OPINION

Rick Sanchez: A Killing With Ties To Havana

Fidel Castro meets with intellectuals and writers at the International Book Fair in Havana, Cuba, on Feb. 10, 2012.

Fidel Castro meets with intellectuals and writers at the International Book Fair in Havana, Cuba, on Feb. 10, 2012.  (AP)

South Florida is abuzz over the latest suspense film, a movie with a thick plot about Cuban government corruption including a cold-blooded murder, a Cuban spy, a famous young woman with harsh opinions, and her construction manager husband with secrets he took to his grave —until now.

Your typical Cuban grandparents could predict the end of the movie before it started — “it was Castro” they would say. Cuban elders, proud and continually indignant, are often accused by their sons and daughters of seeing Castro plots and Castro spies even where there are none. But this time, they just may be right.  

A young beautiful bride, a defector with state secrets, a killer spy and an unsolved murder — it’s an "only in Miami story" told by elders who, this time, may have gotten it right.   

- Rick Sanchez

The biggest plot twist is that this isn't a movie, it's not a suspense genre box office film or the pilot for an HBO mini series. Juan Tamayo of the Miami Herald reported on this real-life story earlier this week.

He brought Miami back to 1995, when a Coral Gables couple was shot execution-style near the wife's work. Nineteen years ago, focus was on Lilian Rosa Morales, the wife. She was young, flashy and and married to an older man. She was a controversial radio personality who had run afoul of the powerful exile community. She must have been the killer’s target. It’s what everyone seemed to think, until now.

Tamayo firmly places the focus on Morales’ husband, Manuel Ramirez. Why? Turns out he used to be Fidel Castro’s trusted builder. Military installations, laboratories, even Castro’s bunker was built by him. But there was something else, yet another secret; an even more valuable asset to Castro’s enemies.
 
Manuel Ramirez’s secret was about chemical weapons. He was the construction manager for the Cuban government’s key project — the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Havana. Just as Ramirez’s relationship with Fidel Castro began to sour, he was apparently smuggled into the U.S. as part of a clandestine CIA plan.

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Cuban-American and then-U.S. House Representative Bob Menendez organized a congressional hearing on Cuban bioweapons. Ramirez was to testify, and he did so. He held that Castro was "capable of producing a holocaust." By this point, moviegoers should be on the edge of their seat.

Two weeks after testifying, Ramirez and Morales were whacked. In a violent city during  a violent time, it became just another double murder, until now. Tamayo now writes of a killer nicknamed ‘Indio’ who was paid thousands and ordered by Havana to assassinate Ramirez, whose wife became collateral damage.  

A young beautiful bride, a defector with state secrets, a killer spy and an unsolved murder — it’s an "only in Miami story" told by elders who, this time, may have gotten it right.   

While this movie may not have had the ending that many of the older Cubans would have hoped for, they were definitely expecting it after decades of preaching Castro's corruption. We definitely learned something about the Cuban government and about life in general: listen to your elders, they're wiser than you might think.

Rick Sanchez is a contributor for Fox News Latino.

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