French TV Mocks Raul Castro’s Grandson/Bodyguard

and Cuba’s Official Press in Paris

By Ivette Leyva Martinez  (Café Fuerte)

Raul Castro, tailed by his grandson and bodyguard during an official ceremony in Paris.
Raul Castro, tailed by his grandson and bodyguard during an official ceremony in Paris.

HAVANA TIMES — The clumsiness of Raul Castro’s grandson and chief escort during the leader’s recent official visit to France did not go unnoticed by the French press.

Yann Barthes, host of the French television program Le Petit Journal de Canal + since 2004, dedicated a broad segment of the show aired Wednesday to the visit of 84-year-old Castro, whom he described as “our favorite dictator.” The Cuban president returned to Havana on the afternoon of Wednesday.

Barthes and his crew focused on the work of Raul Guillermo Rodriguez Castro, alias “El Cangrejo” (“The Crab”). In his lampoon show, Barthes referred to the bodyguard ironically as “Raulito” and described him as a “disturbing element,” suggesting he learn “good manners and etiquette,” either separately or simultaneously.

Raul Guillermo Rodriguez Castro is the son of Deborah Castro Espin and Brigadier General Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez Callejas, who for decades was in charge of military businesses.

The show aired images illustrating the bodyguard’s numerous clumsy actions.

Raulito’s Meddling

Hours after arriving in France, on Monday, February 1, while Raul Castro walked next to his host, President Francois Hollande and Segolene Royal, member of the socialist party and minister for the environment, “Raulito” stepped in between Royal and his grandfather, zigzagging his way between the two during the ceremonial inspection of the troops.

On a different occasion, inside the Élysée Palace, after President Hollande concluded a press conference, “Raulito” refused to leave his grandfather’s side, even when the latter went to sit next to Hollande during the State dinner offered him.

During the signing of bilateral agreements, the bodyguard almost stumbled onto the French president.

Something similar occurred during an official photograph and handshake with Hollande: “Raulito” remained so close to the French president and his grandfather that the professional photographers set up to take the picture asked him to move away.

At the Matignon Palace, where Raul Castro was received by First Minister Manuel Valls, a similar scene unfolded on the steps of the palace, when the bodyguard’s proximity to the leader delayed the official photo for a number of seconds.

Hollande Calls a Halt

At the headquarters of the French National Assembly, when Castro was received by parliamentary president Claude Bartolone, the leader’s grandson and bodyguard did another number, disobeying an order from the republican guard who asked him to stop. “The Crab” went behind the guard’s back, hastened his pace to a near-trot and proceeded to head up the steps next to his grandfather.

In footage captured by Reuters, we can clearly see the moment in which the bodyguard approaches Hollande and Castro, almost trotting, and the French president turns around, asking him to stop with a hand gesture. This episode was edited out of the coverage showing the two leaders enter the Élysée Palace, aired by Cuba’s national TV news.

This was the only occasion in which “The Crab” obeyed his hosts and, not knowing what to do with himself, stood to the right of the palace guards.

According to Barthes, the bodyguard’s meddling forced Hollande to act like a member of the security services.

The numerous incidents led the Canal + host to the same conclusion many of us reached: that “Raulito” doesn’t give a damn about French protocol.

Misrepresentation and Treatment of the Press

Other curious details of Castro’s visit weren’t lost on the observant journalists of Canal +. For instance, after reporter Hugo Clement asked Castro, out on the street and in a loud tone of voice, when Cubans would be allowed to hold free elections, he began to be closely followed by Cuba’s security apparatus.

The journalist taped the security agent who was filming him from inside the Paris City Hall and noted how one of Castro’s alleged official photographers was in fact a member of his protective detail. This same individual kept Clement from joining the rest of the press during part of the visit.

Canal + also took note of a deliberate act of misrepresentation by Cuban television.

In a report by Boris Fuentes, aired by Cuban television on January 29, several people were interviewed on Paris’ renowned Champs Elysees avenue. The report included declarations from two sympathizers of the Castro regime, as though interviewed in the same location. Canal + identified them as members of a pro-Cuba organization.

The interview was actually filmed near the Cuban embassy and not the Champs Elysees, as the report claimed.

Two of the sympathizers interviewed were seen in the front row during official functions with the Cuban delegation held at Paris city hall and were confronted by Clement.

28 thoughts on “French TV Mocks Raul Castro’s Grandson/Bodyguard

  • October 21, 2016 at 8:55 am

    Well that’s just a mess of a comment. Why are you still here? We all laughed at the Cuban embarrassment and moved on. You should do the same.

  • October 20, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Whatever, what matters is results, Kennedy is dead and Reagan was shot, the Castros are alive.

  • September 23, 2016 at 8:28 am

    When French television pays attention to security guards and practically causes an international incident, you have to know you’re a bumbling mess. It’s just embarrassing. If the lack of an assassination is all you can say about the job being done, you really don’t have a leg to stand on.

    Also, this story was from 8 months ago. Most people laughed and rolled their eyes at the time, but have completely forgotten by now. What are you even doing here? Thanks for the reminder, though. Good times.

  • September 23, 2016 at 12:35 am

    Jealous? Of him? Hahahahaha!

  • September 22, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    Only a narcissistic masochist could envy any member of the Castro family. Donald Trump?

  • September 22, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    and you feel jealous, lol

  • September 22, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    He worked for Castro earlier, lol

  • September 22, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Right, whatever garbage you say, but nobody has been able to assassinate them. Great security.

  • September 22, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Yeap, but nobody has been able to assassinate them. Great security.

  • February 11, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Phil Donahue is still free to speak his mind. His former corporate sponsors are not obligated to pay for his tv show. That’s how freedom of speech works.

  • February 8, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    The CastroNostra mafia family does not have any class at all. They are hated so much in Cuba that he only trusts remember of his own mafia family

  • February 7, 2016 at 9:32 am

    It was a Castro family job security program to keep this dunce employed

  • February 7, 2016 at 1:27 am

    How could you possibly know this.

  • February 6, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    Your comment belongs in another time and another country. You would fit right in in North Korea. Jus’ sayin’…..

  • February 6, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    He went to school with my wife. Everyone who knows him, knows where he went to be trained. He is (was) somewhat of a spoiled brat as a youth. He made it very clear to people everywhere he went that he was Cuban royalty. He cares about how he looks in the media.

  • February 6, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Speaking of things normal citizens can’t afford, what are your thoughts on a murderer like Raul Castro owning that kind of wardrobe and visiting a country like France? What a clown.

  • February 6, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Cuba needs to move into the 21st century, where experienced, professional bodyguards would work with the personnel of the country they are visiting. Seems like the guy was more nuisance than anything, with the French having to swat him like a fly when he bothered them.

    You’d think a Cuban politician would understand the value of a state photo (more propaganda!) and would tell his grandson to cool it, but I’d never accuse a Cuban politician of being worldly or sophisticated, so I guess it makes sense.

  • February 6, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    People like Raul Castro do not get invitations to major player countries like France every day, and his grandson pretty much was an embarrassment. Don’t know why you feel the need to excuse such boorish and unprofessional behavior.

  • February 6, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    What a load of nonsense.

  • February 6, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    The arrogance is yours. How do you know who trained him. Maybe he does not care about looking good to the media

  • February 6, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Your idea that their is such a thing as free speech is a joke. There is no such thing. As soon as you pose a threat to the corporations they will shut you down. Look at what happened to Phil Dona over the gulf war. And what does media give us? War, violence and sex. Yes government should control more over the media. Like Cuba for sure. And media should not insult guests to the country, for what? Because he is good bodyguard and not care about “protocol” ,a bourgeois idea anyway.

  • February 6, 2016 at 11:12 am

    He is no kid. He’s over 30 years old. He has been trained by his Grandfather’s Russian pimps. He should have known better. His arrogance overrode his judgment.

  • February 6, 2016 at 11:09 am

    Wow! Really? Arrested for insulting someone. Where are you from originally. I only ask because we have this thing in modern democracies called ‘free speech’ that makes your suggestions against the law.

  • February 6, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Why all the bourgeoisie behavior by the French with fancy guards and cloth and fancy dinner that regular French can’t afford. No wonder there is terrorism there. If I was bodyguard I would have stayed closer. Cuba not need these countries. Keep away from capitalism it only creates slaves and the bourgeoise in capitalist countries only insult and try to get ahead by stepping on others. They should not have allowed that news station to make fun of their Cuban guest. They should be arrested for insulting their Cuban state visitors

  • February 6, 2016 at 8:53 am

    “Clumsy” in diplomatic situations in a rare state visit is easier to excuse in an isolated small island nation.

    Making fun of the kid? There is no excuse.

  • February 6, 2016 at 7:13 am

    How not to pick the brightest and best for this show. I mean a very big event and this is what Castro has to offer. Great article!

  • February 5, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    While he has a right to protect his grandfather, did he have to be so clumsy about it. In Cuba, it is well known that he is not the brightest bulb in the bunch. They call him Cangrejo because as a kid he always had a red face from getting to much sun.

  • February 5, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Why upset that the bodyguard was keeping Castro safe in the center of a capitalist state where terrorism recently happened. He was well trained and thats what he does. These arrogant french with the very nice manner think that They are better than everyone else. Cuban’s are busy taking care of each other and not eating oysters and caviar but still have nice manners also. Cuba is also been under threat from outside for a very long time and that is why they do not trust outsiders. I am not surprised that they interview French people who support Cuba.
    Thank you

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