On April 13, 1961, one of the largest stores in Cuba and one of the first such establishments to be nationalized by the revolutionary government was burned to the ground as part of CIA-sponsored sabotage, and as a result, one of its workers died.
Fe del Valle, who worked in the Children’s Department, was killed in the fire while she was trying to rescue the collection of fees from members of the Cuban Women’s Federation (FMC) that was kept there.
The perpetrator was a member of the terrorist group known as “Movimiento de Recuperación del Pueblo,” with proven ties with the Miami station of US secret services.
While he was waiting for his accomplices, he was left on a beach, where he was captured by militiamen, to whom he confessed his involvement in the events.
Cuban sources report that between October 1960 and April 1961, the CIA introduced 75 tons of explosives and 45 tons of weapons into Cuba, carried out 110 bomb attacks, detonated 200 bombs, derailed six trains and set fire to more than 100 factories and sugarcane fields.
The purpose of these actions was to sow panic and chaos in Cuban cities and pave the way for an invasion that took place a few days later at Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs), in the western province of Matanzas, and that was defeated in less than 72 hours.