Saturday 19 October 2019

I was CIA spy for years, Castro's sister reveals

Sibling was disillusioned as Fidel turned toward communism

Tom Leonard in New York

The younger sister of Fidel Castro collaborated with the CIA in the 1960s as the agency was trying to assassinate him.

Juanita Castro said she helped her brother's "arch-enemy" for three years from 1961, even sheltering opponents of his regime in her Havana home before she defected to America in 1964.

The period covered the abortive US-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later, as well as dozens of CIA attempts on Castro's life.

After becoming disillusioned with her brother's revolution over its violence and embrace of communism, Ms Castro said that she responded positively when the CIA sought her help.

Ms Castro (76) has spent the past 35 years running a small pharmacy in Miami. While there have been suggestions in the past that she helped US intelligence, she has only admitted it herself in a new book, 'Fidel and Raul, My Brothers, the Secret History'.

She initially supported the revolution against the regime of Fulgencio Batista.

Executed

After the Castros seized power, she took over the management of hospitals but soon lost confidence in her brothers as they moved towards communism, confiscated private property and executed opponents.

She and other members of her wealthy clan were incensed when Fidel and Raul imposed "agrarian reform" on some of the family estates. "I began to become disenchanted when I saw so much injustice," she said.

Ms Castro began sheltering those persecuted by her brother's government. "My situation in Cuba became delicate because of my activity against the regime," she said. "Fidel stopped coming to our house because he complained we were protecting what he called 'worms' and he did not agree."

She said that someone who knew both her and Fidel brought an invitation from the CIA asking her to collaborate.

"They wanted to talk to me because they had interesting things to tell me, and interesting things to ask me, such as if I was willing to take the risk, if I was ready to listen to them -- I was rather shocked, but anyway I said yes," she said.

She last spoke to Fidel in 1963, after their mother died. A year later, he reportedly denounced her as a "counter-revolutionary worm" after she started selling the cattle on their mother's estate before he could expropriate the land. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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