'First love'

Woman who fell in love with Fidel Castro as a teen — and nearly assassinated him — mourns dictator’s death

Marita Lorenz and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro pictured in 1959 (YouTube).

The death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro at the age of 90 on Friday made global headlines and stoked a range of emotions from all different types of people around the world. In Miami, Cuban exiles took to the streets to celebrate the passing of a man they saw as a murderous tyrant. President Obama and President-elect Trump issued dramatically different statements on Castro’s death, while their counterpart to the north found himself ridiculed after releasing an effusive statement praising Castro as a “remarkable leader.” But for one woman, the emotions after the news of Castro’s death broke were deeply personal, and she was left “in a bit of shock.”

Marita Lorenz first met the Communist leader in 1959 during a chance encounter on her father’s cruise ship while it was docked in Havana. “He was 33, with sparkling eyes,” she recalled in a documentary, according to The Daily Mail. “And that was it. I was lost in love.” The two immediately hit it off and within weeks, Lorenz flew back to Cuba for what she thought would be a short visit, but turned out to be the beginning of a torrid love affair that was complete with espionage and intrigue. During that visit, Lorenz said in a past interview with The New York Daily News, she became pregnant and was “embarrassed to come home to my parents.”

Seven months into her pregnancy, Lorenz said she was abducted and drugged, inducing labor. The baby she said she gave birth to, Castro’s child, was taken from her, Lorenz has claimed. She believes the kidnapping of her newborn was the work of the CIA, though a 1993 report by Vanity Fair called her version of events into question. That report suggested that Lorenz may have had an abortion or suffered a miscarriage in Havana and after returning home to New York City, required more medical attention to remedy complications from whatever might have happened.

Once home in New York, her mother, a former CIA spy, urged her to turn on Castro and work against him as a spy. According to her accounts, the CIA eventually concocted a plan for her to poison the Cuban dictator, which she agreed to carry out. “They used me because I was the only one that could get back into his bedroom,” she told The Daily News more than two decades ago. The CIA and FBI, she said, armed her with poisonous pills created by the Mafia, but the caper fell apart. Anyway, had the assassination plot not been botched, she still wouldn’t have gone through with it, she said, because she was still in love with Castro. Watch the clip below in which Lorenz explains the conflicted feelings she experienced when she went to kill Castro, and what his reaction was when he realized what she was there to do.

Over the weekend, Lorenz’s son spoke on her behalf to the Daily News, and said, “She’s in a bit of shock, just taking it all in.” He described Castro as her “first love.” Lorenz is 76 now and living in the New York City borough of Queens. In the prior interview with the Daily News, she discussed what she believes became of the lovechild she says was taken from her decades ago.

Read the full story at The New York Daily News.


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