Eugenio Martinez, Final of the Watergate Burglars, Dies at 98


They were spearheaded by James W. McCord Jr., a security coordinator for the Nixon campaign, whose confession to the judge shortly before his conviction sparked the White House revelations of crimes and cover-ups that culminated in Nixon’s resignation in 1974.

In 1977, the four Cuba-born burglars each accepted an out-of-court settlement of $ 50,000 from the Nixon campaign. They said they had been misled into believing they were acting with state sanction on behalf of a White House administration that was concerned about American security and sympathized with Cuban refugees.

In 1983, after his pardons were denied by Presidents Gerald R. Ford and Jimmy Carter, Mr. Martinez – who was still with the CIA at the time of the Watergate break-in – found himself pardoned by President Ronald Reagan.

The pardon granted because Mr Martinez was deemed the least guilty of the defendants restored his right to vote. Despite the ordeal, he was proud of a Watergate souvenir – a golden lucky clover with the words “Good luck Richard Nixon” in Spanish written on it.

Eugenio Rolando Martinez Careaga was born on July 7, 1922 in what is now the province of Artemisa in western Cuba. Before Castro’s rise, he was exiled as a critic of the dictator Fulgencio Batista. He later returned to Cuba, but left the country again in 1959 to oppose Castro’s newly established regime.

“My mother and father were not allowed to leave Cuba,” he wrote in a memoir published in 1974 at Vanity Fair. “It would have been easy for me to get them out. That was my specialty. But my bosses at the company – the CIA – said I could be caught and tortured, and if I talk I could jeopardize other operations. So my mother and father died in Cuba. This is how orders go. I follow the instructions. “

He is survived by his daughter Yolanda Toscano and two grandchildren.

After leaving prison, Mr. Martinez worked in real estate and as a car salesman. He became known as the Musculito (or Little Muscle) because he continued to exercise in his South Beach Miami Beach apartment until his 90s.