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Cuba's Past
Tuesday, February 08, 2005   By: Juan Paxety

A mobster writes a book

My first news director taught me to always read the last paragraph of an Associated Press story.  He said that's always where the real story is found, and I've found that to be frequently true.  It's certainly true in an AP story that appears in the Bradenton

The story is from Havana, and it's about a former bodyguard to mobster Meyer Lansky.  He's written a book about the island's past involvement with gambling, casinos and the mob.

 "All is told in the book," former bodyguard Armando Jaime Casielles, now 73, said at the International Book Fair of Havana, which runs through Sunday.

Casielles told his story to a Cuban writer, Enrique Cirules.

"This book recalls a piece of our country's history," said Cirules. "They wanted to convert Havana into a world paradise of gambling, drugs and sex."

Casielles says he traveled with Lansky to other gambling spots across the Caribbean, from Jamaica to Aruba.  He says Lansky once discussed plans to build fifty hotels along the beaches, and he says most would have been casinos.  Lansky's plans were halted when castro's revolution seized Havana in 1959.  fidel seized the hotels and casinos along with everything else. Lansky and the other mobsters left the island, but Casielles stayed.

The last paragraph of the story? It's:

The former bodyguard said he made his decision when the young Castro described the revolution "as a train with many stops where some will get on, and others will get off. I got on board."

Looks to me as though it's a story of a mobster simply getting on board with a new mob boss.



(c)1968- today j.e. simmons or michael warren