Published On: Wed, Nov 4th, 2015

Castros have longstanding ties with Yucatan

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The leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro, whose brother Raul, the current president of that country, will visit Merida on Thursday Nov. 5, first came to Yucatan on July 7, 1955.

In his first official visit to Mexico since assuming the Cuban presidency in 2006, Raul Castro will meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in Merida Nov. 5-7.

Expelled from Cuba by President Fulgencio Batista, Fidel Castro arrived at Merida’s airport on a flight of Mexicana Airlines.

Raul Castro and his brother Fidel in 1958 (Photo:

Raul Castro and his brother Fidel in 1958 (Photo:

The press at the time did not report the arrival of Fidel Castro to the airport, despite his exile being well known. Only the Ministry of Foreign Relations noted his arrival.

“His stay at the airport was brief and mostly occupied with other Cuban exiles opposed to Batista,” reports Diario de Yucatán in a report on the presence of Fidel in Merida before his rise to power, published April 12, 2004.

Fidel Castro and Che Guevara (Photo: Google)

Fidel Castro and Che Guevara (Photo: Google)

At the airport Castro boarded another plane to Veracruz and from there by bus, arrived in Mexico City. In the capital he took lodgings with his brother Raul and other members of the Revolutionary Movement “July 26”, the backbone of the armed offensive against Batista months later.

Fidel Castro and Camilo Cienfuegos (Photo: Vanguardia)

Fidel Castro and Camilo Cienfuegos (Photo: Vanguardia)

According to the Diario de Yucatan report, citing official documents, in November 1955 Castro organized another trip to Mérida to meet Justo Carrillo, a member of the staff of former president Carlos Prio, overthrown by Batista. Carrillo belonged to a group of former officials, military, students, businessmen and professionals opposed to Batista and therefore sought the support of Castro and his group, but an alliance never materialized.

Sources of the Federal Security Directorate (DFS), which by then had located the movements of Fidel Castro, adds the Diario reportage, reported that he used his stay in the Yucatan capital to meet not only with Carrillo but also with supporters of his movement that maintained in Merida safe houses, warehouses with weapons and training camps.

Castro also used his visit to assess the possibilities of Merida and Cozumel as starting points of the invasion. Castro wanted a place close to Cuba, but he understood the disadvantages of Yucatan: there was no road between Mexico and Merida and communication between the national capital and Cozumel was very difficult.

Aleman’s footprint

The second problem was the large group of secret agents of Batista in Yucatan responsible for monitoring the Cuban exiles.

Castro then decided to concentrate his people in Mexico City and open up safe houses and training centers in various parts of the country, including Yucatan.

Here in Yucatan he built a network of supply of weapons and explosives, in which ex-Mexican President Lazaro Cardenas took an active part, along with several local entrepreneurs.

The reports placed one of the businessmen as a former protege of former President Miguel Aleman. “He has good political relations in the federal government and also with the Yucatecan government, owns three hotels and Cessna airplanes that give sightseeing. Also supplied weapons and dynamite to Castro,” reveals the DFS in its declassified report.

Fidel Castro and Lazaro Cardenas in La Habana 1961 (Photo: Google)

Fidel Castro and Lazaro Cardenas in La Habana 1961 (Photo: Google)

On the participation of Lazaro Cardenas in the network to support Castro in the Peninsula before and after the revolution, there are many versions, including one that supposedly links him to Lee Harvey Oswald, assasin of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

Sworn testimony of former CIA agents linked Lazaro Cardenas with Castro and Lee Harvey Oswald. According to Elias Razur Antonio, former director of the Mexican Observatory on Drugs, John Martino, a former CIA operative in Miami, told a judge in January 1964 about reports of a trip to Cuba Oswald took when he was in Mexico in 1963, in a clandestine flight that departed Yucatan.

In his testimony, Martino said that Oswald moved to the east of the island in early November 1963 in a plane that went “from a landing strip of a ranch that former President Lazaro Cardenas has in the Yucatan Peninsula.”

Some of this information was included in the report of the Warren Commission, which investigated Kennedy’s assassination.

Fidel Castro and Jose Lopez Portillo in Cosumel in 1981 (Photo: Google)

Fidel Castro and Jose Lopez Portillo in Cosumel in 1981 (Photo: Google)

– Source:

Mexico Travel Care



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