Says former bodyguard to Castro, Juan Reinaldo Sanchez in his new book The Double Life of Fidel Castro. His source for that was the máximo líder's own intelligence chief La Barba Roja (Manuel Pineiro)--about whom we've written before.
Sanchez provides a few more details to what we've already learned from other sources about the extent of Cuba's role in the supposed martyr, Salvador Allende's Chile. That country, ...at the start of the 1970s was without doubt the country in which Cuban influence had penetrated most deeply. Fidel devoted enormous energies and resources to it.
According to La Barba Roja, says Sanchez, while Allende was not Castro's puppet, Fidel was grooming two Chileans to succeed that socialist presidente when the time came. Fidel's real proteges were Miguel Enriquez, the leader of the Movement of the Revolutionary Left [MRI], and Andres Pascal Allende...nephew of President Allende. Both had been trained in Cuba for that purpose.
Meanwhile Manuel Pineiro and his intelligence services were busy penetrating and infiltrating the entourage of Salvador Allende. Including the head of Chilean public television Augusto Olivares. Also the daughter of the President, Beatriz Allende, was married to a Cuban diplomat stationed in their embassy in Santiago. She managed to convince her father to replace his personal security team with Cuban agents, including the notorious twin brothers Patricio and Tony de la Guardia (later to be sacrificed to a firing squad along with General Arnaldo Ochoa, when word threatened to get out that Fidel was heading a drug smuggling ring).
When the military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet waylaid those intricate plans in 1973, all was lost. Not that Castro didn't have his henchman Barba Roja try to reverse things. Sanchez confirms reports that at the time of the Pinochet-led coup there were hundreds of Chileans getting politico-military training in Cuba's Punto Cero de Guanabo camp. They were eventually sent back to South America to fight the Chilean junta, and almost succeeded in killing Pinochet in a rocket attack on his motorcade in 1986.
The leader of that attack still lives in Cuba today, according to Sanchez's book.
We do wish that Sanchez had expanded on this remark about La Barba Roja; ...he died in a car accident in 1998, at a time when he was about to embark on writing his memoirs.