Our Woman in Havana chronicles the past several decades of US-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 US 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 US 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.
Vicki Huddleston grew up in Hungry Horse, Montana. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru; graduated from the University of Colorado and Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies and was a fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics. Vicki was the US ambassador to Madagascar and to Mali and acting ambassador to Ethiopia. She was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Africa and a USAID contractor in Haiti. She was the first woman to head our diplomatic mission in Havana, Cuba. Her book "Our Woman in Havana: A Diplomat's Chronicle of America's Long Struggle with Castro's Cuba," illustrates with revealing stories her competition with Fidel Castro and why Cuba -- only ninety miles off our shores -- should be a friend, not an enemy.