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Background


Throughout
his time as the President of Cuba, many attempts were made by the United States
to assassinate Fidel Castro. The attempts were made by the United States’s
Central Intelligence Agency. All the attempts on Fidel Castro’s life failed.


Following
World War II, the United States became secretly engaged in a practice of
international political assassinations and attempts on foreign leaders. For a considerable
period of time, the U.S. Government officials vehemently denied any knowledge
of this program since it would be against the United Nations Charter. On March
5, 1972, Richard Helms, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director, declared
that, “no such activity or operations be undertaken, assisted, or suggested by
any of our personnel.”  In 1975, the U.S. Senate convened the Senate
Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence
Activities. It was chaired by the Senator Frank Church (D-Idaho). The Church
Committee uncovered that CIA and other governmental agencies employed a
so-called tactic of “plausible deniability” during decision-making related to
assassinations. CIA subordinates were deliberately shielding the higher-ranking
officials from any responsibility by withholding full amount of information
about planned assassinations. Government employees were obtaining tacit
approval of their acts by using euphemisms and sly wording in communications.


The Church
Committee stated that it substantiated eight attempts by the CIA to assassinate
Fidel Castro in 1960-1965. Fabian Escalante, a retired chief of Cuba’s
counterintelligence, who has been tasked with protecting Fidel Castro,
estimated the number of assassination schemes or actual attempts by the Central
Intelligence Agency to be 638.  Some of them were a part of the
covert CIA program dubbed Operation Mongoose aimed at toppling the Cuban
government. The assassination attempts reportedly included cigars poisoned with
botulinum toxin, a tubercle bacilli infected scuba-diving suit along with a
booby-trapped conch placed on the sea bottom, an exploding cigar, a ballpoint
pen containing a hypodermic syringe preloaded with the lethal concoction Blackleaf
40,
and plain, mafia-style execution endeavors, among others.[4] There were plans to blow up Castro during his visit
to Ernest Hemingway’s museum in Cuba.


Some of the
plots were depicted in a documentary film entitled 638 Ways to Kill Castro
(2006) aired on Channel 4 of the British public-service television. One of
these attempts was by his ex-lover Marita Lorenz whom he met in 1959. She
allegedly agreed to aid the CIA and attempted to smuggle a jar of cold cream
containing poison pills into his room. When Castro learned about her
intentions, he reportedly gave her a gun and told her to kill him but her nerve
failed. Some plots aimed not at murder but at character assassination;
they, for example, involved using thallium salts to destroy Fidel Castro’s
famous beard, or lacing Castro’s radio studio with LSD to cause him
disorientation during the broadcast and damage his public image.


Castro once
said, in regards to the numerous attempts on his life he believed had been
made, “If surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win
the gold medal.”


(Special thanks to Wikipedia for above description)


Declassified Documents


 Agency Castro
Assassination Plotting (Sam Giancana and Santo Trafficante)
 [28 Pages,
2.5MB]


 Summary of
Facts Investigation of CIA Involvement in Plans to Assassinate Foreign Leaders
,
5 June 1975 [91 Pages, 3.9MB] – The following is a summary of facts
gathered by the Executive Director of the CIA Commission concerning possible
CIA involvement in plans to assassinate foreign leaders.


 1967
I. G. Report regarding Agency involvement in plans to assassinate Fidel
Castro. (Increment 231) to assassinate Fidel Castro is at best an imperfect
history. 
 23 May 1967 [144 Pages, 7MB]



 Memo
Relating to Reconstruction of Agency Involvement in Plans to Assassinate Fidel
Castro is at Best an Imperfect History
, 25 April 1967 [145 Pages,
9.1MB]

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