Interestingly (and tragically) The ECPAT Network – (End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism) in a study titled Child Prostitution and Sex Tourism in Cuba," reports that: "In Cuba, the link between tourism and prostitution is perhaps more direct than in any other country that hosts sex tourists." Such is the desperation of the brutalized and impoverished residents of a nation that prior to the glorious Castro/Che revolution enjoyed a higher per capita income than Japan and half the nations of Europe and who welcomed more immigrants (primarily from Europe) per-capita than the U.S. Prior to the glorious Communist liberation people were as desperate to enter Cuba as they are now to escape.
"Famous Americans are the priority objectives of Castro's intelligence," reports Fernandez. “When the celebrity visitors arrived at the Hotels Nacional, Meliá Habana and Meliá Cohiba, we already had their rooms completely bugged with sophisticated taping equipment. But not just the rooms, we'd also follow the visitors around, sometimes we covered them 24 hours a day. They had no idea we were tailing them."
"Socialism works. I think Cuba might prove that" (Chevy Chase). "Castro is very selfless and moral, one of the world's wisest men" (Oliver Stone).
"If you believe in freedom, if you believe in justice, if you believe in democracy, you have no choice but to support Fidel Castro!" (Harry Belafonte).
"It was an experience of a lifetime to sit only a few feet away from him (Castro)" Kevin Costner.
"The eight most important hours of my life," (Stephen Spielberg describing his dinner with Castro, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.)
Famous Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar was a special target for this bugging but nothing of value came of it for Castro. "Everybody already knows I'm a maricon!" Almodovar laughed at Castro's blackmailers. "So go right ahead! Knock yourselves out!"
"Fidel Castro is a special connoisseur of these tapings and videos," says Fernandez, "especially of the really famous." And not even his closest "friends" are safe from this bugging. The best example is his longtime Castro "friend" Nobel Prize novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez. In what appeared as a touching act of generosity and friendship, Castro gave his friend "Gabo" his very own (stolen) mansion in Havana.
"We had remodeled it right before," recalls Fernandez, "and we installed more cables for bugging devices than for the normal electrical appliances. We taped everything. Fidel doesn't trust anyone."
Turns out, however, that at least one visiting dignitary foiled Castro's intelligence. On his visit to Cuba in 1998, Pope John Paul's assistants discovered and removed several bugging devices from his Holiness' hotel room. Perhaps Castro had a grudge against the Papacy?
Most don't recall, but on January 3rd, 1962, Pope John XXIII ex-communicated Fidel Castro from the Catholic Church.
“His personal magnetism is powerful!” panted Barbara Walters about Fidel Castro during her 2002 interview with the hemisphere’s top torturer of women. “His presence is still commanding!"
Juan Reynaldo Sanchez, a Lieut. Colonel in Cuba’s Armed Forces who spent 17 years as Fidel Castro’s bodyguard/valet had just been promoted to the position when Barbara Walters visited Cuba for her first interview with the Stalinist dictator in May 1977. Sanchez defected to the U.S. in 2008 and explained to this writer how he was part of the Castroite entourage that accompanied Ms Walters and Fidel to the latter’s island chateau, where they spent the week-end.
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.