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Americans Living in Havana

FBI CR 109-539-661
RIF 124-90136-10261
Jul 31, 1964

COUNTRY     Cuba

SUBJECT       Fidel Castro's Personal Bodyguard in 1959-60/Organization/Personalities

DATE OF INFO       Nov. 60 and earlier

PLACE & DATE ACQ.  Havana/Nov 60 and earlier

REPORT NO.  00-k 323/02415-64 CAC

DATE DISTR. 31 July 1964


REFERENCES   CD/00 CR-64-17   BR

SOURCE: Cuban national, age 36

Source, a waiter aboard the Cuban motor-ship Havana, defected at St. Johns, Newfoundland, on 28 Feb 64 and arrived in the US 21 Apr 64.  He had been a sergeant in the Cuban Army from 1 Jan 59 until 30 Nov. 61 and a bus conductor in Havana from Mar 62 until Aug 63.  Source attended school to the third grade and had average intelligence.  One of several reports from this source.

This report was developed by an Air Force representative assigned to the office of preparation.

1.  In March 1959 I was selected as a member of Fidel Castro's personal bodyguard.  The headquarters and quarters of the detail was the Hotel San Luis, located at Calle Belascoin #73, Havana.  The chief was Major Pedro Garcia.  He was assisted by Major (fnu) Puerta.

2.  Under the chief were four groups of bodyguards who took turns guarding Fidel, but on many occasions, all guards were on duty.  The group leaders were Major (fnu) Puerta, Capt Reynaldo Insula Abrego (aka "Rey"), Capt. (fnu) Pupo and Capt (fnu) Valle.  I was in the group headed by Capt Insula Abrego.

3.  There were about 60 men in the entire bodyguard.  My group consisted of 14 men.  We all dressed in civilian attire and carried a .45-cal pistol, later replaced by Belgian 9mm automatic (15 shot) pistols.  Our orders were to protect Fidel Castro from physical harm.  This was not a hard task as, at that time, Fidel was very popular and no attempts were made on his life.  When he talked at CMQ-TV we checked all ID cards at the doors.  When he made speeches at parades we dressed in peasant outfits and mixed with the audience.  Our only special orders were to keep close watch on Flavio Chaumon, William Morgan and (fnu) Menoyo whenever these were in the same room or group with Fidel.  Apparently, these men were under suspicion.  Our authority to request proper identification included everybody, regardless of rank.

4.  All chiefs of groups and bodyguards lived at the Hotel San Luis until late 1960 when the Communist Party assumed responsibility for the safety of Fidel and we were all disbanded.  The following places were visited frequently by Fidel Castro:

Page 2

a.  Celia Sanchez residence on Calles 12 and 13 Vedado.
b.  Suite on 6th floor, INRA building, Plaza Civica, Havana.
c.  Residence, Calles Primera and 22, Miramar.
d.  Hilltop residence, Cojimar.
e. Punto Uno, Almendares River and Calle 41, Alturas de Vedado.

5.  Key personnel of the bodyguards:

a.  Major Pedro Garcia was detail chief until October 1960 when he was transferred and designated commander of Managua Military Camp, Havana.  He was a veteran Communist Party member and now a member of PURSC.  He had fought in the Spanish Civil War.  Garcia was married, had an agreeable character and was of average intelligence.  Description: Caucasian, light complexion, age 45, 6', 190 lbs, brown hair, brown eyes.

b.  Major (fnu) Puerta was deputy chief of the detail and leader of the group of bodyguards assigned to Fidel's residence in Cojimar.  A strong Communist sympathizer, he was transferred in late 1960 and designated as official in Matanzas Province.  Puerta was married, was jovial yet strict and had above-average intelligence.  Description: Caucasian, light complexion, age 35, 6', 200 lbs, black hair, light-brown eyes.

c.  Captain (fnu) Pupo, a former group leader of Fidel Castro's bodyguard, was promoted to Major in January 1964.  Lately, he was chief of artillery in the zone of Santa Clara under Major Tomassevich, chief of operations for the Central Army.  Pupo was married, was a Communist sympathizer, and a staunch Castro supporter.  Description: Caucasian, fair complexion, age 30, 5'6", 150 lbs, light-brown hair, light eyes.

d.  Captain (fnu) Valle, a former group leader of Fidel's bodyguard, was transferred to Managua Military Camp in late 1960 to attend artillery school.  A rude character, he suppressed a revolt at El Principe prison in 1961.  He had some of the prisoners disrobed and poked their buttocks with bayonets.  I heard he went to the USSR in 1961 and was still there on 15 Feb 64.  He was single, and tough.  Description: Caucasian, light complexion, age 33, 6', 210 lbs, black hair, brown eyes.

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