The Secret Life of Fidel Castro

Castro Cigar BW

A former security agent shows the leader lived large while preaching revolutionary sacrifice

Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes: For 17 years Juan Reinaldo Sánchez was part of the elite team of Cuban security specialists charged with protecting the life and privacy of Fidel Castro.But in 1994 his loyalty came into question when, with a daughter already living abroad, a brother jumped on a castro-cigarraft for Florida. Castro fired him.

“The Obama administration has just removed Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism amid sharp criticism from exiles. Their concerns are sensible: Though Castro is now rumored to be feebleminded, the intelligence apparatus he built—which specializes in violence to destabilize democracy and trafficks in drugs and weapons—remains as it has been for a half century.”

Sánchez was imprisoned for two years and tortured. In 2008 he defected to the U.S., making him the only member of el maximo lider’s personal escort ever to flee the island.

“When a Canadian company offered to build a modern sports-facility for the nation, Castro used the donation for a private basketball court. Wherever he traveled in the world, his bed was dismantled and shipped ahead to ensure the comfort he demanded.”

Last month Sánchez died, weeks after he published “The Double Life of Fidel Castro,” an English-language version of “La Vida Oculta de Fidel Castro,” first published in 2014 in Spain. The timing of his demise has some wondering if the long arm of the dictatorship did not reach out to exact revenge for his tell-all about his former boss. The official cause of death has been reported as lung cancer.

castro

The legend of Castro as a great revolutionary who sacrifices for his people is preserved by keeping the details about his life a state secret. Sánchez’s account shows the real Castro: vengeful, self-absorbed and given to childish temper tantrums—aka “tropical storms.” “The best 51DScWyGj2L._SL250_way of living with him,” Sánchez wrote, “was to accept all he said and did.”

[Order Juan Reinaldo Sánchez’s book “The Double Life of Fidel Castro: My 17 Years as Personal Bodyguard to El Lider Maximo from Amazon.com]

The book is timely. The Obama administration has just removed Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism amid sharp criticism from exiles. Their concerns are sensible: Though Castro is now rumored to be feebleminded, the intelligence apparatus he built—which specializes in violence to destabilize democracy and trafficks in drugs and weapons—remains as it has been for a half century.

Castro-kruschev

Sánchez witnessed firsthand Castro’s indifference to Cuban poverty. The comandante gave interminable speeches calling for revolutionary sacrifice. But he lived large, with a private island, a yacht, some 20 homes across the island, a personal chef, a full-time doctor, and a carefully selected and prepared diet.

When a Canadian company offered to build a modern sports-facility for the nation, Castro used the donation for a private basketball court. Wherever he traveled in the world, his bed was dismantled and shipped ahead to ensure the comfort he demanded.

Castro was obsessed with spreading his revolution. Outside of Havana was a secret camp called Punto Cero de Guanabo where, Sánchez wrote, Cuba “trained, shaped and advised guerrilla movements [and organizations] from all over the world.” Recruits from places like Venezuela, Colombia, Chile and Nicaragua practiced hijacking airplanes and learned to use explosive….(read more)

WSJ

Write to O’Grady@wsj.com.

 


One Comment on “The Secret Life of Fidel Castro”

  1. Tim Shey says:

    Here is a post from the blog Homeward Bound that you might like to read:

    The Future In Hindsight

    Before Romania was a democratic country it was a communist country, and before it was a communist country it was a monarchy. With each transition certain things took place that shaped the nation for the next fifty years, and most often not for the better. One need not be a student of history to see certain key events play out and draw certain conclusions based on said events.

    One of the first things the communists did when they came to power was strip the rich of their wealth, imprison every voice of dissent, and appoint little more than troglodytes to positions of power.

    Nothing is more dangerous than an imbecile with power, and all that was required of them was to remember who gave them said power, and obey whenever called upon to act.

    And so, people who had worked their entire lives to build something for themselves were kicked out of their homes, and their homes were given to others who never had either the desire or wherewithal to succeed in life, all in the name of equality.

    A strange thing happened when these homes were given away to those who had neither worked to build them or upkeep them. Within a matter of years these homes were nothing more than hollow shells, raped of their beauty and their once stunning presence, because those who had been given stewardship of them did nothing to maintain them and treated them as one would something they didn’t have to work for.

    Even here, in Botosani, a relatively small and poor city, there are the husks of once breathtaking homes, and one need only close their eyes and imagine what they were like at their peak to be both speechless and broken of heart.

    What all those foaming at the mouth and screaming about equality, and taking it all away from the rich to give to the poor don’t understand is that equality has always been and will always be a fantasy. No matter the government, no matter the system, no matter the restrictions, there will always be those who will outwork, outthink, and outhustle the vast majority, and make a better life for themselves and their families.

    Give a man who didn’t have to work for it a mansion, and within a hare’s breath it will be turned into a dung heap, because what you didn’t work for you don’t respect, and what you don’t respect you don’t strive to maintain.

    I am poor by choice. I’ve made money in the past, I know how to make money in the present, but money does not appeal to me, nor do material possessions. Wealth and the message I preach are irreconcilable and forever destined to be apart, and that bothers me not an iota. I choose to see my daughter grow up rather than spend my time and energy amassing possessions. Those experiences are more valuable to me than a new car or a big home. That said, this is a personal choice, and as such I cannot ask someone who has chosen to pursue wealth to give what he has amassed to me because I chose not to pursue the selfsame wealth.

    I write this article today because given that another election is around the corner, our beloved politicians will once again be beating the inequality drum at a fevered pitch, not bothering to include themselves among the evil rich, but though they are multi-millionaires in their own right somehow consider themselves removed from said title.

    When you fuel the fire and fan the flame of such a mentality, when you make a mass of individuals believe they are entitled to something they didn’t work, sweat, bleed, and sacrifice for, it becomes impossible to put the genie back in the bottle and have things be as they once were.

    The utter desperation to win elections have made people nearsighted, and as yet they do not see the reality that once you let this particular dog off the leash it will not stop until it has devoured everything in its path.

    If you want to see the end result of what this mentality produces you need look no further than former communist bloc countries where the entrepreneurs, the visionaries, the educated, and the hard working were stripped of their possessions only to watch them be squandered by the mobs who were told that they deserved what others had worked for simply because it was more fair this way.

    With love in Christ,
    Michael Boldea Jr.

    http://mikeboldea.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-future-in-hindsight.html


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