We noted years ago that Fidel Castro ranked high on Forbes’ list of the richest people in the world with unearned wealth. As his economic policies forced his countrymen into increasingly desperate poverty, Castro himself has lived for decades like a pasha. It is doubtful whether any of history’s rogues gallery of warlords and tyrants has ever stolen a larger portion of his country’s wealth than Fidel Castro.
Now more of the story is told by Fidel’s former bodyguard, Juan Reinaldo Sanchez, who worked for the dictator for 17 years and escaped to the U.S. in 2008. Sanchez has now written a book titled The Double Life of Fidel Castro. The book is excerpted in the New York Post.
It contains lots of entertaining information, like that fact that Castro maintains his own private hospital, where two people who share his blood type are housed. Just in case. And his family has its own herd of cows, with one cow assigned to each member of the family to precisely match that person’s taste in milk. But most interesting is Sanchez’s description of Castro’s private island:
On the west side of the island, facing the setting sun, the Castros had built a 200-foot-long landing stage for his personal yacht. The Aquarama II, decorated entirely in exotic wood imported from Angola, had four engines from Soviet navy patrollers, a gift from Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. …
To allow Aquarama II to dock, Fidel and Dalia had also had a half-mile-long channel dug; without this, their flotilla would not have been able to reach the island, surrounded by sand shoals. …
A floating pontoon, 23 feet long, had been annexed to it, and on the pontoon stood a straw hut with a bar and barbecue grill.
From this floating bar and restaurant, everyone could admire the sea enclosure in which, to the delight of adults and children alike, turtles (some 3 feet long) were kept. On the other side of the landing stage was a dolphinarium containing two tame dolphins that livened up our daily routines with their pranks and jumps. …
From 1977 to 1994, I accompanied him many hundreds of times to the little paradise of Cayo Piedra, where I took part in as many fishing or underwater hunting expeditions.
Hardly anyone was allowed to set foot on Fidel’s private island, not even his own brothers. He did host potentates from Communist countries there, like East Germany’s Erich Honecker. A few close personal friends were allowed onto the island, like Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Anyone else? Oh yes, Ted Turner and Barbara Walters.
We will have to try to get Sanchez as a guest on the Power Line show.