Monday, November 20, 2006

The Mafia in Cuba (1902-1958)



During the time I was working at the port of Nuevitas, almost four decades ago, I knew of an old ship, “Liberty” from the Pacific Line, which made continuous trips to the Far East. On the boat there was a Hindu purser; a quiet man, wearing a white turban, with a long beard. As soon as the ship concluded the dockage maneuvers he penetrated that labyrinth of bars and brothels that proliferated in the area.

The most unusual revelations may occur in a port. This legendary individual was a close friend of two brothers who ran the most important shipping agency of the area, and who were in charge of the traffic of the García Line ships toward the ports of the Gulf. They were famous for their extravagances: the latest Buick, the most beautiful women. The elder brother used to go to the town movies every time a gangster film was shown, and hidden in the darkness of the room, he used to masturbate his wife and add the most delirious substances to the Matusalén rum.

The truth is that the bartender who worked at one of the bars of the port made twenty-five pesos monthly, plus lunch or dinner. The brothers offered him a payed round-trip ticket, to make a one-day journey to Havana on the express, and thirty pesos reward in exchange for taking some presents with him.

History of Mafia in cuba

Lucky Luciano chose Cuba as the intermediate point between the heroin supplies and the consuming markets of North America. And the representative in Havana was the Corsican Amleto Battisti y Lora. In the prologue to the book “The New Era”, where Battisti theorizes about the economic strategy of his time, the journalist Fernando de la Milla assures that Don Amleto is a man:

Tall, thin, slender, of an elaborated elegance out of sobriety, with a single ring in his finger, never wearing a pin in the necktie, not even a watch in his wrist; Amleto Battisti, a slow talker, a cunning listener, with his shining bald head like a waxing moon, he looks like a young French minister of Foreign Affairs or an immaculate Bergson-like lecturer, the favorite of the feminine audience. The suggestive image of his figure could be multiplied into atmospheres of courtesy, diplomacy, select halls, artistic circles, refinement, etc. But the comparative imagination fails in the attempt to associate the man to his specific activity.

I mean, in sum, that Amleto Battisti physically seems everything that he is not: a businessman. Neither his Gallic-drawing silhouette, nor the attention he pays when he listens, nor his imperturbable serenity, nor the slightest gesture, nor his voice in permanent damper can suggest no one what his mind is made of: numbers, possibilities and risks, losses and gains.

The Characters

The Jew Meyer Lansky, founder and leader of the Empire of Havana, architect of the political relations between general Batista and the North American Mafia, from 1934, with his secret passions and revelations, which include the coup d'etat that took general Batista to the presidential chair in March of 1952.

Meyer Lansky organized a colossal empire in Havana, which included the most important world-wide center at that time, for the laundering of illegal money from the United States; the processing of the diamonds and gold comming from the United States contraband; and a network of luxurious casinos, famous hotels, cabarets and restaurants; with a connection between the finances and criminal activities; but mainly, the juicy business of cocaine in Havana, which was directed also to the corruption of the North American society, in the succulent metropolis North Americans tourists liked to visit. Many of these tourists were brought to Havana as guests; they came with all expenses covered: transportation, hotels, meals and beverage, invited by some celebrity or star to enjoy great parties. That was the main use of Havana for George Raft, who used to bring guests to Capri Hotel to offer them cocaine, sex, and gambling. Everything organized and controlled.

The Places

It is said that Al Capone sent a greeting to his friend Lucky: although he had come out of jail, he could not attend the meeting, because he was dying of brain syphilis in one of his mansions in Palm Beach.

In addition, Carlos Marcello, from New Orleans, Steve Magaddino in representation of the families of Buffalo, old Santo Trafficante, from Florida; all of them came to Cuba. The Mafia made the arrangements to make the National Hotel the most quiet spot of the world. The first floor was prepared for business meetings. At night, the most charming parties were offered, with the most refined details. The National, at night, was meant to be all peace, relaxation; with women selected from Tropicana, Montmartre and Sans Souci, or from the exciting Houses of Marina.

Cuban Mafia Galleria


JG: With the triumph of Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution, the Mafia had to high-tail it to Miami, where they still reside, hoping that U.S. Marines will restore them to power in Havana some day, to once again exploit the Cuban people.

1 comment:

Frank said...

Not only Cuba...but all of Latin fact it seems the MOBs want to control the entire Earth ! God Bless Us All !!