Special to The Guardian
Two leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination were childhood “pals” with Fidel Castro in Cuba and even attended the communist revolutionary’s twenty-sixth birthday party at his home in Havana, a report about to be released discloses.
The two candidates are Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, both of whom are of Cuban descent and who’ve criticized the communist government in Cuba and warned President Barack Obama about moving too quickly in opening diplomatic and commercial relations with the struggling country off the southern coast of Florida.
“After months of intensive investigations, it’s now a confirmed fact that the families of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were friends with many of the revolutionary guard in Cuba in the late 1950s and early 1960s and were friendly with Fidel Castro himself as well as his family,” says the report, portions of which have been made available exclusively to The Guardian.
The report was prepared by the Association of American States and is expected to be released shortly, although it’s possible its release will be delayed as the claims contained in it are investigated further given the sensitivity of the findings.
“The family of Ted Cruz is not and has never been ‘friendly’ with the familiy of Fidel Cstro and the conveniently timed leak by a supposedly nonpartisan organization is disappointing and of course will be challenged in court if a correction and apology are not issued immediately,” Bev Stanley, a spokesperson for the Cruz campaign, said today.
Sen. Rubio’s camp also denounced the report, saying, “The Rubios left Cuba in 1956 precisely to get away from the roiling political situation in the country as Castro was preparing to stage his coup,” the statement says. “To imply that they were somehow friendly with the man who went on to become the authoritarian leader of the Soviet puppet regime is as offensive as it is incorrect.”
A source at the Association of American States says the organization stands behind the findings and intends to officially release them soon. “The investigation was launched in anticipation of closer ties between the United States and Cuba,” said the spokesperson, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “The fact that one of its findings has been leaked while two Cuban Americans are running for their party’s presidential nomination is unfortunate but it’s not intended to influence the election in any way. Until the full report is released and the various findings put into context, it’s premature to denounce the report and the organization behind it.”
According to the portion of the report that was leaked, the families of both Cruz and Rubio were “tight” with Castro and others in the revolutionary guard that staged a coup in 1959 and imposed a Soviey-styled government in the tiny Caribbean country. “Mario and Oriales Rubio would frequently have Fidel over for cocktails on weekends, although their friendship deteriorated after Fidel assumed power,” the report says.
Attending the cocktail parties at times, the report says, were Rafael Bienvenido Cruz and his wife, the Delaware-born Eleanor Darragh, whose parents were known for their far-left “progressive” politics. “After Castro assumed power, they left for Canada, where Rafael worked in the oil indstry and where Ted was born, but they remained friends and returned frequently for family events.”
The Guardian is making available to the public the portion of the report in its possession. Access “The Cuban Connection: Cruz, Rubio, and Castro Have Longstanding Ties.”
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