Ballerina plotted with Castro in Panama coup

Ballerina plotted with Castro in Panama coup

Margot Fonteyn

The renowned dancer was arrested by the Panamanian authorities in April 1959 after her husband launched a failed coup attempt using 125 Cuban revolutionaries.

After returning to Britain, Fonteyn confessed to Foreign Office Minister John Profumo she had met Castro and took part in a mission to assemble rebels and weapons at sea for an invasion of Panama, the Daily Mail reported. In a note, Profumo recalled: “Dame Margot assured me that during their visit to Cuba in January, Castro had promised help to her husband in his aims to overthrow the existing regime in Panama.

“She was a bit hazy about the extent of aid offered because, she said, the talks were in Spanish, but she was certain the aid included both arms and men. She affirmed that, even up to a short while ago, Castro was behind this coup. Naturally he now had to disclaim all knowledge. “She said that the Cuban invaders were just soldiers of fortune who were prepared to go to war anywhere they were asked. She gave me to understand that quite a large-scale operation had been planned but that it had gone wrong at the last minute.”

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