A Terrorist In Training

Fermin Toro School in Caracas 

After the divorce, Ilich was sent to the Fermin Toro Lycée School in Caracas. The school, which had been chosen by his father, was known for it's radical left-wing teachings with many of the students becoming involved in street marches to protest over the liberal government's ban of the Communist Party. In January 1964, Ilich joined the Venezuelan Communist Youth and became embroiled in their revolutionary activities, which included violent demonstrations against the ruling government. Ilich would later brag of his exploits and organizational abilities during his time at the school but Pedro Ortega Diaz, the president of the Venezuelan Communist Party at that time, later told authorities that Ilich had not made any memorable contribution to the cause.

Regardless of his lackluster involvement with the Communist cause, in 1966 Ilich was reported to have been a budding revolutionary under the guidance of no less than Fidel Castro and the KGB. According to claims made in various publications over the years, young Ilich was sent to a Cuban indoctrination camp by his father to study sabotage techniques and other terrorist activities. The camp in question was called Camp Mantanzas and was run by Castro's Direccion General de Inteligencia (DGI) and Castro's KGB adviser, Viktor Semenov.

The stories suggest that Ilich was a prize student at the camp and was personally tutored by Antonio Dagues-Bouvier, an Ecuadorian guerrilla warfare expert and a senior KGB officer, in the use of explosives, automatic weapons, mines, encryption and false documents. Another story tells of his meeting with the notorious Father Camillo Torres, a Colombian priest who became a guerrilla leader under Che Guevara.

Whether he received training from the Cubans is still a point of contention but two episodes seem highly unlikely. The first is that he could not have met Father Torres in Cuba because soldiers of the Colombian army had killed the priest in Colombia in February 1966. In addition, General Semenov did not become the head of the KGB in Cuba until 1968, some two years after Ilich was supposedly trained there.

These and other stories regarding Ilich's training were apparently circulated by the CIA based on information supplied by Orlando Castro Hidalgo, a former member of the DGI who defected from the Cuban embassy in Paris. He supposedly told the CIA that Ilich was one of the many Venezuelans that received terrorist training in Cuba. In recent years a former head of the counter-terrorism department of the CIA has given evidence admitting that the CIA had no evidence to support the claim.

What has been confirmed is that in August 1966, Elba took Ilich and his brothers to London to continue they're schooling. After the family settled in West London, Ilich was enrolled at Stafford House Tutorial College in Kensington. His teachers remembered him as an outspoken, opinionated, lazy young man who would rather cheat than study. He was also known for always being elegantly attired in expensive clothes. Regardless of his reputation, Ilich mastered his subjects and passed all his exams and moved on to the Earls Court Tutorial College.

During this period of his life, Ilich and his brother Lenin were reported as having been members of the Royal Kensington Rifle and Pistol Club, where they supposedly received instruction in the use of firearms. Again, there is no record of their membership or their having completed the probationary training period, which is compulsory for any prospective members. In addition, an investigation by Scotland Yard's anti-terrorism branch revealed that the brothers had never been involved in the club.

Rather than becoming a terrorist, Ilich's time in London indicated that he seemed more intent on living the life of a playboy, and was often seen accompanying his mother to embassy cocktail parties. His life wasn't entirely social however as, soon after arriving in London, he joined a group of British activists who were planning to set up an international association for communist students. Ilich would later be given credit for creating such an organization when in fact; he had attended only one meeting and left when he became aware that the police were carefully scrutinizing the proceedings.

His political career could have begun shortly after in 1967 when the Venezuelan guerrilla group, Armed Forces of National Liberation, asked him to travel to  Eastern Europe and organize a group of young Venezuelan Communists in the Communist Bloc countries. His plans were curtailed when his father arrived in London later the same year and told his sons that he wanted them to continue their education at the Sorbonne in Paris. In May 1968, José took Ilich and Lenin to Paris to make the arrangements but found that the city was in the midst of violent student protests. Although like-minded Marxists instituted the protests, José had no wish to see his sons involved in violent street fighting and abandoned his plans.

1. First Strike

2. A Born Revolutionary

3. A Terrorist In Training

4. Mother Russia

5. A Popular Choice

6. Black September

7. Our Man In London

8. Carnage

9. Wrath of God

10. Campaign

11. Betrayal

12. "The Famous Carlos"

13. Terrorist For Hire

14. New Beginnings

15. One Man's War

16. Hunting The Jackal

17. A Fall From Grace

18. Taken By Force

19. Trials And Tribulations

20. Love and Death

21. Bibliography

22. The Author

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