April 27, 1999
Fidel Castro's bodyguard flown to United States

                  SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) -- A top bodyguard for
                  Cuba's Fidel Castro who defected April 17 at the U.S. Embassy in Santo
                  Domingo has been flown to the United States, a U.S. official confirmed

                  The bodyguard was flown to Miami Friday, and then on to an unknown
                  destination, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

                  U.S. State Department sources have identified the defector as Capt. Lazaro
                  de Betancourt, second-in-command in the security team that guards the
                  Cuban leader.

                  De Betancourt appeared without warning at the U.S. Embassy during a
                  Santo Domingo meeting of Latin American and Caribbean leaders and
                  asked to defect. He is the first known member of Castro's security team to
                  defect in 40 years.

                  The bodyguard was flown to the United States on a civilian airplane despite
                  speculation he might leave with U.S. military officials visiting Santo Domingo
                  to inspect hurricane repairs, the U.S. official said.

                  The defection came a year after Cuba and the Dominican Republic restored
                  diplomatic ties. In August, Castro made his first visit to the neighboring
                  country since coming to power in 1959.

                    Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.