While some Cubans are mourning the death of their country’s former president, for one German American woman, the passing of Fidel Castro was much more personal.
Marita Lorenz, who met Castro in 1959 when she was just 19, says she and the communist dictator had a torrid love affair, which led to the birth of his love child before she tried to carry out an assassination plot against him.
Fidel, who was a notorious womanizer, once told journalist Ann Louise Bardach that he had ‘almost a tribe’ of children.
But Lorenz, who is now in her 70s and lives in Queens, New York, was still shocked by the news that her first love had died, her son Mark Lorenz said.
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Lorenz and Castro pictured at their first meeting aboard the MS Berlin cruise ship in Havana harbour
‘He was 33, with sparkling eyes,’ she recounted. Lorenz, who is 76 and now lives in Queens, was shocked at the news that her first love had died, according to her son
‘She’s in a bit of shock, just taking it all in,’ Mark told the New York Daily News.
Her incredible story began in February 1959, when her father’s cruise ship, the MS Berlin dropped anchor in Havana harbor.
A launch boat crammed with uniformed men hurtled towards them, and Castro, being the tallest among them, caught Lorenz’s eye.
‘He was 33, with sparkling eyes,’ she remembers, speaking in an interview recorded for History Channel documentary, CIA Declassified. ‘And that was it. I was lost in love.’
On her return to New York a few days later, she found herself bombarded with calls and invitations to return to Cuba from the dictator.
She obliged and, within days, was installed in Castro’s penthouse apartment on the 74th floor of the Havana Hilton.
Two months later, she discovered – to her delight – that she was pregnant. But her happiness wasn’t to last.
A SECRET WEDDING, TWO WIVES AND AT LEAST 10 CHILDREN: CASTRO’S WOMANIZING WAYS
Castro was known to be a womanizer who fathered as many as 10 children, telling an interviewer once that they formed a ‘tribe.’
Throwback to May 2006: A political rally in Havana sees several members of Castro’s family attend. Identified by their respective numbers, they are: #1: Alejandro Castro, son, computer expert; #2: Antonio Castro, son, orthopedist, Cuban baseball team doctor; #3: (no name available), grandson, son of Angel Castro; #4: Angel Castro, son; #5: Dalia Soto del Valle, wife and family administrator, teacher; #6: Mirta Castro, granddaughter, daughter of Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart; #7: Alexis Castro, son, mechanic, Mercedes-Benz specialist. The remaining people are friends and bodyguards
Castro married his first wife Mirta (Myrta) Diaz-Balart in 1948 after they met at college. They had one child together – a boy named Fidelito (or Little Fidel) in 1949. They later divorced in 1955 reportedly because of him cheating on her. Reports say she went on to marry ‘one of his sworn political enemies’, a man named Emilio Nuñez Blanco, and lived with him in Spain leaving their son in Cuba with Castro.
Castro pictured with his son Fidelito in Havana circa 1960
He is thought to have married second wife Dalia Soto del Valle in a secret wedding in 1980. She was his companion since 1961 and they had five boys together between 1962 and 1974. Del Valle was a teacher and the couple were not often seen in public together. She appeared on Cuban TV for the first time in 2001.
Fidel Castro’s son Alejandro Castro Soto del Valle (L), and his mother, Dalia Soto del Valle (R), Castro’s second wife, and another unidentified woman
Former Cuban President Fidel Castro (R) talks with his wife Dalia Soto del Valle, during a special session of the Cuban Parliament, on August 7, 2010 in Havana
Castro had a daughter, Alina Fernandez, with mistress Natalia Revuelta in 1956. Revuekta was an aristocrat who Castro met while married to his first wife. She donated money and aided Castro and his opposition movement. Alina left the Cuba in 1993 using false papers and now lives in the US.
Alina Fernandez Revuelta (L), daughter of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, and her daughter Alina-Maria Salgado-Fernandez (R) toast the New Year with champagne, after being reunited in the United States after Alina-Maria left Havana early December 31 1993 for Miami
In excerpts of The Double Life of Fidel Castro by Juan Reinaldo Sanchez in the New York Post it was reported that he cheated on both of his wives. ‘He cheated on the first with the very beautiful Havanan Natalia Revuelta and on the second with ‘comrade’ Celia Sanchez, his private secretary, confidante and guard dog for 30 or so years,’ said The Post.
Still grab from a video taken on January 8, 2014 of former Cuban president Fidel Castro (C) and his wife Dalia Soto (L) during the inauguration of the nonprofit cultural center Kcho Romerillo, Laboratory for Art in Havana
While Lorenz was still pregnant, she said she was drugged and kidnapped by the CIA. She is seen left at a press conference in 1977. castro is seen right in a 1959 file photo
Drinking a glass of milk one day while heavily pregnant, she suddenly blacked out and came to a few hours later to find herself seriously ill – and without her baby.
Lorenz blamed the CIA, who she claims drugged her before inducing labor and stealing her baby, the Daily News reported.
Lorenz, who is slated to be played by actress Jennifer Lawrence, went on to have an affair with Venezuela’s dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez
But there was no evidence that the child was born, and it remains unclear whether Lorenz had an abortion or miscarriage, according to Vanity Fair.
She become so ill she was flown home to New York, where she was visited by the CIA who revealed that Castro had arranged for her to be given a late term abortion.
‘I didn’t believe it,’ she told the Radio Times. ‘But they did a good job of brainwashing me, telling me that he did this to me. It left me heartbroken.’
She believed the agents when they informed her that Castro was not just a threat to America, but intimidatingly dangerous as well.
Lorenz remembers: ‘They said, ‘We want you to take him out’.’
She agreed and and told the Daily News: ‘They used me because I was the only the only one that could get back into his bedroom.’
In January 1960, she traveled to Miami to meet Frank Sturgis, a CIA double-agent who handed her a pot of poison pills.
Her role was simple: drop one in Castro’s drink and escape unscathed.
Frightened she would be discovered by Cuban customs, Lorenz hid the pills inside her pot of cold cream.
While Lorenz was still pregnant, she blacked out and woke up seriously ill without the baby. She claims the CIA later told her Castro had arranged for her to be given a late term abortion
Back in Castro’s Havana penthouse, she attempted to slip the pills into a glass of water but was foiled by the clinging cream.
‘I tried to wipe it off, but I couldn’t,’ she remembers. ‘I panicked and tried to flush them down the loo but they wouldn’t go down. Then Fidel walked in.’
The dictator had gotten wind of the plot and Lorenz was terrified. ‘He took his gun out of its holster,’ she says.
‘I thought he was going to shoot me, but he gave me the gun and asked, ‘Did you come to kill me?’
‘Then he took a puff on his cigar and closed his eyes. He made himself vulnerable because he knew I couldn’t do it. He still loved me and I still loved him.’
And he was right. Lorenz ejected the bullets and fell into his arms.
She told the Daily News: ‘I felt deflated. He was so sure of me. He just grabbed me. We made love.’
Even though she agreed to try to assassinate Castro in a plot that failed, Lorenz said they were still very much in love. Pictured, a university student crying in Havana after Castro’s death
The reaction to the Cuban revolutionary’s death had a drastically different reaction in Miami, Florida, where the news was met with joy and celebration
Sturgis, who was later one of the Watergate burglars, told Vanity Fair in 1993: ‘Fidel would lay a snake if it wriggled.
‘She was one of the snakes. I tried to get her to poison Fidel, but she backed off because she was in love with the son of a bi***.’
While Lorenz returned to Miami, fearing the CIA would kill her if she attempted to remain with Castro, her colorful life did not end there.
Lorenz, who is slated to be played by actress Jennifer Lawrence, went on to have an affair with another dictator, Venezuela’s Marcos Pérez Jiménez with whom she had a daughter. Another relationship resulted in a son.
But Lorenz’ affection for Castro remained undiminished.
‘The moment I saw the outline of the island from the plane, I knew I couldn’t do it,’ she says. ‘I have a reputation as an assassin but wouldn’t kill a bug.’