ME IN CUBA AND DICTATOR FIDEL CASTRO IN 1959 THE 4TH OF JULY AND 1959 CUBAN INVASION

 

Scan0033

Me and one of Castro’s men.  

In 1959, on the island of Cuba ninety miles from Miami,Florida Fedel Castro, a political activist and longtime freedom fighter with the Cuban revolutionary movement, ousted the existing dictator, Fulgencio Batista. Batista had seized power in a military coup on March 1952 and shortly after postponed elections. He implemented right wing polices, became a dictator and began  ruling the country.  When Castro along with his army, rolled victoriously into Havana in January of 1959 , Batista immediately fled in to exile taking with him over $300,000,000.00.. 

 CASTRO’S SPYS

As early as July 1959, Castro’s intelligence chief Ramiro Valdes contacted the KGB in Mexico City.Subsequently, the USSR sent one hundred mostly Spanish-speaking advisors to organize the committees for the Defense of the Revolution, which implemented neighborhood spying in an effort to weed out Counter-revolutionary activities. 

       It was at this same period a friend of mine, Frankie Anastasia, a Policeman from Miami, Florida and I decided to spend the 4th of July 1959 weekend in Havana Cuba.   Frankie asked me not to mention the fact that he was with the Miami Police Department. His reason was that during Batista’s dictatorship, a number of Miami police officers rode their motorcycles in his parades. Castro had no love for the officers and  Frankie thought he might be in trouble if they found that he was one of them.

We took off from Miami International Airport and arrived in Cuba at the Jose Marti Intl. airport a few minutes later. We were picked up by Frankie’s friends and taken to the Foxa Co-Op building, an apartment complex in  Havana . This is where we would stay for the next three days. It was during that short period we learned more about the revolution and Castro’s extreme dislike for Americans.

Scan0038

  Our visit to Cuba turned out to be quite out of the ordinary when one of our friends observed a couple of men following us where ever we went.  Castro had a secret security force, following suspected individuals from the moment they got off the plane until they left the island.  Castro even had loyalists living in Miami who reported to him about numerous individuals making the trip to Cuba.  Castro was concerned about anyone whom he thought might be involved in an attempt to assassinate him. The security force had access to all the flight manifests and the names of those who arrived daily.

When talking to Americans associated with the Cleveland & Youngstown Mafia who were running the Casino located on the top floor of the Hotel Nacional, we were told to be careful not to create any attention; Castro would put anyone in jail if they acted suspicious.   

CASTRO TAKES OVER the SYNDICATES CASINOS

It wasn’t long after Castro’s takeover, that he began eliminating the Mafia’s gambling operations and refused to honor any agreements they made during Batista regime.  Castro arrested a Mafia leader from Warren, Ohio by the name of Frankie Cammo. Frank Cammo was one of the mobs gambling associates who went to Cuba after the U.S. had deported him to Italy some years earlier. He was a friend of Myer Lansky, the financial wizard and top figure on the commission in America’s Mafia Syndicate. I had met M.Lansky in 1958 while having breakfast at Wofeies ,a popular eating spot where he and other Mafia associates hung out on Miami Beach.

Castro confiscated Cammo’s business; put him in prison and later had him killed. Castro was a communist who lacked compassion and refused to allowed Cammo’s  family to have the body returned to American for proper burial.     The mob in Cuba consisted of a gathering of Mafia families from the US who had controlled the gambling in that country for a number of years; they now had to relinquish everything..  Our week end in Cuba had a sense of intrigue.  A couple of days after returning to Miami, a friend  I knew told me of a visit she had by the FBI; they questioned him about me and my friend Frankie Anastasia.

Unsuspectingly, the FBI, as well as Castro’s Security force had been watching us during our weekend in Cuba. It was then I realized they had taken my license plate number and associated me with the mob when I worked at the their hangout, the “Copa Lounge” in Hollywood, Florida.   The fact that I was originally from Youngstown and grew up with people involved in the rackets helped make me guilty by association.         

CASTRO DEATH THREATS

 Little did I know at that time, there were numerous schemes or attempts by the CIA and others to assassinate Castro; some of the  plots are depicted in a documentary entitled 638 Ways to kill Castro. Such attempts included an exploding cigar and a mafia style shooting. According to documents declassified by the CIA in 2007. One  assassination attempt before the Bay of Pigs invasion; involved Santos Trafficante the alleged boss of Florida.who I had met along with his friend Johnny Rosselli and Al Capone’s successor, Salvatore Giancana. while I was bar-tending  at  the Copa Lounge in Hollywood .The CIA contacted these men about the possibility of the assassination attempt.  I never realized how close I had come to being involved in a  situation that could have changed my life forever. 

      CASTRO’S ASSASSINATION ATTEMPTS

The plan to assassinate Castro supposedly involved the than US attorney general Robert Kennedy along with a go-between from the CIA called n Robert Mahue.  Mahue offered $150,000 for “removal” of Castro though this operation. There are documents that suggest neither Rosselli nor Giancana accepted any sort of payments. The entire program was canceled shortly thereafter due to the lunching of the Bay of Pigs. 

In 1960, Cuba signed an agreement to buy oil from the USSR. When the US owned refineries in Cuba refused to process the oil. Castro broke off diplomatic relations with the US government and began to establish closer ties with the Soviet Union.  A variety of pacts were signed between Castro and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev; as a result this allowed Cuba to receive large amounts of economic and military aid from the USSR.

That was at least 58 years ago,when I was young and traveling around the world. Little did I realize that  many years later, a few  of these charterers where supposedly in involved in the death of President Kennedy ,history was being made at that time and I was almost a part of it.

HOTEL NACIONAL  IN HAVANA, CUBAThe Hotel Nacional, Havana, Cuba LCCN2010638840.tif

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Powered by AWS