Cuba Straits

Free Cuba Straits by Randy Wayne White

Book: Cuba Straits by Randy Wayne White Read Free Book Online
Authors: Randy Wayne White
Tags: adventure, Mystery
Rocket program—it had to be the Chinese or the Russians. No, it was the Russians. The overcomplicated, Cold War style left little doubt. Ford asked, “Are you sure?”
    “Two of my contacts in Cuba are dead. I just found out. Another is in intensive care. A woman . . . quite beautiful”—Rivera sounded sad and a little wistful—“who has, over the period of a week, lost her beautiful hair. A bullet—I’d much prefer a soldier’s death. Shitting is no way for a man to die.”
    An hour after sunset, they dropped the Mustang at Hertz. On the way to the airport, Ford turned the radio off and said, “General, I need to know what’s going on.”
    The former dictator replied, “I can’t fly out until I’ve found Figuerito. How many times must I say this? That stadium sign we passed, why not stop and have a look?” They had already passed the Twins stadium, but the Red Sox complex was ahead, the lights of the practice fields aglow.
    Ford seldom lost his temper but came close. “Goddamn it, Juan, I just saved your life. Enough with the bullshit. Why are they after you?”
    Rivera stiffened but let it go. “The world has turned savage, old friend. I knew I was being followed, but I thought it was because of my new sports agency business.”
    “Smuggling baseball players, you mean.”
    “Phrase it how you like. What I’m telling you is, now I’m not so sure. I was cultivating a variety of businesses in Havana. At first, I thought the Mexican cartels, or the Cubans. That I might have stepped on the wrong toes. This American dream of yours can bite a man in the ass, which your propaganda fails to—”
    Ford interrupted, “It has nothing to do with baseball. Russians don’t give a damn about Cuban ballplayers.” He had yet to allude to the contents of the briefcase but did now. “For the last decade, outsiders have been stealing collectibles from Cuba. Paintings, historic items. Suddenly, Russia and Cuba are allies again. You know what I’m asking you—the stuff you’ve been selling on the Internet.”
    Rivera rode in silence until he realized the turn to Southwest Regional was before the Red Sox complex. He slapped the dash. “I have to find Figuerito! Must I write my orders on paper?”
    “I didn’t enlist in your army, Juan. Tell me why the goddamn Russians are involved.”
    “I didn’t say they were.”
    Stubborn bastard.
Ford drove and used the silence to put together a workable premise. Letters written by Fidel Castro between 1953 and 1963—a tumultuous period. Batista ousted, 1959. The botched Bay of Pigs invasion, 1961. Next came the Cuban Missile Crisis; the Berlin Wall was erected. The CIA attempted to foil the execution of three hundred anti-Castro operatives, and they had botched the first of several attempts to take out Fidel. Then 1963: JFK assassinated, November 22nd. Oswald killed; Jack Ruby dies. The whole time, a lot of backdoor nastiness between clandestine agencies worldwide. Riots and protests fired by the accelerant of KGB money. East Berlin, Saigon, Nicaragua, El Salvador—same thing but financed by American dollars.
    The biggie, of course, was JFK. Conspiracy theories about Ruby, the Mafia, and Fidel’s orders to “Kill Kennedy” were still believed today.
    But it was bullshit. Decades later, for professional reasons, Ford had studied details of the event. He had filled a folder with notes from investigations by the Warren Commission, the House Select Committee, and had even played a much later role in debunking Congress’s antiquated confidence in so-called sonic experts. They had insisted that a lone gunman could not have fired three rounds—or was it four?—from a bolt-action rifle in less than six seconds.
    Once again, bullshit. Yet, every twenty years or so, some esoteric government agency ordered that it be proven. Ford was not a gifted marksman, let alone a Marine Sharpshooter, but even he could put three rounds into a moving target from only fifty-nine

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