International News

Who Killed Camilo Cienfuegos?

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the mysterious disappearance of Camilo Cienfuegos, a Cuban revolutionary who combined the bohemian aura and looks of Jim Morrison (a full decade earlier) with the flowing, catlike moves of Bruce Lee. (He was said to kill the enemy and catch his rifle before it had time to hit the ground.)

Cienfuegos was so popular that when his death on October 28, 1959, was announced, the Cuban people flocked to the shore and tossed flowers into the sea that had swallowed his Cessna 310 during a night flight from Camagüey to Havana.

On Wednesday, the ritual will continue as schoolchildren toss flowers into the ocean and rivers. It will all be capped with the unveiling of a 16-ton steel sculpture as tall and as heavy as the likeness of Che it will accompany.

In Miami, exiles will continue to point the finger at Fidel. They contend he not only quietly pushed Che out of the country, but also had

Camilo, who was said to be more popular than El Comandante, killed.

They note, as reported by El Nuevo Herald, that the pilot of the British aircraft that followed Camilo's plane disappeared, that the plane's mechanic who reported the machine guns were spent was fatally struck by a car the very same day, that the fisherman who witnessed the aerial shooting was interrogated and never heard from again, and that the personal friend looking into the case was gunned down.

None of the allegations has been proven, and Fidel loyalists chalk the death up to an accident.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jorge Casuso
Contact: Jorge Casuso