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News > Latin America

Who Are Those 'Gusanos' Who Celebrated Fidel's Death?

  • People celebrate the death of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro in Miami, Florida, U.S., Nov. 26, 2016.

    People celebrate the death of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro in Miami, Florida, U.S., Nov. 26, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 6 December 2016

While millions mourned the death of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, Cubans in Miami who abandoned the island decades before, celebrated.

In a grotesque display of insensitivity, some Cubans in Miami celebrated the death of revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, carrying "Trump / Pence" signs, hoping to “Make Cuba Great Again” by destroying the Cuban Revolution and bringing back the racism, neocolonialism and fascism of the Batista dictatorship.

40 Years After CIA Terrorist Bombs Cuba Plane, Still No Justice

"Gusanos," or worms is the term Fidel used to describe the first 1960’s waves of wealthy white former landowners who fled Cuba to the United States after the overthrow of U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.

These Cubans were welcomed, nurtured and harbored by successive U.S.administrations, establishing themselves as the most vocal force against the Cuban Revolution, taking part in military operations and terror campaigns against Cuba and of course backing the U.S. blockade against the Cuban people.

The gusanos were behind the 1961 U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion, which Havana was able to defeat in 72 hours, capturing hundreds of mercenaries, many of whom Cuba identified as plantation owners, Batista's ex-military men, factory owners and businessmen.

In 2011, declassified CIA documents showed that one of the key figures in the 1976 terrorist bombing of Cubana Flight 455 was Luis Posada Carriles, a right-wing Cuban who had fled the island after the revolution.

Posada Carriles, now 88, was also part of the failed Bay of Pigs assault and was an informant for the CIA. Orlando Bosch was another CIA agent who helped mastermind the attack on the civilian plane.

The documents also show that Bosch received a phone call from the bombers saying "a bus with 73 dogs went off a cliff and all got killed." He is also connected to terror attacks on Cuban hotels in 1997.

Bosch is well connected to the Bush family, having been personally championed by Jeb Bush, when he was the governor of Florida, and released from U.S. custody by former President George H. W. Bush.

Another leader of the gusanos is Felix Rodriguez, who is an ex-CIA agent known for having participated in the Bay of Pigs invasion. He was sent by the CIA to Bolivia to kill revolutionary leader Che Guevara in 1967.

He ordered that Guevara be “shot below the neck” so that it would look as though he had been “killed in combat.”

These Cuban terrorists are seen as heroes by the counter-revolutionary Cuban community in the U.S., whose ties to the murder of innocent Cubans has no bearing on their conscience.

Fidel Castro: A Latin American Legend

These gusanos are also among some of the most right-wing politicians and celebrities in the U.S. and the state of Florida. Rafael Diaz-Balart, who served as a deputy interior minister in the Batista's regime is the father of U.S. Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Mario Diaz-Balart, both Republicans.

Another infamous member of the right-wing Cuban community is Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican U.S. Congresswoman who in 2014 proposed a bill calling for sanctions on Venezuela. Meanwhile, former Florida Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero III is the very grandson of Batista.

Also of note is the Estefan family in Florida. Pop singer Gloria Estefan's father was Batista’s bodyguard and participated in the Bay of Pigs failed invasion.

But Fidel’s Cuba could not stand by and allow the U.S.-backed gusanos to meddle with its internal affairs and terrorize the Cuban people.

Five Cubans were sent by the government to the U.S. to monitor Miami-based terrorist groups plotting to attack Cuba to avoid a further loss of lives.

The Cuban 5, as they came to be known worldwide, were imprisoned in the United States in 1998 and sentenced in 2001 on espionage charges.

After years of an international campaign calling for their release, the last of the five was released in December 2014, coinciding with announcements from Cuban President Raul Castro and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama that the two countries would begin to re-establish ties.

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