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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]


Operation Mongoose


The Cuban
Project, also known as Operation Mongoose, was a covert operation of the
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) developed during the first year of President
John F. Kennedy’s administration. On November 30, 1961, aggressive covert
operations against Fidel Castro’s government in Cuba were authorized by
President Kennedy.


The
operation was led by United States Air Force General Edward Lansdale and went
into effect after the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion. Operation Mongoose was a
secret program against Cuba aimed at removing the Communists from power, which
was a prime focus of the Kennedy administration according to Harvard historian
Jorge Domínguez.


A document
from the United States Department of State confirms that the project aimed to
“help Cuba overthrow the Communist regime”, including its leader Fidel Castro,
and it aimed “for a revolt which can take place in Cuba by October 1962”. US
policymakers also wanted to see “a new government with which the United States
can live in peace”.


Operation Mongoose Declassified Documents


 CIA
FOIA Response Dated 22 October 2014
 [2 Pages, 0.6MB]


 CIA/IG
Report, Operation MONGOOSE, Date Unknown
 [149 Pages, 24.1MB] – This
appears to be similar to the IG report above, but it is a different page count
and different MORI ID number.


 Memo
to Brigadier General E. G. Lansdale, Subject: Operation MONGOOSE,
Propaganda Balloon Operations Plan – dated 17 September 1962
[8 Pages,
1.3MB]


 Memo for
Brigadier General E. G. Lansdale, Subject: Operation MONGOOSE – End of Phase I,
dated 24 July 1962
[7 Pages, 1.4MB]


 Memorandum
of Special Group, Operation MONGOOSE, from CIA Director John McCone, dated 5
April 1962
[3 Pages, 1.1MB]



 Studies
in Intelligence, Date Unknown, Book Review
 [4 Pages, 0.7MB]

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