(PCM) Fidel Castro the leader of Cuba recently passed away at the age of 90. Castro ruled Cuba for close to 47 years. Castro was a Cuban politician and revolutionary who governed the Republic of Cuba first as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and then as President from 1976 to 2006. Under his administration, Cuba became a one-party socialist state. Due to this Castro became a very enigmatic and controversial leader.
Often despised in the US media. It was always made to look like Castro was an evil dictator who treated the people of his land as slaves. The Bay of Pigs is still a hot issue for many that were around at that time. The Bay of Pigs was an operation funded by the CIA to overthrow the communist government run by Castro. The operation lasted only three days and was defeated by the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces which was led by Castro. This did not sit well with the US and increased tensions between the two countries.
It was public knowledge that the CIA made several assassination attempts on Castro while he was President. Some of these attempts are hilarious and borderline something out of a James Bond movie. The CIA tried using a variety of ways of killing Castro which included everything from an exploding cigar to a booby-trapped conch shell where Castro would often go swimming. Another was a poisonous cigar laced with botulinum toxin, and of course the tried and true mafia style attacks. Castro once gave an interview stating, “ If surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal.”
The Church Committee which was put together by Senator Frank Church (D-Idaho) to study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities. The Church Committee uncovered that the CIA and other governmental agencies employed tactics called “plausible deniability” during the decision- making process when it came to assignation. These practices were illegal due to the United Nations Charter.
The Church Committee stated that it substantiated eight attempts by the CIA to assassinate Fidel Castro in 1960–1965. A man named Fabian Escalante who was assigned to protect Castro estimates the assignation attempts to be around 638, and split up among U.S. administrations as follows:
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1959–1961): 38
John F. Kennedy (1961–1963): 42
Lyndon B. Johnson (1963–1969): 72
Richard Nixon (1969–1974): 184
Jimmy Carter (1977–1981): 64
Ronald Reagan (1981–1989): 197
George H. W. Bush (1989–1993): 16
Bill Clinton (1993–2000): 21
Those are insanely high numbers for assassination attempts, but somehow Castro managed to survive. He was either an incredibly lucky guy or certainly employed one of the world’s best security teams. In 2006, having given up his beloved cigars and switching to a mostly vegetarian diet for health reasons, Castro was afflicted by an intestinal ailment and he was eventually forced to hand-over power of Cuba to his brother Raul Castro. In the last years of his life, Castro traveled constantly with his heavy security team and was rarely spotted at all in public.