Andrés Nazario Sargén

Diehard opponent of Fidel Castro

Andrés Nazario was one of the founders of Alpha 66, a Miami-based paramilitary organisation dedicated to the overthrow of President Fidel Castro of Cuba, which recruited many of its members from among veterans of the disastrous CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. Despite innumerable setbacks, Nazario never gave up hope of removing Castro, even when many of his erstwhile allies deserted him and the world moved on.

Andrés Nazario Sargén, politician: born Zaza del Medio, Cuba 1916; married (one son, one daughter); died Miami, Florida 6 October 2004.

Andrés Nazario was one of the founders of Alpha 66, a Miami-based paramilitary organisation dedicated to the overthrow of President Fidel Castro of Cuba, which recruited many of its members from among veterans of the disastrous CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. Despite innumerable setbacks, Nazario never gave up hope of removing Castro, even when many of his erstwhile allies deserted him and the world moved on.

Nazario, who was born in 1916, was active in the violent, chaotic party politics of pre- revolutionary Cuba, and took up arms against the dictator Fulgencio Batista after he seized power in 1952. As a member of Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo's Second Front, Nazario fought in the Escambray mountains, in central Cuba, while Fidel Castro's 26th July Movement operated in the Sierra Maestra, further to the east.

After Castro's victorious entry into Havana on New Year's Day 1959, Gutiérrez Menoyo's band gave grudging support to the new government, but they soon parted company with Castro as his politics moved steadily to the left. In 1961 Gutiérrez Menoyo and Nazario joined the growing exodus of middle-class Cubans, known derisively to the government as gusanos (worms), who left the island to settle in south Florida.

In Miami, the two men joined up with like-minded fellow exiles to form Alpha 66, which took its name from the original number of members. The group was one of several mutually antagonistic fringe organisations that advocated the violent overthrow of the Castro government, and organised both sabotage operations inside Cuba and commando raids on the island's north coast.

Gutiérrez Menoyo was captured during one of these operations in 1964, and spent the next 22 years in one of Castro's prisons. It was during this time that Nazario emerged as the leader of Alpha 66. He claimed that more than 100 of its members were killed in action over the years, or were executed after being captured. But they were never more than a minor nuisance to Castro, who quickly consolidated his grip on power.

Nazario's reputation took a severe knock in 1992, when it emerged that one of his most trusted lieutenants in Alpha 66, Francisco Avila, had been a triple agent for the past 12 years, feeding information on his boss's activities to both Havana and Washington. A number of senior members of Alpha 66 resigned in the ensuing row, but Nazario hung on.

In recent years, the complexion of the huge Cuban community in Miami has changed markedly, with many younger Cuban-Americans favouring some sort of accommodation with Castro's government, and calling for an easing of the US embargo on trade with the island. They came to regard diehards such as Nazario, who were still training in the Everglades for the day when they would be called upon to join a mass uprising in Cuba, as old-fashioned and increasingly irrelevant.

Among those who abandoned Nazario was his old commander in the Escambray, Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo, who now advocates dialogue with the Castro government as the only way forward for Cuba.

Colin Harding

Suggested Topics
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Sport
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Sport
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam