Pedro Luis Díaz Lanz
| Pedro Luis Díaz Lanz |
|Born||July 8, 1926|
|Died||June 26, 2008 (Age 81)|
Cause of death
|Member of||Operation 40|
Operation 40 pilot
Pedro Luis Díaz Lanz was a Cuban pilot who was sacked by Fidel Castro after voicing opposition to communism. He joined Operation 40.
In 1957, Pedro Díaz Lanz joined Fidel Castro's rebel group in Santiago, Cuba. He was employed as a commercial pilot with the airline Aerovías Q. He later acted as head of the Revolutionary Air Force, and during 1958 he smuggled weapons and ammunition from Costa Rica and Florida into Cuba by air.
Time reported in 1959: "One of the authentic heroes of the Castro rebellion was a beardless, unostentatious young flyer named Pedro Luis Diaz Lanz. He flew weapons from the U.S. to Fidel Castro, took Manuel Urrutia, the man who later became Cuba's President, into the Sierra Maestra, served after the rebellion as Castro's personal pilot. Just five days after victory, Castro appointed Diaz Lanz to command the Cuban air force."
After the Cuban Revolution on 1 January 1959, he was confirmed as head of the new Revolutionary Air Force as well as Castro's personal pilot.
Within months, he became vocal about his opposition to the influence of communists on the new revolutionary government. On 29 June 1959, Fidel Castro relieved him of his post, and he left immediately by boat to Florida, with his second wife and 3 of his six children, and reportedly with Frank Sturgis, a fellow anti-communist.
He was a member of Operation 40, the CIA's hit squad widely fingered for the JFK assassination. Other than his membership of Operation 40, he is however not known to have had any connection with the JFK assassination.
Díaz reportedly committed suicide at the age of 81 in 2008 after years of poverty and depression with a gunshot wound to the chest.