11 bizarre and elaborate ways the CIA tried to kill Fidel Castro

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Fidel Castro, the former president of the Marxist-Leninist Republic of Cuba, has died aged 90.

If the CIA had got its way, it would have been much sooner.

Since the communist revolution in Cuba in 1959, the US government has ideologically opposed itself to the island's authoritarian government.

In addition to the famous 'Bay of Pigs' when the CIA failed to force a counter-revolution, there have also been several attempts to assassinate Castro.

According to Reuters, Cuban intelligence has claimed there were over 600 attempts on Castro's life, many of them masterminded by the CIA.

Some of the most bizarre ones included adding toxins to one of the cigars with which he was regularly photographed (because, the tobacco and smoke inhalation was not already poison?).

Other CIA schemes included a plan to make his beard fall out (and in doing so destroy his popularity).


In 2006, an aide to Castro, Fabian Escalante, wrote a book about the attempts 638 Ways To Kill Castro.

The book was also made into a Channel 4 documentary.

Documents from the presidency of Bill Clinton reveal one suggestion to hide explosives in a mollusk, due to the fact that El Comandante enjoyed scuba diving.

Another was a plan to chemically alter Castro's diving suit, in order to give him a skin disease.

In an odd coincidence, on the day that John F Kennedy was assassinated, a poison pen was given to a would be Castro assassin by the CIA.

A Cuban defector reportedly met with CIA operatives in Paris, who gave him a pen containing a secret syringe, to be used against Castro upon the defector's return to Cuba.

A former lover of Castro was also involved in a plot to poison him, but the pills reportedly melted in the cold cream jar she used as their hiding place.

The CIA spent countless hours since 1959 developing new techniques to kill Castro. Some of their methods failed to come to fruition.

For instance, a plan to put bacterial poisons on his handkerchief, or in his tea and coffee, failed because they could not make a poison that disintegrated in water.

In Panama in the year 2000, 90kg worth of explosives were placed under a podium at which Castro was due to speak. The plot was foiled by his security detail.

One of the plotters was a Cuban exile and former CIA operative Luis Posada.

Other less complex ways have included sharp shooters and also trying to arrange a hit using the Mafia.

Some conspiracy theorists would have you believe that Castro has in fact been dead for years, and that lookalikes have stood in his place at more recent public appearances.

Others have argued that he has always been a bogie-man creation of the CIA.

That might explain the compelling nature of America's assassination attempts.

Regardless, with the dictator now officially as well as actually dead, one hopes the CIA doesn't become too bored.

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