Tuesday, November 29, 2016

My Brush With History (Fidel Castro)

My first US government job was at the FBI back in the late 1950s.  Yep, I am that old.  We lived on Kenyon ST NW in Washington, DC and neighbors of ours were Cubans.  We weren't that close of friends, but we did talk a little when we saw them on the street.

One day the Cuban neighbor invited me to a party at his apartment and said he was having a special guest in attendance.  I accepted his invitation and then found out it was Fidel Castro.  Fidel had been to the UN and was stopping by Washington, DC on his return trip to Cuba.  

He showed up in his fatigues and drew a large crowd of followers and onlookers.  Most of the party was held on the sidewalk and road.  I still remember seeing Fidel sitting on the hood of a car eating chicken legs and smoking his big cigar.  He just threw the chicken bones in the street when finished with them.  At the time I thought he didn't leave a good impression of a leader of a country.

I've often wondered why the US embargo of Cuba was so effective since they were free to trade with other countries.  The Russians supported them for many years until the Russians were broke.  Same with Venezuela.  It will be interesting to see what happens on the Island now that Fidel is gone.  His brother Raul has been the ruler since 2008 so I don't expect to see any big changes in the near future.


Due to my job I decided it wouldn't be a good idea partying with Fidel Castro, given he was a Communist.  I didn't want to have to explain why I was there in the chance someone recognized me from the Bureau.  We viewed the party from our front steps and found it quite interesting being that close to Castro.



  1. Now that is some story. Wow. I can understand why you didn't party with the man but definitely a part of history.

  2. I agree....why you didn't want to party with them. A great story.