Fabio Di Celmo: Guilty for loving Cuba?

By Pedro Antonio Garcia, Sept. 4, 2015 (Granma International)

The young Italian was a victim during a series of terrorist attacks on Havana in 1997, orchestrated from the United States

 On Thursday, September 4 1997, 32 year old Fabio Di Celmo from Italy had a business meeting scheduled for 9.00 am in Old Havana. Delayed due to traffic, he cancelled the meeting and instead headed for the Hotel Copacabana, where his father, Giustino, was staying.

From there he called two of his childhood friends, Enrico Gallo and Francesca Argeli, who were in Cuba on their honeymoon, on Fabio’s suggestion.

Giustino, who was in the room, overheard his son arrange to meet the two friends in the lobby bar of the hotel in order to decide where to go for a farewell lunch before they returned to Italy that afternoon. At midday Fabio set off to meet them, the last time his father saw him alive.

Meanwhile, Salvadoran mercenary Ernesto Cruz León, contracted by the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, was preparing to activate a powerful bomb in a toilet of the hotel.

Fabio arrived at the lobby bar to find his friends waiting for him. As hotel guests began to fill the area, Cruz León placed the bomb in one of the ashtrays of the lobby.

Giustino heard the explosion from his room. A few minutes later the reception called his room to inform him that his son had been seriously injured and was being taken to the Cira García Central Clinic, together with the honeymooners, who had escaped injury.

Giustino headed straightaway for the hospital. On arrival, he was informed that his son was dead.


Fabio Di Celmo was born in Genoa, Italy, on June 1, 1965. His friends remember him as kind and friendly. Simone Riveruzzo, who played on the same football team as Fabio recalls, “He wasn’t a man of many words, but he was always up for a laugh and a joke…He often enthusiastically told us about his trips to Cuba. He loved the country and its people, he dreamt of taking us to the island one day.”

Fabio loved football, which he began playing aged 7. He played in the Libertas team and others in the Genoa area, but his high point was with Sciarborasca, the last team he played for.


 On being detained by Cuban authorities, Cruz León revealed his links to Luis Posada Carriles, which came as no surprise to anyone. The renowned terrorist had once declared, “I am fully responsible for any act on Cuban territory against the regime in Havana.” A reporter asked him shortly after the bombing if he regretted Fabio Di Celmo’s death, to which Carriles replied, “It’s sad that someone has died, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Fabio’s gravestone in the cemetery of Arenzano, Genoa, states clearly: “On September 4, 1997, a deadly bomb detonated by a Salvadoran mercenary took the life of the young Fabio Di Celmo.” Initially, the gravestone read “a deadly American bomb,” but Italian authorities demanded that the adjective was omitted.