When the Mob Ruled Havana

When the Mob Ruled Havana
Photo/AP Photo
Cool, calculating and confident Meyer Lansky ran the American mob in Cuba during the days before Fidel Castro.
The true story of how gangsters sliced up Cuba and created an illicit playground
In February of 1947, Frank Sinatra arrived in Havana, Cuba, holding a suitcase filled with $2 million in cash. He was flanked by two mobsters from Chicago, the Fischetti brothers, Rocco and Charlie. The brothers were cousins of Al Capone, with long-standing reputations in the businesses of illegal gambling and killing. As bodyguards they were second to none—tough, loyal and connected at the highest levels of the Mob, which, at the time, was more robust and powerful than it had been since the glory days of Prohibition. Sinatra knew all this. As a fellow traveler of the Mob since his childhood in Hoboken, where the bent-nose “cafones” and aspiring wiseguys were a vibrant …
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