What to Know
- Fidel Castro's alleged former lover described Castro as “very into himself, narcissistic.”
- She said she was recruited by the CIA to work as a spy in New York.
- She claims to have met Lee Harvey Oswald in Miami shortly before the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Marita Lorenz was just 19 when she met and fell in love with Fidel Castro.
It was February 27, 1959. The Cuban revolution had just taken over. She sailed into Havana Harbor aboard the German ship her father captained.
“I didn’t even know he was in power. He could have been a mechanic somewhere,” she said. “I fell for him hook, line and sinker.”
Almost six decades later, Fidel Castro's former lover lives in an assisted living facility in New York City, yet can recount her story of love and lies in full detail.
She’s German American and is not fluent in Spanish. But she says she picked up a few words because of her time with Castro.
She says Castro came aboard her father’s ship looking for her dad. But she says her father was napping, so she greeted Castro and the others.
“I told Fidel, ‘Okay, you can come on board on the steps outside of the ship and he just looked at me,” she recalled. “He was the tallest of them and I said, ‘Put your guns off, no guns. This is Germany.” She says his response, “But I am Cuba.”
She says after meeting him, she returned home to New York but got a call that he wanted her by his side. So, she returned to Havana and stayed with him for eight and a half months living in the Havana Hilton Hotel, renamed the Havana Libre after Castro took power and turned it into his headquarters. She says it was there in Room 2408 that their love affair began.
Lorenz, 79, describes Castro as “very into himself, narcissistic.” She concedes she was “very submissive and stupid in staying there waiting for him and believing him.”
Lorenz says she soon became pregnant with Castro’s child, but says it didn’t end well. Over the years, she’s given conflicting versions of what happened to her pregnancy. She told NBC 6 that the last thing she remembers is being given a glass of milk to drink at eight months pregnant.
“I was totally out of it. Drugged,” she said. “I woke up in a room with lights like that, and in severe pain, and that’s all I remember. I don’t know if the baby died or lived.”
Lorenz says she was sent back to the U.S. bleeding from the procedure performed on her in Havana. She says she was admitted to Roosevelt Hospital. And it’s there she says she went from lover to spy.
“They (the CIA) recruited me right in the hospital in New York,” she said. “They had my signature. They said, ‘Now you work for us. They used very clever words. They used ‘neutralize.’ They used ‘put him to sleep’ and they said, if I could do that, they said, I could be a hero for the American people.”
Soon after being released from the hospital, Lorenz says she took poisoned pills provided by the CIA and returned to the Havana Libre.
“I laid down on the bed again beside him and he said, ‘Did you come to do me harm?’ And I said, ‘I came to kill you.”
But Lorenz says her love for Castro didn't allow her to carry out the mission.
She says she put the pills in a jar of cold cream. Later, she flushed the pills down the toilet.
She admits she failed to take the opportunity to change the course of history and the lives of generations of Cubans.
“I’m very sad that I wasn’t the person they wanted me to be. The robot that kills,” she said.
After the failed assassination attempt, Lorenz left Cuba again. She says she continued working for the U.S. government and anti-Castro groups, some of which were backed by the ousted Venezuelan General, Marcos Perez-Jimenez.
Lorenz once again became the lover of a dictator--this time bearing a child she named Monica Perez-Jimenez.
In the midst of the Cold War, Lorenz was linked to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
She claims to have met Lee Harvey Oswald in Miami shortly before the killing. She says Oswald was involved with organized crime.
She testified before the Warren Commission but U.S. officials concluded that she was an “unreliable source.”
She still bristles at being discounted.
“That’s their problem because everything checked out,” she said. “That was probably because they eliminated 36 pages because I named names.”
After living in Miami for a brief time, Lorenz returned to New York. There she had a son and worked as an FBI agent for several decades before retiring. She has written a book, The Spy Who Loved Castro, documenting her adventurous years.
Lorenz says she was saddened when she learned of Castro’s death but says it “was time to go.”
As for the twists and turns her life took, she says she has paid a price.
“Loneliness. I think loneliness with each event and a little guilt,” she said. “But I also had a lot of fun.”