CH 5: Havana Nights (1985)

The humid Havana night clung to Carlos Batiste's skin as he made his way through the narrow, cobblestone streets of Old Havana. The rhythmic beats of son cubano drifted from open windows, mingling with the scent of cigars and rum. It was a city alive with music and passion, but also heavy with tension and secrets.

Carlos adjusted his Panama hat, a necessary prop for his cover as a wealthy Colombian businessman. His crisp linen suit, despite the heat, remained impeccable – a skill he'd perfected over his years in deep cover.

As he approached El Floridita, Hemingway's old haunt, Carlos's senses heightened. This wasn't a social call. He was here to meet his contact, a high-ranking official in Castro's government who had grown disillusioned with the revolution.

The bar was crowded, filled with a mix of locals and the few tourists brave enough to visit Cuba in these tense times. Carlos made his way to the bar, ordering a daiquiri – Hemingway's favorite. He sipped it slowly, his eyes scanning the room from behind his sunglasses.

A man in a ill-fitting suit approached, sweat beading on his forehead. "Señor Álvarez?" he asked, using Carlos's cover name.

Carlos nodded almost imperceptibly. "You must be Señor Ramirez."

The man – not the Ramirez that Dorian would meet decades later – slid onto the stool next to Carlos. "I have what you asked for," he muttered, sliding a small envelope across the bar.

Carlos pocketed it smoothly. "Gracias, amigo. Your courage will not be forgotten."

As Ramirez stood to leave, a commotion erupted near the door. Three men in military uniforms entered, their eyes scanning the crowd. Carlos felt his heart rate spike, but years of training kept his exterior calm.

"Is there a problem?" he asked Ramirez quietly.

The man's face had gone pale. "They're not supposed to be here. Someone must have talked."

Carlos made a split-second decision. "Go. Now. Through the kitchen."

As Ramirez slipped away, Carlos turned back to the bar, gesturing for another drink. He could feel the soldiers' eyes on him, could sense them moving closer.

A heavy hand landed on his shoulder. "Señor, we need you to come with us."

Carlos turned, a look of confused innocence on his face. "Is there a problem, officer?"

"That remains to be seen. Please, come quietly."

As they led him out of the bar, Carlos's mind raced. Had his cover been blown? Was Ramirez a double agent? Or was this just a routine check?

One thing was certain – the information in that envelope was too valuable to lose. Whatever happened next, he had to find a way to get it out of Cuba and back to his handlers in Langley.

As they shoved him into a waiting car, Carlos Batiste – CIA operative, soon-to-be father, and unwitting catalyst for events that would unfold decades later – steeled himself for what was to come. The warm Havana night suddenly felt very cold indeed.

Little did he know that this night would set in motion a chain of events that would eventually engulf his son, Dorian, in a web of intrigue and danger he could never have imagined.


Back to blog