Cubans in the Congo: Film project update


One of the strangest chapters in the history of the Castro Kingdom is that of Cuban involvement in the Congo. The strangest story within that chapter is that of the anti-Castro Cuban exile pilots hired by the CIA to fight in the Congo against their Castronoid enemies and their African comrades.

Nearly half a century after these events unfolded, filmmaker Sandra Alvarez-Smith is producing a documentary film, “A Secret Legacy,” which will finally bring this story to light.

From the project’s website: a capsule summary:

“At the height of the Cold War, the CIA orchestrated a top-secret battle deep inside Africa’s Congo. Unbeknownst to the American public, the CIA contracted an elite group of Cuban-exiles to carry out these clandestine operations. Today, the details on the Congo operation remain classified by the CIA.

“A Secret Legacy” is a documentary in production that tells the personal journey of Frank Alvarez, a 61-year-old Cuban immigrant, on a quest to find out the truth about his deceased father, Panchito, who was one of the CIA-hired veterans.”

As the film progresses, we will meet the few remaining Cuban exiles, who will share their stories about their experiences in the Congo. The veterans will tell their mysterious and compelling tales of cannibalism, covert CIA operations, plane crashes, Communist rebels, Che Guevara and his Cuban guerrillas, the rescue of Evangelical missionaries, and the Simba warriors and their witch-doctors.”

On March 28, in Los Angeles, a fundraiser is being held for this important film. See all the information below. If you are in the L.A. area, you have a chance not just to view history, but to make it happen.

You can visit the project web site HERE.     You can view the trailer HERE.   If you wish to make a donation, go HERE.

Congo Havana Nights Invitation 

2 thoughts on “Cubans in the Congo: Film project update”

  1. The Cuban exiles sent to the Congo by the CIA were mostly Brigade 2506 Bay of Pigs veterans that had graduated from the U.S. Army’s Volunteer Cuban (VC) officer’s candidate school program in Fort Benning, Georgia, during 1962-63. When the graduates were told that there would not be further U.S. attacks against Cuba, after the secret Kennedy-Khrushchev understanding allowed a Soviet combat brigade to remain on the island until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, they were given the option of joining the U.S. Army as second lieutenants and fighting in Vietnam (Ernesto Lluesma; Irenaldo Padron, killed in Vietnam; Jose Fajardo Montano, Gloria Estefan’s father, who died from Agent Orange defoliant used in Vietnam; and Afro Cuban Erneido Oliva, who ascended to the rank of general of the National Guard in Washington, D.C.), or working as CIA operatives (Felix Rodriguez Mendigutia, who captured Che Guevara in Bolivia; Jose Basulto, founder of Hermanos al Rescate; and Antonio Iglesias Pons, who led the attack on Boca de Sama, Oriente, on October 12, 1971). Those who opted out of the military program to continue the war against the Castro dictatorship on their own included underground fighters Luis Posada Carriles; Rafael Villaverde Lamadrid, lost at sea in the 1980s; Luis Crespo and Humberto Lopez Nuñez, members of the FLNC injured in 1974 while making a book bomb; Nino Diaz, and others. Jose Miguel Battle became an underworld godfather in the New York area and financially contributed for attacks against the Castro regime. Armando Lopez Estrada became an FBI informant in 1976 and ratted out Rolando Otero. Afro Cuban Tomas Cruz y Cruz, renown for racially confronting Fidel Castro during the brigade’s interrogation, became a Protestant minister and died in an auto accident in 1974. Humberto Cortina became a Florida legislator. Esteban Martinez Echenique became a community organizer in Miami. Jorge Mas Canosa became a millionaire businessman. Jose Napoleon Vilaboa Llerena, who joined the U.S. Marines under this program, a few years later became an officer in Castro’s DGI espionage and was the father of the Mariel boatlift in 1980. One of the most notorious participants in the Congo affair, who will probably be omitted from the film, was the notorious drug trafficker, Venezuelan DISIP officer, and FBI informant Ricardo “El Mono” Morales Navarrete, who ratted out Dr. Orlando Bosch in 1968. Morales died, shot in the head, in a barroom brawl in Key Biscayne on December 22, 1982.

Comments are closed.