|"I’m going to run all those fascist mobsters, all those American gangsters out of Cuba."|
Meyer Lansky supposedly was the first to realize the possibilities Cuba afforded the mob. Santo Trafficante Junior was close behind him.
The offshore tropical island was the perfect platform for smuggling, among other things.
Cuba also made an excellent vacation destination, where a gambling industry to match Las Vegas could thrive -- minus the attention U.S. operators tended to attract from certain federal agencies, like the FBI.
Unlike in Vegas, the mob could invest its gambling proceeds into entities like corporations and financial institutions, thus laundering it and profiteering from what wouldn't be classified as illicit earnings.