Cuban guerrilla hero and Castro confidant dies
HAVANA (Reuters) -- Cuban revolutionary hero Jesus Montane, a close
confidant of President Fidel Castro from the early days of his armed
struggle, died on Friday from severe respiratory problems. He was 76.
"His loyalty was proved throughout 50 years of outstanding and
uninterrupted revolutionary labour," state news agency AIN said in one of
many official tributes to Montane.
Montane, who rose to become one of Castro's top personal aides, had
worked beside the veteran communist leader since the 1950s when the
revolutionaries first plotted to seize power from dictator Fulgencio Batista.
He accompanied Castro on the doomed July 26, 1953, assault of the
Moncada military barracks, which launched an armed rebellion that
eventually led to the 1959 Cuban Revolution.
Both men were jailed for several years after the Moncada attack. Upon
release, they fled for Mexico where they planned the invasion of Cuba in late
1956 to start a guerrilla war that overthrew Batista on Jan. 1, 1959.
After Castro took power, Montane held positions in the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Cuba and the leadership of the ruling Communist Party.
His funeral was set for Saturday.