Pedro Luis Díaz Lanz
Life in Cuba
In 1957, Pedro Díaz Lanz joined Fidel Castro's rebel group in Santiago, Cuba. He was employed as a commercial pilot with the airline Aerovías Q. He later acted as head of the Revolutionary Air Force, and during 1958 he smuggled weapons and ammunition from Costa Rica and Florida into Cuba by air.
After the Cuban Revolution on 1 January 1959, he was confirmed as head of the new Revolutionary Air Force as well as Castro's personal pilot. Within months, he became vocal about his opposition to the influence of communists on the new revolutionary government. On 29 June 1959, Fidel Castro relieved him of his post, and he left immediately by boat for Florida with his second wife and 3 of his six children, and reportedly with Frank Sturgis, a fellow anti-communist.
Life after Cuba
On 14 July 1959, Díaz was interviewed by the US Senate Internal Security subcommittee, where he gave out the first account of Fidel's planned move towards communism.
On 21 October 1959, one of his most notorious actions was flying a twin-engined bomber (variously reported as a B-25 or B-26) over Havana while dropping anti-communist leaflets, along with his brother Marcos Diaz Lanz. Pedro Diaz Lanz piloted and Marcos Diaz Lanz threw the leaflets down from an open bomb hatch. The unsuccessful gunfire from armed forces on the ground caused injuries and deaths, leading to unsubstantiated reports of bombs being dropped from the aircraft.
By April 1960, he was recruited by the CIA and became a member of Operation 40, a group of CIA operatives who specialized in carrying out secret anti-Castro assassinations and acts of sabotage. Then on May 27 of 1960, the Miami Herald published a list of names of pilots who were placed on a U.S. Government 'Blacklist' thereby prohibiting them from flying to Cuba; on that list was Pedro Luis Diaz Lanz.
Díaz committed suicide with a gunshot wound to the chest in 2008 at the age of 81 after years of poverty and depression.
- Thomas, Hugh. 1971, 1986. The Cuban Revolution. Weidenfeld and Nicolson. London. (Shortened version of Cuba: The Pursuit of Freedom, includes all history 1952-1970) ISBN 0-297-78954-6
- Szulc, Tad. 1986. Fidel - A Critical Portrait. Hutchinson. ISBN 0-09-172602-6
- El Nuevo Herald (2008)