A US Diplomat’s Son in Cold War Soviet Union, Nicaragua and Cuba


In this fascinating interview, Patrick D. Joyce recounts his unique experience growing up as the son of a U.S. diplomat during the Cold War.

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Living in the diplomatic community of the Soviet Union, Nicaragua, and Cuba, Patrick shares vivid memories of his father’s career as a Soviet and linguistic expert, who rose to become Deputy Ambassador at both the Moscow and Havana US embassies.

The discussion touches on the juxtaposition of ordinary family life in various U.S. embassies around the world alongside the extraordinary circumstances of espionage and international relations, highlighting the complexities and contradictions of living in hostile countries during tense political times.

The narrative weaves through personal anecdotes, school experiences, interactions with local populations, and the evolving geopolitical landscape, providing a deeply personal lens on historical events.

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Patrick D. Joyce is the author of two Cold War thrillers for young adults: Back in the USSR and Strawberry Fields. Learn more about Patrick and his books at https://patrickdjoyce.com.

Obituary in The Foreign Service Journal for Patrick’s father, John M. “Mike” Joyce:


“The Old Russian Legacy,” by John M. Joyce, in Foreign Policy (1984):


The Washington Post on the Cuban TV exposé:


James Olson on Foreign Policy’s I Spy podcast, with a recently revealed backstory to the Cuban TV exposé:


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“La guerra de la CIA contra Cuba,” the 1987 Cuban TV exposé that aired the night before Patrick’s family departed Havana: