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The Vietnam Horror the Media Buried: How the Castros Tortured and Murdered U.S. POWs

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi, File

“Trump Made Vietnam Veterans Day Official Holiday: Americans celebrate Vietnam Veterans Day annually on March 29 thanks to a measure signed into law by then-President Donald Trump in 2017…"To each of you with me today, you are the heroes who fulfilled your duty to our nation. And each of you, under the most difficult conditions, did what you had to do, and you did it well," said President Trump.


The conditions were particularly difficult for the U.S. POWs held at the in Cu Loc POW camp in North Vietnam.

You see, amigos: In 1967 Fidel and Raul Castro–unable to get their hands on any defenseless Americans to torture and murder at home—sent several of their top torturers to North Vietnam, where defenseless Americans were abundantly available. Testimony during Congressional hearings titled, “The Cuban Torture Program: Torture of American Prisoners by Cuban Agents” held in November 1999 provide some of the harrowing details.

The communists titled their torture program “the Cuba Project,” and it took place during 1967-68 primarily at the Cu Loc POW camp (also known as “The Zoo”) on the southwestern edge of Hanoi. In brief, this “Cuba Project” was a Joseph Mengelese experiment run by Castroite Cubans to determine how much physical and psychological agony a human can endure before cracking.

The North Vietnamese—please note!—never, ever asked the Castroites for advice on combat, much less to lend them their “legendary guerilla commandant” Che Guevara. Genuine guerrillas knew that the anti-Batista “war” in Cuba had been a gaudy clown show/farce made gaudier by a servile U.S. media. The very notion of master guerrilla frauds Che Guevara and Fidel Castro aiding the Viet Cong must have seemed obscene if not hilarious to Ho Chi Minh and Giap. 


No, the North Vietnamese sought Castroite tutelage only on torture of the defenseless, well aware of the Castroites’ expertise in this matter.

For their experiment, the Castroites chose twenty American POWs. One died: Lieutenant Colonel Earl Cobeil, an Air Force F-105 pilot. His death came slowly, in agonizing stages, under torture. Upon learning his Castroite Cuban affiliation, the American POWs nicknamed Cobeil’s Cuban torturer, “Fidel.”

"The difference between the North Vietnamese and the Cuban torturer,” testified fellow POW Captain Ray Vohden, USN, “was that once the Vietnamese got what they wanted they let up, at least for a while." Not so with the Cubans. Earl Cobeil had resisted them to the maximum. "I heard the thud of the belt falling on Cobeil’s body again and again, as the Cuban torturer screamed 'you son of a beech! I will show you! Kneel down!–KNEEL DOWN!' The Cubans unmercifully beat a mentally defenseless, sick American naval pilot to death.”

“Earl Cobeil was a complete physical disaster when we saw him,” testified another fellow POW, Col. Jack Bomar. “He had been tortured for days and days and days. His hands were almost severed from the manacles. He had bamboo in his shins. All kinds of welts up and down all over; his face was bloody. Then the Cuban torturer again began to beat him with a fan belt.”


According to the book Honor Bound: “the tortures of U.S. POWs by Castro’s agents were “the worst sieges of torture any American withstood in Hanoi.”

But the Castros and Che Guevara also walked the walk regarding their solidarity with North Vietnam in another manner: “In one week during 1964 we counted 400 firing squad blasts from our cells," recalled former Cuban political prisoner and freedom-fighter Roberto Martin Perez to this writer. Given the rate of firing-squad executions in Cuba in the early years of the Cuban Revolution, thousands of gallons of valuable blood were gushing from the bodies of young men and boys, soaking uselessly into the mud or washing into gutters. What a waste, reasoned Cuba’s new rulers.

Heaven knows that Cuba, then as now, had a crying need for some foreign exchange. And here was an ocean of fresh, plasma-rich blood freed from its confines by bullets and spilling in torrents daily. Let’s collect it and sell it, reasoned the cash-hungry mass-murdering regime.

On April 7, 1967 The Organization of American States Human Rights Commission issued a detailed report on an overlooked facet of “President” Castro's much-lauded “health-care:” 

"On May 27, 1966 from six in the morning to nightfall political prisoners were executed continuously by firing squad in Havana's La Cabana prison, one hundred and sixty-six men were executed that day and each had 5 pints of blood extracted prior to being shot."

"Extracting this amount of blood often produces cerebral anemia and unconsciousness so that many had to be carried to the execution wall on stretchers," the report continued. "The corpses were then transported by truck to a mass grave in a cemetery outside the city of Marianao. On that day, the truck required seven trips to deliver all the corpses. On 13th street in Havana's Vedado district, Soviet medical personnel have established a blood bank where this blood is transported and stored. This blood is sold at fifty U.S. dollars per pint to the Republic of North Viet Nam."



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