Juan Reinaldo Sánchez’s “The Secret Life of Fidel Castro”

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La Vie cachée de Fidel Castro [Fidel Castro’s Hidden Life], a book by his former bodyguard Juan Reinaldo Sánchez published in France in May 2014, has caused quite a stir. Most articles focus on the supposition that Castro once said that he lived the life of an exemplary revolutionary on a frugal salary, but in reality, has lived a life of luxury. Somehow, I suspect that, compared to most world leaders’, his salary is probably . . . well . . . frugal, but, of course, most of us—whether on the right, the middle, or on the left—are prone to measuring Cuba with a quite rigorous yardstick.

In his new book and his speaking engagements, Sánchez says Castro has hoarded huge wealth with luxury properties, vehicles, and cash stashed in foreign bank accounts, sending the media into a frenzy with articles such as “La vie de nabab de Fidel Castro” in France’s L’Express, The Guardian’sFidel Castro lived like a king in Cuba, book claims,” and Australia’s News.com’sNew book by Juan Reinaldo Sanchez claims Fidel Castro lived a life of luxury.” See excerpts from the latter with links to full articles below:

Juan Reinaldo Sanchez, 65, guarded the former Cuban leader—Washington’s nearby nemesis—for 17 years. But now he has published a book of memoirs portraying Castro as a sort of feudal lord who ran the island as a personal fiefdom. Castro personally controlled about 20 luxury homes, a Caribbean island getaway with a pool in which dolphins swam, the 88-foot yacht Aquarama II and several fishing vessels, according to Sanchez. “He always claims he lives frugally. Lies. He lives in a luxury that most Cubans can’t even imagine,” Sanchez told el Nuevo Herald in his first interview after the book, The Secret Life of Fidel Castro, was published last week in France.

Sanchez said he lost Castro’s trust after his brother escaped from Cuba in 1994. Forced out of the personal security details, he refused transfers and asked for retirement but was instead sent to prison for two years for insubordination. He spent three months in a tiny isolation cell and dropped from 84 to 52 kilograms.

After escaping by boat to Mexico in 2008, he settled in Miami. A regular guest on South Florida’s Spanish-language television programs, Sanchez has previously alleged Castro approved a drug-smuggling operation that led to the execution of Cuban army Gen Arnaldo Ochoa in 1989, and commented on other Cuban secrets.

Other defectors have confirmed Sanchez spent many years in Castro’s elite unit, the Praetorian Guard — the last five in his innermost ring of bodyguards. His anecdotes cannot be independently confirmed because of their very nature, however.

For full articles, see http://www.news.com.au/world/new-book-by-juan-reinaldo-sanchez-claims-fidel-castro-lived-a-life-of-luxury/story-fndir2ev-1226931515984, http://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/monde/amerique-sud/la-vie-de-nabab-de-fidel-castro_1545125.html, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/21/fidel-castro-lived-like-king-cuba (photo above) and http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/23/4134730/former-bodyguard-to-fidel-castro.html

Also see an interview of the author with Marc Perelman here: http://www.france24.com/en/20140614-interview-juan-reinaldo-sanchez-fidel-castro-former-bodyguard-cuba-communism-secret-fortune/

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