrigue: smuggling diamonds and ivory; counterfeiting U.S. dollars; trafficking in narcotics. He served in Angola and other war zones in the 1980s. He was an adviser with groups such as the M-19 guerrillas in Columbia and the Sandinistas.
Masetti’s first hand account at times seems to have come from a Le Carre novel. But his story is true. In addition to shedding light on the machinations of the Castro government, it is also a compelling story of a crisis in a revolutionary faith. In 1989, Masetti’s father in law, Col. Tony de la Guardia, a central figure in the Ministry of the Interior, was arrested along with Arnaldo Ochoa, the charismatic general who had led Cuba’s expeditionary forces in Angola, Ethiopia and Nicaragua. Castro had both men executed on trumped up charges as a warning to any who might consider the possibility of a Cuban perestroika. Masetti life changed overnight: “To die in Argentina or Nicaragua, or Columbia, or somewhere else, had been part of the game. But then death made its appearance in Cuba itself and everything I believed in began to crumble.”
In 1990, still pretending to support the Castro regime, Masetti left Havana for a posting in Mexico City and then managed to escape to Spain where he began to reexamine his life and experiences. In the Pirate’s Den is the result of that painful introspection, a page turning chronicle of a remarkable journey into and out of the Cuban revolution.