Francis Brown, a 68 year-old U.S. citizen (born August 15, 1910), died April 27, 1978 at the General Hospital of Guantanamo, Cuba, after receiving an injection his daughter believes was meant to kill him. That same day, his daughter´s unborn child was reportedly murdered at a Havana Hospital by doctors controlled or employed by Cuba’s State Security.
Brown was a U.S. World War II veteran who had been stationed by the U.S. Navy at its the Naval Base at Guantanamo and had then stayed on as a civilian. When the revolutionary regime came to power in January 1959, he was working as a diver at the base and lived in the Cuban city of Guantanamo with a local woman and their daughter, Miriam.
According to Miriam, when hostilities between the Castro regime and the U.S. government escalated, Brown was alerted of a plot to kill him by the designated killer; purportedly the Castro brothers planned to blame the U.S. government for Brown’s death in order to provoke an open confrontation. To avoid being used as pawn, Brown resigned his job at the base and decided to stay in Cuba until he could get his daughter out.
The Cuban government, seeking an excuse to send him to prison, accused Brown of kidnapping his own daughter. At the time, Miriam was six and had been living with her father and a loving stepmother (her parents had separated), as her mother had not wanted her. Brown was released two months later after protests by many Guantanamo citizens (including loyal regime opponents) -they knew the family well and that the charge was false. But Miriam was forced to go live with her mother, who refused permission for her to emigrate with her father, apparently under government pressure. Brown was allowed to visit his daughter only once a month and always with two Ministry of the Interior guards escorting him and watching his every move.
Brown refused to leave for the U.S. without his daughter. His circumstances made him a serious public relations’ problem for the Castro regime, particularly because he was African-American and Cuba was heavily invested in racially-minded propaganda and efforts worldwide. In March 1977, shortly after taking office, President Jimmy Carter ordered normalization of U.S. relations with Cuba, a move welcomed by the Castro government that led to opening reciprocal Interests Sections and allowing travel by exiles back to Cuba.
Miriam believes this prompted the regime to decide to get rid of “the American” once and for all. State Security agents accosted Brown with threats and he immediately developed physical discomforts, apparently from elevated blood pressure. He went to the emergency room at the Guantánamo General Hospital seeking medical attention. Under watch by State Security officers, he was given an injection that caused him to foam at the mouth almost immediately and die soon thereafter.
He was reportedly buried at the Guantanamo cemetery, but years later, when the family went to exhume the body, his remains were nowhere to be found. On the day of Brown’s death, Miriam, who lived in Havana, alleges that the full-term baby boy she was carrying was deliberately killed and that she was almost killed by doctors at a Havana hospital.
She believes Cuba’s State Security wanted to prevent her from attending her father’s funeral and creating a scene. After her father´s death, she endured years of harassment, threats, and captivity. Once she reached adulthood and was able to emigrate without maternal permission, the Cuban government refused her the authorization to travel. Finally, in late 2009, after threatening a hunger strike, she was allowed to leave for the U.S. and has since settled in Indiana under the U.S. government’s political asylum program.
Even in U.S. soil, she reports continued threats, attacks, and persecution from agents orchestrated by Cuba.