BUENOS AIRES – Just like his hero, revolutionary icon Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Guillermo Gaede wanted to travel to Cuba in his teen years, but he could not obtain a visa. Years later, as a Silicon Valley engineer, he found another way to collaborate with Fidel Castro: he became a spy.
In the documentary “El Crazy Che,” Pablo Chehebar and Nicolas Iacouzzi follow Gaede’s unlikely path from a Buenos Aires suburb to service as a secret agent, first for Cuba and then for the United States, and to his time in prison for industrial espionage.
The filmmakers say they stumbled onto Gaede’s story by chance.
“We wanted to film a documentary about Argentine scientists working abroad,” Chehebar told Efe. The search led them to Gaede in Germany, where he has been teaching physics for more than a decade.
After investigating Gaede’s story, the filmmakers abandoned the original project and focused on recounting the story of “this ‘self-made’ man who wanted, in his half-crazy fashion, to be a spy, doing things nobody would imagine,” Chehebar said.
Gaede’s unorthodox approach is reflected in his initial attempts to offer his services to Havana, which involved showing up unannounced at the Cuban Embassy in Buenos Aires and, later, at the Czechoslovakia’s mission in Washington.
On both occasions, he offered to deliver – free of charge – the secret technology for the manufacture of integrated circuits produced by Advanced Micro Devices, his then-employer.
Gaede finally established a link with Cuban intelligence and the data he passed on eventually earned an invitation for him and his wife to visit Cuba for a two-week vacation that would include a meeting with Fidel Castro.
“Bill,” as he is known, tells in the documentary that the visit dealt him “a great disappointment” and demolished his idealistic vision of socialism, prompting him to approach U.S. intelligence services with an offer of assistance to topple Castro.
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