Despite pressure by the U.S. government, President Ramón Grau San Martín would not give in. He finally did so when Washington interrupted the shipment of medicines to Cuba.
At that time, Lucky Luciano, the tsar of all offenders, had been respectfully arrested by Cuban police and taken to the Tiscornia Station, where a repatriation file had been opened.
The process that started once U.S. authorities discovered that the boss of all crime bosses was in the Cuban capital was thus drawing to a close.
Luciano had made inexcusable mistakes here for a man of his standing. Enthralled by a young U.S. girl he had met in Havana by chance, they were seen together in public and even had their photographs taken.
Luciano felt pretty safe in Cuba because he had friends; but he had bitter enemies as well.
The Cuban press soon realized who the rich, kind and generous man who had entered the country with a legal passport and a visa stamped by the Cuban consulate in Rome.
By then, the U.S. Narcotics Agency knew everything it needed to about Luciano’s connections on the island and suggested to the Grau government that they send him back to Italy.
Grau said there were no reasons to expel a legally documented and peaceful man. But the United States would not give up to its objective.
The Narcotics Agency turned to President Truman for support, whilst the U.S. Departments of State and the Treasury contemporaneously applied pressure on Havana.
Luciano had arrived in Cuba towards the end of September 1946: the palm trees reminded him of Miami and the blue sea of Naples.
«But I was 90 miles only from the United States, meaning that I was back in America» he says in his memoirs.
He had come with one pressing and specific goal in mind: to prop up his mpire as it was losing ground in the face of Vito Genovese’s determination. Once released from jail, Luciano had been repatriated to Italy.
He had cleared the way from afar for Genovese’s plans in New York and California.
Buggy Siegel was openly betraying him. A call to order was urgently required and the heads of the main families needed to meet to discuss spheres of influence, territorial issues, drug trafficking and the opening of the Las Vegas empire.
Havana was the perfect city for the meeting, being a mid point for trafficking heroin into the United States at the time.
Convened for November 22, 1946 at the Hotel Nacional, the meeting ran until November 26 and was attended by the most notorious crime lords of the day.
Frank Sinatra provided the entertainment. The sessions closed and participants departed as secretly as they had arrived.
But Luciano would stay in Havana. He felt untouchable and indifferent to U.S. Narcotics Agency agents who had him under observation.
On February 23, 1947, as Luciano was having lunch, an officer of the Secret Police asked him to go with him. The capo of all capos never lost his composure.
He bid an amicable farewell to his Cuban bodyguards and got into to a car with official number plates.
He was facing no charges other than the repatriation order issued by Washington, which the government of President Grau were obliged comply with.
Once at the Tiscornia Station, he told his right hand man Meyer Lansky, his concern for the syndicate members who were still in Cuba.
But none of them were ever bothered.The U.S. shipments of medicine were resumed and drug trafficking would continue its unstoppable course.
On March 29, 1947, Charlie ¨Lucky¨ Luciano was heading for Italy in a luxurious cabin, aboard the Turkish ship Bakir.Share on FB Share on TT