A large number of assassination attempts on the life of Commander in Chief Fidel Castro occupy a prominent position in the list of actions of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) against the Cuban Revolution.
As part of their efforts to physically eliminate the Cuban leader, the CIA has resorted to all kind of methods from known and classic ones up to others that seem extracted from science fiction films.
The list of those who tried to assassinate Fidel Castro includes officials and agents on the CIA payroll who were carefully trained to kill, as well as members of terrorist groups recruited in Miami and professional elements of the US mafia.
A brief look at these events is depicted in a TV serial entitled “El que debe vivir” (The One that Must Survive), which premieres on Sunday on Cuban television.
As early as December 11, 1959, Col. J. C. King, head of the CIA Division for the Western Hemisphere, presented a memorandum to then CIA Director Allen Dulles in which he gave arguments for the need to eliminate Fidel Castro.
“None of Fidel’s closest followers have his hypnotic influence on the people. Many competent personalities agree that Fidel’s physical elimination would significantly accelerate the fall of the current government,” the report read.
Since then, the Agency studied and approved assassination attempts in a number hitherto unknown, although Cuban State Security services have evidence on 638 of them while a US Senate commission created to investigate this issue admits only around 30.
In August 1960, after several fiascos, trying to assassinate Fidel Castro became a “top priority” task as the conservative wing within the US administration believed that the death of the Cuban Commander in Chief was an indispensable requisite before launching an already conceived military invasion against the Caribbean island.
Hoping that at least one of them would be successful, several plans to kill the Cuban leader were then hastily organized.
For instance, on August 16, 1960, the Operative Section of the CIA Medical Services Division gave an official a box of Fidel’s favorite cigars and ordered him to impregnate it with a lethal substance. “The poison was so strong that he would die immediately after putting a cigar in his mouth,” the specialist later confessed.
It’s worth recalling that the US lawyer that was to give the cigars to Fidel Castro was unaware of the plan and, in the last minute, he decided to give the Cuban leader a different box of cigars.
Meanwhile, Col. Edwards, head of the CIA Security Office, contacted criminals who were members of the gamble syndicate that operated in Cuba until 1959.
Several names appear on several occasions in documents declassified by the abovementioned US Senate commission. They are John Rosselli, a known gangster from Chicago; Robert Maheu, a former FBI agent and very close to Cuban criminals in Florida; Salvatore Giancana and Santos Traficante, both leaders of the Cosa Nostra, just to mention a few.
Long debates took place among them as some were in favor of using poison to assassinate Fidel while others advocated the use of guns or machine-guns. The latter option had many opponents as it was difficult to find mercenaries willing to take such high risks, which led to the failure of many of the assassination attempts.
Clearly, Fidel Castro has been one of the main targets of the CIA since 1959 until today. We should recall that Luis Posada Carriles, a former CIA agent and self-confessed terrorist who was pardoned by former Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso and who is now facing trial in the United States for lying to immigration authorities there, was discovered in Panama when he was trying to assassinate Fidel Castro during the Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government held in this Central American country almost a decade ago. On that occasion, the plan was to plant bombs in the main hall of the University of Panama, where the
Cuban leader would speak to students and professors.
There is no sign that the US Government has put aside the assassination option.
In fact, the White House continues to protect terrorists while it keeps in jail those who fight against these criminal plans.