Inside Look Into ABC Reporter’s Torrid Affair With Fidel Castro

Nick Givas | Media And Politics Reporter

Politico published an article Friday detailing an ABC News correspondent’s romantic affair with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

Lisa Howard romantically connected with Castro during a rendezvous at the Hotel Riviera back in 1964, Politico claims.

“Finally alone with her, Castro slipped his arms around the American journalist, and the two lay on the bed, where, as Howard recalled in her diary, Castro ‘kissed and caressed me … expertly with restrained passion,'” the article reads.

“He talked on about wanting to have me,” Howard wrote but “would not undress or go all the way.” Howard felt their professional relationship would be destroyed if they slept together so she decided against it. Castro remained confident “that it would come naturally,” according to Politico.

Howard became became Castro’s top American confidant and began secretly relaying messages from Cuba’s regime to the White House and back again, Politico reported. She heavily sympathized with Castro and tried to convince America he was not a threat to the U.S.

Castro and Howard managed to keep the affair secret until their deaths; but after the release of declassified documents and the discovery of Howard’s diaries and letters — the secret’s out.

After scoring an interview with Castro, Howard received a bouquet of flowers from the Cuban dictator. She sent Castro a letter in return, saying, “I wanted to give you something to express my gratitude for the time you granted me; for the interview; for the beautiful flowers. I have decided to give you the most valuable possession I have to offer. Namely: my faith in your honor. My faith in the form of a letter, which, if revealed, could destroy me in the United States,” Politico reported.

Howard called the letter “a tribute, a poem to you — the man.”

“I do not want you destroyed. … You possess what George Bernard Shaw called ‘that spark of divine fire,'” Howard wrote. “You are not the ruthless, cynical tyrant [your critics] have depicted. … I do not believe you have meant to hurt people, though, in all candor, I am both saddened and outraged that you have destroyed thousands and harmed many more without just cause.”

Howard praised Castro for his “humanity,” “compassion,” and “deep knowledge and sense of justice.” Castro had a “genuine concern for the poor; the sick; the oppressed; the defenseless; the lost” and “the despairing,” she also thought.

“I feel deeply that you must be permitted to play out your role,” Howard wrote. “I am going to talk to certain people when I return to the States.”

“I do not overestimate my influence. But I shall try to help,” she added.

“Perhaps we shall never see one another again,” the love letter concluded. “But I shall treasure with all my heart for as long as I live my trip to Cuba in April of 1963 and my meetings with you, my dearest Fidel.”

At one point, after JFK’s assassination, Howard met Castro in her hotel room and offered to “slip into something more comfortable.” Castro tried to keep her clothed and liked her in the dress she had on, he said. When she disobeyed him and changed anyway, he blew up.

“You don’t understand me,” Castro complained. “You just want to do what you want to do. Why can’t you treat me like a man?”

“What do you want, Lisa? Do you want my body?” He asked her. Howard revealed they finally had sex and called it “thrilling and ecstatic.”

“We did get to bed, and he made love to me quite expertly and it was, of course, thrilling and ecstatic — as much as anything I have ever experienced,” she wrote.

“Lisa, you are not simple,” he told her before he left. “With you and me, it is not simple. But that is more interesting.”

After being fired from ABC in late 1964 for taking a politically charged stance against Robert Kennedy’s Senate bid, Howard was unable to find employment at another network, according to Politico. Howard had been marked as “lousy,” an ABC executive said.

In the spring of 1965 Howard suffered a miscarriage and altered a prescription for 10 barbiturates to obtain a bottle of 100 pills. She consumed them all in a parking lot and died of an overdose. She was only 39-years-old.

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