Fidel Castro lived a life of luxury and bedded several women while Cubans starved, claims longtime bodyguard

Juan Reinaldo Sanchez describes in great detail his former boss's hidden life of political ruthlessness, mistresses and greed in his book.


                            Fidel Castro lived a life of luxury and bedded several women while Cubans starved, claims longtime bodyguard

To the world, Fidel Castro presented himself as a modest man of the people. Many a time, he claimed to live in a "fisherman's hut" somewhere on the beach, and claimed he made just 900 pesos ($43) a month.

However, it is no secret that Castro's public image was more fiction than fact, and rather a carefully crafted myth, the New York Post's Laura Italiano writes.

Castro's longtime bodyguard, Juan Reinaldo Sanchez, wrote in his book, 'The Double Life of Fidel Castro: My 17 Years as Personal Bodyguard to El Líder Maximo,' that "while his people suffered, Fidel Castro lived in comfort — keeping everything, including his eight children, his many mistresses, even his wife, a secret."

Cuban leader Fidel Castro is presented with an invitation to the New York Press Photographer's Ball, New York City, April 23, 1959. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Cuban leader Fidel Castro is presented with an invitation to the New York Press Photographer's Ball, New York City, April 23, 1959. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Sanchez describes in great detail his former boss's hidden life of political ruthlessness, mistresses and greed in the 2015 book. It reveals that the Cuban strongman made a personal fortune offering safe haven to drug traffickers, slept with numerous women over the years, and even threatened his own brother Raul with execution when he became an alcoholic back in the '90s.

It is interesting to note that most Cubans had no inkling of Castro's residence. The public was completely oblivious of the fact that Castro had cheated on his first wife Mirta Diaz-Balart with Natalia Revuelta, whom he would later marry.

Revuelta was one of Havana's most beautiful women "with her green eyes, her perfect face and her natural charm" and was married at the start of her affair with Castro. While Castro had his first "official" son with Diaz-Balart, namely Fidel Jr. or “Fidelito," he had his only daughter, Alina, with second wife Revuelta.

Fidel 'Fidelito' Castro Diaz-Balart, son of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, attends the closing gala night for the week-long International Habano Cigar Festival on February 27, 2015, in Havana, Cuba. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Fidel 'Fidelito' Castro Diaz-Balart, son of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, attends the closing gala night for the week-long International Habano Cigar Festival on February 27, 2015, in Havana, Cuba. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Having said that, the former prime minister of Cuba cheated on his second wife as well, wooing “comrade Celia Sanchez, his private secretary, confidante and guard dog for 30 or so years,” according to Sanchez, aside from his several other flings. “He doubtless had other relationships that I did not know about,” the author wrote.

While Castro had 11 children with four different women and several other mistresses, the only woman who dared to rebel against him publicly was his daughter, Alina Fernandez Revuelta.

“I remember her in the 1980s, a pretty young woman who had become a model,” Sanchez wrote. “One day, when I was in Fidel’s anteroom, Pepín Naranjo, his aide-de-camp, showed up with a copy of the magazine Cuba. Spread across its second page, Alina could be admired posing on a sailboat in a bikini, in an advertisement for Havana Club rum.”

“What on earth is this?” Fidel allegedly raged. “Call Alina, at once!”

Cuban activist Alina Fernandez, the daughter of Fidel Castro, speaks at a news conference at the National Press Club April 29, 2003, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Stefan Zaklin/Getty Images)
Cuban activist Alina Fernandez, the daughter of Fidel Castro, speaks at a news conference at the National Press Club April 29, 2003, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Stefan Zaklin/Getty Images)

"Two hours later, Alina strode into his office, not in the least ­intimidated,” Sanchez recalled. “The ensuing argument was the most memorable of them all: Shouting reverberated all over the room, shaking the walls of the presidential office.”

“Everybody knows you are my daughter! Posing in a bikini like that is unseemly!” Castro yelled. Fidel then learned through his secret service several years later, in 1993, that Alina was planning to flee to the US.

Sternly addressing his head bodyguard, Col. Jose Delgado Castro, Castro said, “I am warning you: Alina must not leave Cuba under any pretext or in any way."

But Alina solicited help from a network of international accomplices two months later. She packed a false Spanish passport, put on a wig, and sneaked out of Cuba.

Fidel Castro in Sierra Maestra with Antonio Nunez Jimenez and Celia Sanchez Manduley (right) during the War of Liberation. (Photo by: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)
Fidel Castro in Sierra Maestra with Antonio Nunez Jimenez and Celia Sanchez Manduley (right) during the War of Liberation. (Photo by: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)

When Castro learned of her escape, his rage knew no bounds. “One rarely sees the Comandante allowing his anger to explode,” Sanchez wrote. “In 17 years, I saw it only twice. But when Pepín broke the unpleasant news to him that day, Fidel went mad with rage. Standing up, he stamped his feet on the ground while pointing his two index fingers down to his toes and waving them around.”

“What a band of incompetent fools!” he cried. “I want those responsible! I demand a report! I want to know how all this could have happened!”

That said, Alina remains one of her father's most fierce opponents to this day. “When people tell me he’s a dictator, I tell them that’s not the right word,” she told the Miami Herald. “Strictly speaking, Fidel is a tyrant."