|As Agent Knuhc and I boarded the plane for Havana, we were careful to remember at all times that we were entering potentially hostile territory. After all, the Jinx Project is known to be a committed enemy of Communism, and many an operative had been lost during the height of our cold war operations. Of course, the Cold War was now over, but we could not be over-confident that Fidel Castro would forgive his grudges so easily.
We had driven from Jinx headquarters in New York City all the way to Montreal, Canada to make this trip. As most people are aware, it is illegal for US citizens to travel to Cuba without a special permit from the department of the Treasury. In order to circumvent this impediment, Agent Knuhc and I would have to enter Cuba via a third a nation. And now we found ourselves on a plane full of drunken French-Canadian men who were busy psyching themselves up for a week's worth of prostitution and mojitos.
But we were on a far more sacred mission: the Jinx Project had asked us to provide a report on the current status of Cuba, in order that Project leadership could determine whether to lift the nearly 50 year old embargo on the tiny island nation. As secondary objectives, we had been instructed to find Elian Gonzales and to return him to freedom. If the opportunity arose, we were to eliminate Fidel Castro so that his corrupt regime could at last be resigned to the dustbin of history.
The plane ride to Havana ran smoothly, and we passed the time drinking imitation Coca-Cola amongst the vomit-green carpeting that lined the walls of the Cubana jet. It was an old Soviet-era plane that had been build by the Russians in the 70's. I had heard some negative stories about Aeroflot over the years, but the mustachioed Cubans piloting this beast seemed to have things well in control. The carousing French-Canadians certainly didn't seem to be concerned, as they grew ever more inebriated over the course of the four-hour journey.
At roughly one a.m. our plane arrived at Havana's Jose Marti airport, and as we disembarked we were met by a series of cigar-smoking soldiers wearing fatigues, who directed us through customs. The customs-agent seemed mildly surprised by our American passports, but let us enter the country without too much fuss. We didn't dare mention our affiliation with the Project.
Upon exiting the airport, we got our first taste of Cuba. As our cab rocketed down the highway, we noticed that there were almost no other cars on the road. And the few we did pass looked like they were straight out of American Graffiti. Since the Cubans had not been able to import any American cars since 1951, many of them had continued to keep their old American cars functional by installing random Soviet-built engine parts as the old ones expired.
In addition, we immediately noticed that there was no advertising at all. Instead, huge pictures of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara peered down at us from billboards, accompanied by slogans such as "Socialism or Death" and "We will not forget the Revolution!" It had become obvious that we had indeed entered another world, and we went to sleep that night even more determined that the Project might liberate these warm and kind people from the chains of their oppressors.