Secret papers show ballerina’s role in Panama coup
2010-05-28 0:00

By Sylvia Hui | Guardian.co.uk


Previously secret papers declassified Friday revealed that British ballerina Margot Fonteyn was heavily involved in plotting a coup to overthrow Panama’s government, detailing how her clandestine political activities both exasperated and amused officials on both sides of the Atlantic.

The confidential telegrams and correspondence released by Britain’s national archives pieced together a bizarre and sometimes comic account of the attempted coup in the late 1950s, during which the celebrated dancer and her diplomat husband, Roberto Arias, sought Fidel Castro’s help in a revolution that failed because of a last-minute blunder.

Fonteyn was 39 and an internationally renowned ballerina when she was arrested and briefly detained in a Panama prison on April 20, 1959. A few days earlier she and Arias had set out in a yacht on an apparent fishing holiday, but aiming to gather men and arms for the coup.

The papers showed that British officials in London, as well as diplomats in Panama and New York, scrambled to contain the incident, fearing the plot would threaten British relations with the central American country. But they also documented how the officials thought the events were a kind of "slapdash comedy."

"I had to pinch myself several times during her visit to be sure I wasn’t dreaming the comic opera story which she unfolded," wrote Foreign Office Minister John Profumo in one of the papers as he described a private meeting with Fonteyn shortly after she was released.

Profumo wrote that Fonteyn admitted to him how she and her husband had visited Castro in Cuba and received a pledge of some weapons and men from the leader. "She affirmed that ... Castro was behind this coup. Naturally he now had to disclaim all knowledge," Profumo wrote.

He himself later courted controversy. As a Cabinet minister in 1963, he had a liaison with a prostitute who was disclosed to be linked to a Soviet spy.

British ambassador to Panama Ian Henderson was not impressed by Fonteyn’s behavior and wrote that he hoped she would "keep away from Panama for a very considerable time."

"I do not regard her conduct as fitting in any British subject. ... Her conduct has been highly reprehensible and irresponsible," Henderson wrote in a telegram.

The officials believed that although Fonteyn was "involved in the plot up to her neck," she was an amateur revolutionary who viewed the whole situation in a "charmingly lighthearted way."

Profumo wrote that Fonteyn described how, as the coup unraveled, she mistakenly dumped some incriminating documents into the sea. Officials later retrieved the items, including Arias’ address book, which contained the addresses of actors John Wayne and Errol Flynn. The celebrities apparently had business dealings with Arias.

Mark Dunton, a historian at the archives, said the files gave an unusual glimpse into a previously little known chapter of Fonteyn’s life.

"The extent of Dame Margot’s personal involvement has not been in the public domain before," said Dunton. "It adds to the slightly bizarre nature of this attempted revolution."

Fonteyn, who was born Peggy Hookham in 1919, went on to reach even greater creative heights through her acclaimed partnership with Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev. She returned to Panama with her husband years later and died there in 1991.


Article from: Guardian.co.uk

Image: In this Sept. 18, 1968 file photo, British ballerina Margot Fonteyn in London. British ballerina Margot Fonteyn was heavily involved in a plot with Fidel Castro to overthrow Panama’s government, previously secret files revealed. (AP Photo/PA, File)



Related Articles
Cointelpro, Provacateurs and Disinfo Agents
UK has 5,700 "secret agents"
The Enemy Agent & You - 1960’s Counter-Espionage (Video) :)
British Secret Agent Chief’s Wife Outs Him As Speedo-Wearing Nazi Homie On Facebook
Martin Bormann was Rothschild Agent -- Damning Evidence
G. Edward Griffin Interviews former KGB Agent Yuri Bezmenov - Soviet Subversion of the Free World Press (Video)
Laurence Olivier was Churchill’s secret agent
RedIceRadio: Greg Hallett - Hitler Was a British Agent & New Zealand Corruption
US book accuses Ernest Hemingway of spying for KGB
Hemingway the spy, Hemingway the spied upon


Latest News from our Front Page

Viking Heathen Origin of Horse Meat Taboo
2015-04-21 4:07
YouTube description: The recent horse meat scandal involving Tescos burgers, Ikea meatballs, Findus lasagne and Taco Bell has got people wondering why the English don't eat horses. I covered this subject in my recent dissertation. The answer is to do with paganism. The Catholic church realised that eating horse meat was connected to pagan rites in the North of Europe, ...
Generation Identitaire - Declaration of War
2015-04-21 2:50
We are Generation Identitaire. We are the generation who get killed for glancing at the wrong person, for refusing someone a cigarette, or having an "attitude" that annoys someone. We are the generation of ethnic fracture, total failure of coexistence, and forced mixing of the races. We are the generation doubly punished: Condemned to pay into a social system so ...
No Jab, No Pay reforms: Religious exemptions for vaccination dumped
2015-04-20 20:03
Religious exemptions for childhood vaccinations will be scrapped to toughen Australia’s new “no jab, no pay’’ laws stripping welfare from parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. Social Services Minister Scott Morrison revealed he is dumping the last remaining exemption on the books after holding talks with religious leaders. Just a week after The Sunday Telegraph revealed Mr Morrison was scrapping exemptions ...
Inside David Lynch: An Esoteric Guide to Twin Peaks
2015-04-20 18:24
‘I learned that just beneath the surface there’s another world, and still different worlds as you dig deeper.’ – David Lynch If you’ve ever sensed the flimsy, thin veneer of what parades itself as the good ole US of A, and felt a bit like you’ve been sold a fake, then David Lynch’s Twin Peaks is a series you must see. ...
Third-gender toilet sign – now a reality in Sweden
2015-04-20 18:29
If you don’t identify yourself as a man, a woman or are officially handicapped — where should you go to relieve yourself? In Sweden, the social justice warriors have solved the problem by inventing a third-gender toilet sign. A couple of years ago, the Swedish language was introduced to a new personal pronoun, “hen“, to replace gender specific hon (she) and ...
More News »