Fidel Castro Dealt Drugs ‘Like a Real Godfather,’ Former Bodyguard Confirms

By Victoria Kim 05/05/15

Fidel Castro’s former bodyguard Juan Reinaldo Sanchez confirmed suspicions in The Double Life of Fidel Castro.

Fidel Castro
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Fidel Castro’s bodyguard of 17 years, Juan Reinaldo Sanchez, confirmed that El Comandante was indeed knowingly involved in cocaine trafficking to support Cuba’s economy in a new book, The Double Life of Fidel Castro.

In 1989, Castro orchestrated an elaborate “parody of justice,” a fake trial to dissociate himself from drug smuggling by condemning it when the United States became suspicious of Cuba’s drug dealing. Instead, Castro let his military and government officials take the hit. The end result was execution by firing squad of one of Cuba’s most highly respected generals, Arnaldo T. Ochoa. Overall, four senior military officers were executed and 10 other military or government officials were jailed.

At the time, it was uncertain that the trial was a facade. Sanchez’s detailed account of Castro’s double life, an excerpt of which was published by the New York Post on Sunday, confirms the long-held suspicion that he was involved all along. Sanchez realized this one day while listening in on a conversation between Castro and the then minister of the interior Gen. Jose Abrantes, who would become one of the officials imprisoned after the notorious trial.

“I realized that the man for whom I had long sacrificed my life, the Líder whom I worshipped like a god and who counted more in my eyes than my own family, was caught up in cocaine trafficking to such an extent that he was directing illegal operations like a real godfather,” Sanchez wrote.

Sanchez provides a behind the scenes account of the trial, proving every detail was dictated by Castro. “And during breaks, the president of the court, the public prosecutor and the jury members would swarm out onto the fourth floor of the ministry to take their instructions from Fidel, who, as usual, organized and ordered everything, absolutely everything.”

Sanchez himself was thrown in prison when he tried to retire in 1994. After 10 attempts to escape, he finally made it to Mexico by boat, then across the Texas border in 2008.

Drug trafficking served a specific purpose for Castro, Sanchez said. “[I]t served his revolutionary objectives in the sense that it corrupted and destabilized American society. Icing on the cake: It was a means of bringing in cash to finance subversion.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr