25 years ago this summer: How Cuba’s Castro regime trembled with fear and literally soiled their pants

An interesting read from Juan Tamayo in The Miami Herald:

Arnaldo Ochoa — a problem for Castro brothers 25 years ago

Castro’s fears led to a revolutionary hero’s execution and drunken binges by his brother Raúl, according to a former security officer.

http://media.miamiherald.com/smedia/2014/06/22/19/33/GSrCn.St.56.jpegFidel Castro was so afraid of a revolt in Cuba’s most elite paramilitary unit that he ordered his motorcade to avoid driving past its base, his top bodyguard at the time says. Raúl Castro was so depressed that he was going on drunken benders and soiling his pants.

Cuba’s top military hero, Gen. Arnaldo Ochoa, had been executed by firing squad for drug smuggling. And a longtime member of Fidel’s innermost circle, Interior Minister José Abrantes, was in jail awaiting trial for failing to stop the trafficking.

That summer 25 years ago posed one of the toughest challenges ever for the Castro brothers — to show that their top deputies had trafficked drugs without their consent, and to avert a backlash from other soldiers who believed the Castros were lying.

“That was the drop that overflowed my glass,” said Juan Reinaldo Sánchez, 65, who served 17 years on Fidel’s personal security detail and now lives in Miami. “That he would send to the firing squad a man who was a true hero.”

Ochoa, 59, was Cuba’s top military icon. He was a veteran of campaigns in Angola, Venezuela, Ethiopia and Nicaragua, had won the country’s highest honor, Hero of the Revolution, and sat on the Central Committee of the Communist Party.

Nevertheless, he was executed on July 13, 1989, along with three senior officers of the Ministry of the Armed Forces and Ministry of the Interior (MININT), after a military court convicted them of drug smuggling and treason.

Ochoa was not plotting to overthrow Fidel, as was rumored at the time, said Sánchez, who in 1989 stood at Fidel’s elbow as keeper of the diary of the Cuban leader’s daily activities. Ochoa did not have the troops or the means to carry out a coup, he added.

But evidence presented at their trial showed that Ochoa and the three others who were executed — Antonio de la Guardia, Jorge Martinez and Amado Bruno Padron — had arranged cocaine shipments through Cuba and to the United States for Colombia’s Medellin cartel.

Abrantes, one of Fidel’s oldest and closest aides, a former head of his security detail and a general, was arrested later with six other MININT officers for failing to stop the drug traffic and corruption. He died of a heart attack in 1991 while serving a 20-year prison sentence.

Fidel had approved Abrantes’ involvement in drug trafficking, Sánchez alleged. And Raúl, then minister of defense, had approved Ochoa’s involvement. Military Counter-Intelligence (CIM), which reported directly to Raúl, had to have known of Ochoa’s activities, yet no CIM agent turned up at either trial as defendant or witness.

“Fidel and Raúl handled everything well because in the end they achieved their objective — to survive,” said Sánchez. “Ochoa, who could have fingered Raúl, was executed. And Abrantes, who could have fingered Fidel, died in prison. Done.”

But there would be side effects from the two cases, especially for Raúl, who has a documented history of heavy drinking when under pressure.

Raúl went “into a major depression” soon after Abrantes’ arrest, said Sánchez, who included the anecdote in his recently published book, The Secret Life of Fidel Castro. His version of events cannot be independently confirmed, but he has proven to be reliable in the past.

Raúl feared that if Fidel were capable of sacrificing Abrantes for “failing” to know about the drug smuggling at MININT, Fidel might also sacrifice his younger brother for “failing” to know about Ochoa’s crimes in the military, Sánchez wrote in the book.

The head of Fidel’s security detail, Col. Jose Delgado Castro, told Sánchez that Raúl’s security detail had reported that he was often so drunk “he was urinating in his pants and soiling his pants,” the bodyguard told el Nuevo Herald in an interview last week.

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3 thoughts on “25 years ago this summer: How Cuba’s Castro regime trembled with fear and literally soiled their pants

  1. Ochoa, like most officers in any Communist military (where promotions are based on boot-licking and lackeyism instead of brains) was a military bumbler to rate with Groucho Marx in Duck Soup. A teenzy and vastly outnumbered South African force MAULED and HUMILIATED Ochoa’s army at Cuito Cuanavale in South Africa. Granted, you’d never know this from the mainstream media: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RefL01AipAU

  2. Abrantes died of a heart attack in prison OFFICIALLY, which is no more reliable than the official version of how Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero died. If Fidel wanted Abrantes dead, he could very easily have him killed and then simply claim whatever he wanted as the cause of death, as there would be no way to investigate the matter, let alone disprove it. As for Ochoa, he was certainly overrated, but as the saying goes, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. In other words, relative to completely bogus “generals,” starting with Raul Castro, Ochoa looked pretty good, and when it’s to the regime’s benefit, anyone can be puffed up to look far better than he merits–the classic case, of course, being Che Guevara.

  3. I truly question the dignity and intelligence of anyone that calls Arnaldo Ochoa, a servant of Castro and a disperser of communism, a “hero”. How is being the facilitator for Castro’s Napolian adventures a “hero”.

    The criminal, fraudulent, egotistical, and betraying nature of Castro has been blatantly evident since 1959. Castro has been a backstabbing fraud all his life and any communist minion thinking that he/she is exempt from the ways of such lunatic egomaniac is an utter idiot.

    It should have been evident to Ochoa, had he had brains, that the destructive attention whore and egotistical fraud of Castro, the one with the fake military uniform, would not allow anyone to overshadow him (much less a real militant) once his services were no longer needed and the propaganda behind him started to become counterproductive for Castro.

    Ochoa simply got a good dose of the capricious and egotistical aberration he proudly served. As much as some may want to think that Ochoa was an emerging catalyst for reform nothing leads me to that conclusion, not even Castro’s fears. To me nothing was lost with the execution of such servile man.

    More so, none of the other Uncle Toms ever did anything to save him or avenge his death. More than half of them are too stupid to even see that they are another purge waiting to happen while the other part of them are just parrots and trained dogs gladly living off kickbacks in an island nation able to generate a thousand times more than what Castro permits it to generate for the sake of his stalinist control.

    It’s only when these minions start fearing falling out of favor, fearing for their lives, and fearing for their privileged positions that their eyes are “suddenly” opened to the capricious ineptitude and lowness of Castro’s aberrational system to then head off to Miami in disgust, give me a break.

    Many of these “repented” ball-lickers, many of whom had ample access and intelligence, could have done something and none ever did anything in the sole hopes of cashing Castro’s next check and perhaps get an extra pat on the back. At the end of the day, it is Castro who is nothing without his flock of miserable scumbags.

    More so, all those African wars, although fought by Cubans, were financed by the USSR and for the benefit of the USSR. Castro was being armed and financed so that he could spare them (the Soviets) of the inevitable bloodshed, with Cuban blood, while he (Castro) had a fun ego-trip while looking bigger than he was as secretary-general of the shamelessly named “Non-Aligned Movement”.

    That’s what Ochoa did for Cuba and its people to then return to Cuba to drive a Mercedes-Benz Gullwing (a car worth in the upwards of $100,000) over the distopian destruction and imposed misery of Havana, so much for national “hero”.

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