"Fidel Castro is a genius!" gushed Jack Nicholson after a visit with the Cuban Fuhrer in 1998. "We spoke about everything," the actor rhapsodized. "Castro is a humanist like President Clinton. Cuba is simply a paradise!" .
Jack Nicholson has been saying such things for years now. Many of his Hollywood cohorts follow suit. Francis Ford Coppola, Kevin Costner, Steven Spielberg, Woody Harrelson, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Leo DiCaprio, Chevy Chase, Robert Redford among many others have all waxed euphoric on Castro and his island prison.
While discussing the book, Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant on his show recently, Bill O’Reilly refered to these celebs as "Hollywood pinheads." But there might be more to these celebrity plugs for a tyrant who jailed more of his subjects than Hitler or Stalin than the usual celebrity vacuity upstairs.
"My job was to bug their rooms," revealed Cuban intelligence defector Delfin Fernandez while on a Madrid TV show recently, "with both cameras and listening devices. Most people have no idea they are being watched while they are in Cuba. But their personal activities are filmed under orders from Castro himself. Child sex, drug use, orgies, those are the sort of things they want to tape, anything–shall we say—‘ethically incorrect.’ And Castro’s undercover agents don’t wait around hoping the famous visitors might randomly engage in these things. They tempt them, bait them with offers." According to some sources, Havana has recently topped Bangkok as the mecca for child sex.
"He (Fernandez) has not only met some of the most famous men in the world," Says the London Daily Mirror about the Cuban defector. "He’s also spied on them and been witness to some of their most innermost secrets."
"When the celebrity visitors arrived at the hotels Nacional, Meli√?∆? ¬° Habana and Meli√?∆? ¬° Cohiba," says Fernandez, "we already had their rooms completely bugged with sophisticated taping equipment. Cuban agents also stay in the rooms on either side of the celebrity room. These intelligence agents are usually accompanied by a woman and children to make it look like a typical vacationing family. They also follow the celebrity visitors around, sometimes covering them 24 hours a day. The celebrities had no idea we were tailing them."
Famous Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar was a special target for this bugging but nothing of value came of it for Castro. "Everybody already knows I’m gay!" Almodovar laughed at Castro’s blackmailers. "So go right ahead! Knock yourselves out!"
"Fidel Castro is a special connoisseur of these tapings and videos," Fernandez says, "Especially of the really famous.” And not even his closest "friends" are safe from this bugging. The best example is his longtime "friend" Nobel prize novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez. In what appeared as a touching act of generosity and friendship, Castro gave his friend "Gabo" his very own (stolen) mansion in Havana "We had remodeled it right before, " remembers the intelligence honcho, Fernandez "and we installed more cables for bugging devices than for the normal electrical appliances. We taped everything. Fidel doesn’t trust anyone."
Castro’s top intelligence people would gather for the screenings of these tapes almost like Hollywood types for an upcoming movie. "Hummmm, these scenes are more scandalous than anything in any of her movies!" Fernandez recalls a top intelligence officer chortling while watching the nighttime cavortings of a famous Spanish actress. "Now, it really seems to me, companeros," the Castro intimate smirked as he looked around the room, "that this senora should be making more respectful comments about our regime, right?"
"But famous Americans are the priority objectives of Castro’s intelligence," says Fernandez. "When word came down that models Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss were coming to Cuba the order was a routine one: 24 hour a day vigilance. Then we got a PRIORITY alert, " recalls Fernandez, "because there was a rumor that they would be sharing a room with Leonardo Di Caprio. The rumor set off a flurry of activity and we set up the most sophisticated devices we had."
"The American actor Jack Nicholson was another celebrity who was bugged and taped thoroughly during his stay in the hotel Meli√?∆? ¬° Cohiba," states Fernandez, the man in charge of the bugging.
Turns out, however, that at least one visiting dignitary foiled Castro’s intelligence. On his visit to Cuba in 1998, Pope John Paul II’s assistants discovered and removed several bugging devices from his Holiness’ hotel room. Perhaps Castro had a grudge against the Papacy. Most don’t recall, but in Janurary 1962 Pope John XXIII ex-communicated Fidel Castro from the Catholic Church. It seemed fitting, considering the hundreds of Cuban men and boys crumpling to Castro’s firing squads while yelling "Long Live Christ the King!" during their last seconds alive (Fidel, pp. 13, 17).