According to Granma

Threats and Violence Lead to Tragedy

"Finally I would like to point out that my nephew Lázaro Rafael was the one who encouraged and incited his parents, brother, wife, and stepson to become involved in the illegal departure from the country on November 22, 1999, because I know my brother Ramón Rafael didn't want to go and if he did it was because of Lázaro's insistence."
YOSLAYNE LLAMA GARROTE: "I knew the individual named Lázaro Rafael Munero García and can say that he was a bully, which he demonstrated through his abuse of the women with whom he had sexual relations. I remember once that the girl who had a child by him told me that Lázaro didn't even love his own son, that he never cared for him. He made a living by wheeling and dealing, selling alcoholic beverages, cigars, or anything else that came along. I found out that when Lázaro got out of jail and went to Elizabeth's house he went around beating everyone. He didn't treat the boy well either. Often, when Elizabeth got to her house she found Elián crying because he wanted to go to his father Juan Miguel's house and Lázaro Munero wouldn't let him, arguing that he spent too much time with his father. "I can also say that a few days after Lázaro and Elizabeth illegally left the country, I happened to be at the Matanzas Children's Hospital, where my son had been admitted, and I heard a group of women commenting that Arianne Horta, one of the survivors of the boat wreck, had said during a telephone conversation that while they were still on shore, Elián started to cry and Lázaro told Elizabeth that if she didn't make him shut up, he would do it.

"To everything I have already said I can add that Lázaro had love affairs with other women behind Elizabeth's back, using the money he got from his illegal dealings and the money she earned by working." Lorenzo Oceguera Pesqueira, a resident of Cárdenas: "I met Lázaro Rafael Munero García in 1993 when he began dating my daughter Dayana and so I had a good relationship with him until they separated after the birth of their son, named Javier Alejandro. I can say that at times he delayed a great deal in visiting the child. [He is talking about a good, honest young woman, already mentioned, a student at 'Primer Congreso' Senior High School whom Lázaro met and seduced at the beginning of the year noted by the father. She became pregnant with his child. Later she would show a steadfast and strong nature.] "I can also state that he worked for a short time as a promoter of beer sales at the Hotel Internacional in Varadero, and I do not know of any other job he has ever had. He hooked up with foreigners and used his car illegally as a taxi to earn money.

"With regard to Elizabeth Brotons, I can say that she was easy to get along with, good-natured and modest, that she greeted me and asked about my grandson whenever she saw me. She was involved in a relationship with Munero García before he illegally left the country in 1998." Regla Hernández González, a resident of Cárdenas: "I met Lázaro Rafael Munero García in 1993, when my daughter, Dayana Oceguera Hernández, became sentimentally involved with him. During their entire relationship, Lázaro only had worked for a short time, selling beer on the beach. As far as his relationship with my daughter is concerned, I have to say that Lázaro spent all his time arguing with her, since he did not want her to improve herself culturally, while he was living by wheeling and dealing, since he had no steady job. "That young man was a difficult and conflictive character. He was almost always involved in street brawls, he abused alcohol, and he seldom visited the child he had with her.

According to Granma, Elizabeth and Juan Miguel were teen sweethearts
Corbis Sygma
According to Granma, Elizabeth and Juan Miguel were teen sweethearts

"I also want to say that Lázaro used a car that he had as a taxi cab without the corresponding license. I was also aware that he had been in prison, though I did not know why.

"I remember that on Thursday, November 19, 1999, Lázaro Rafael Munero García went to my daughter's house and told her that he would come the next day to pick up the child and take him out, something which was very unusual on him, so I said to my daughter that I would take the child with me on Saturday so that Lázaro could not take him out, since as he was always drunk and I thought something bad might happen. The following day, in the early hours of the morning, I took the child to my mother's house, where we stayed for the rest of the day. I am saying that we did this because we thought it was very strange that Lázaro should insist on taking the child out, without suspecting that he was actually going to leave the country illegally." Dayana Oceguera Hernandez, a resident of Cárdenas, currently studying at the "José Smith Comas" Hotel Management and Tourism School, in the municipality of Varadero: "In 1993 I began dating the man called Lázaro Rafael Munero García, a relationship that lasted until 1996. A child was born that we named Javier Alejandro Munero Oceguera. I can responsibly say that the relationship failed, among other reasons, because of Lázaro Munero's domineering and violent character, which even led him to argue constantly with his parents, mainly his father Rafael Munero. I hardly knew Lázaro to have any jobs, well almost none. Once he worked as a barman in the Hotel Internacional in Varadero, where apparently he had a contract to sell beers on the beach, and the other job he had was in the oil company's social club, where he worked as a waiter, according to him. "Otherwise, Lázaro spent his whole life involved in all sorts of illegal dealings, from the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages, for which he was once locked up for several days at the Jovellanos Police Station, to other activities that brought him easy money. On various occasions we argued for the simple reason that Lázaro did not belong to any organization and I am a member of the Young Communists Union. He tried to stop me from improving myself culturally, which is what led to the breakdown of our relationship. I remember that during the last months, Lázaro Munero turned up drunk at the house to see the child, causing arguments with me on these few visits.

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