Up In Smoke

When I was growing up, my family had a monthly tradition, irrespective of any plans, holidays or otherwise. You all attended the family dance. Dispel the thoughts of a debutant occasion with formal evening wear. This was a working-middle-class gathering of 50-somethings coming together to dance to the classics, drink excessively (but respectably) and catch up with family, friends and the community at large. My longest-enduring memory of the family dances was my grandfather sat in his dinner jacket, drinking a glass of scotch and smoking a King Edward cigar. Now, my grandfather had spent time in Canada, the US, Egypt, and Africa, serving with the RAF and Royal Navy….

Up in Smoke

One night in 1961, shortly after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was planning one final, covert action in mainland Cuba. An action, he assumed, that would go slightly more smoothly than the last CIA funded effort. Two years earlier, in 1959, Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro came to power and began the process of seizing all foreign property, businesses and land, using the newly created ministry for the recovery of misappropriated assets. Many of the seized assets were American-owned. In response to this, the US administration attempted and failed at numerous covert ground-based guerrilla-tactics, attempting to overthrow the newly created communist party in Cuba. As Fidel Castro struggled…