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Book reviews and abstracts: "Days of the Embassy"

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By  Family Readers "PC" (Florida)
Finally a book that describes what the people in Cuba are really thinking! This book answers a lot of the questions that we wonder about the cuban people. How does the Castro government control the people? Why do we see huge groups of demonstrators in agreement with Castro?
Days of the Embassy not only describes what transpired at the Peruvian Embassy but is also a prelude to the Mariel boatlift and it touches on the authors first impressions of the USA.
This book will reveal much of the unknown......and much of what we should know....which is that we live in the most wonderful place in the world...the USA!

Very interesting story. Read it in one weekend. It's amazing what some persons have gone through in search for basic human needs such as freedom. I loved it and highly recommend it. --A reviewer

By  Grady Harp (Los Angeles, CA United States) (TOP 10 REVIEWER)         
Reports of unrest in Latin American countries daily make headlines in the media, and while there is a significant degree of philosophical unrest in North America under the current administration, few of us can fathom the depth of emotion and courage that is too often the climate in our Southern neighboring countries. In this very fine book by Alejandrin, DAYS OF THE EMBASSY, we are presented with insider information on what has happened in one particular country (Cuba) - information that due to political barricades rarely reaches outside the borders until someone of the commitment to human rights that Alejandrin demonstrates can open our eyes.

Though the title of this memoir suggests a summation of an event that took place twenty-eight years ago, making some readers wonder why it took the author so long to speak out against the Communist suppression endured since the 1960's revolution controlled and fostered by Fidel Castro, the answer is as honest and as touching as Alejandrin's (the pen name for Argelio del Valle) writing: he had to learn to speak and write English and start a new life in his adopted country in America before he could place the experiences of his youth in perspective and allow time to reinforce the agony of his memories, making his message a universal one. For readers curious about the effects of Castro's communism and his brittle promises to bring equality to all the people of his island, this brief but engrossing book will open windows of understanding and empathy for those neighbors who to this day suffer life under dictatorships.

Alejandrin's youth was spent trying to believe the promises of a 'new world' in his beloved Cuba, but like so many of the citizens of Cuba in the 1980s, the disillusion peaked and in April of 1980 over 10,000 Cubans stormed the Peruvian Embassy for sanctuary. Though the living conditions within the gates were deplorable because of lack of food, water, and space, the refugees were at least free from Castro's police state. Alejandrin writes so well about the conditions of surviving, forever cloaked in the hope for escape from the country they loved before communism fractured their lives, that the reader can feel and sense the intensity of emotional commitment. At last the refugees were able to immigrate to other countries offering refuge, and Alejandrin sailed to America on one of the crowded boats leaving Mariel port. His transition into living in a foreign place included finding work, finding love, and finding education - each of which allowed him to ultimately share his life experiences with us. `I believe that anything truly meaningful in life is worth making sacrifices for, and being free is worth the sacrifice'.

So often memoirs of this sort can become whining, embittered explosions of hate. Such is most assuredly not the case with this book. Alejandrin writes with clarity, reflection, and concern that his experiences will be a beacon for those enduring oppression as well an alert to the dangers of dictatorship regimes for readers to ponder and hopefully become involved in the global picture of human welfare. This superb book, along with the equally honest and excellent 053803: LIFE AT FIFTEEN, are the first products of a new publishing house owned by the author of the latter book, Robert J. Gagnon. While the technical aspects of editing and typesetting need to be addressed in these early works, we should be grateful that a small publishing house has the courage to bring inspirational volumes about human rights to the public's attention. Heed these writers: they have a strong and very important message for all of us. Grady Harp, July 08