BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s the story of a love affair, with a dash of espionage.

A Baltimore woman’s sister is heartbroken by the news of former Cuban president Fidel Castro’s death because, as the Lorenz family tells it, Marita Lorenz was Castro’s mistress, who was later recruited by the C.I.A. to try to kill him.

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Marita, who now lives in Queens, New York, was 19 years old in 1959. That’s when she first met Castro, who in February of that year was sworn in as the country’s Prime Minister.

It was a year before he cut off diplomatic relations with the U.S. and two years before he publicly declared himself a Marxist-Leninist.

Marita’s father was captain of a cruise ship, and she traveled with him on the vessel.

She met Castro shortly after the ship, named Berlin, dropped anchor in Havana harbor. Castro, along with armed men, sailed out and boarded the boat.

“‘Well, you can’t come up here with your guns,'” Marita told him, according to her sister Valerie. “So they took off their guns, and she looked at him and said ‘You, too.’ Challenging. Marita was always challenging.”

That’s where Castro and Lorenz’s two-year affair began.

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To her sister, anyway, Castro was “very kind, very gentlemanly,” Valerie says. “He’s seen as this vicious, flamboyant dictator and all he wanted was the best for his country.”

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But with Soviet support, communism became the new direction for the island nation.

Marita’s relationship allegedly led to her recruitment by the C.I.A. into an assassination plot centered around “a poison pill in a jar of cream,” according to Valerie.

But, “in true C.I.A. fashion, the pill melted. She was obviously in his apartment and he said, ‘You will never kill me,’ and she said ‘You’re right, I could never kill you.'”

Valerie says her sister, now 77, learned of Castro’s death last week on television.

Castro, who died Friday, had served as the country’s Prime Minister through 1976, when he came president. His brother, Raúl Castro, assumed the presidency in 2008.

“Oh, she went hysterical. Grief stricken. Totally grief stricken. He was her first love.”

WJZ made numerous attempts to reach her Monday but were unable to.

Marita first revealed her relationship with Fidel Castro in a New York newspaper interview in 1992, and has since detailed it in a book.

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