Juan Fangio. The day Fidel Castro’s troops kidnapped him

Jimena Rodriguez

Mexico City / 02.23.2021 18:13:46

This case happened in 1958 within the framework of the Cuban Grand Prix. Although for decades many believed that it was a myth, the Colombian journalist Guillermo Angulo was the one who confirmed the event recently, after remembering that Fidel Castro himself confessed it to Gabriel García Márquez and him.

He was perhaps the most recognized pilot on the planet for his five world titles and two runners-up, so when reports began to circulate that on the night of Sunday, February 23 in Havana, four men took Juan Manuel Fangio hostage, taken from his hotel at gunpoint, the media spotlight turned on the case. Guillermo Angulo thus remembers Fidel’s words of confession

« We did it only once, but not for money but for publicity. Batista ruled and Juan Manuel Fangio had come to compete in the Cuban Grand Prix, which took place on the Malecón. We kidnapped him for propaganda purposes and the government decided that the race was going on anyway. But the global publicity was for us and the kidnapping. After the race we returned him unscathed and had even more publicity. Then Fangio returned to Cuba several times and was always looking for us, « while the Argentine called them his » kidnapping friends.  »

In 1981, the former leader received him on one of his various visits to Cuba and offered him an apology for his abduction. It is worth noting that in testimonies from historical documents surrounding the event, some of his close associates revealed that Fidel did not know about the kidnapping until it was already underway and that he even opposed the act for fear that Fangio would be injured.