Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who died on late Friday, faced in numerous failed murder attempts by America's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
CIA was involved to eliminate him for most part of his life, particularly during the 1960s and 70s.
Every time, Castro deceived his death only to humiliate his main adversary, the USA, report agencies.
"If surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal," Castro is believed to have said this.
In February of 1959, Fidel Castro became the Prime Minister of Cuba. Since then, according to the man who was charged with protecting him for most of his regime, he's survived over 600 assassination attempts.
The Church Committee, constituted to probe US government's attempt to kill various world leaders using CIA had found CIA and other governmental agencies employed a so-called tactic of "plausible deniability" during decision-making related to assassinations.
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 protected Castro, believes that the number of assassination schemes or actual attempts by the Central Intelligence Agency to be 638.
Escalante had revealed that the Eisenhower administration tried to kill Castro 38 times where Kennedy (42); Johnson (72); Nixon (184); Carter (64); Reagan (197); Bush Sr. (16); Clinton (21) had also tried their best to neutralise Castro.
Richard Helms, former CIA Director once revealed that Kennedy Administration officials had exerted a heavy pressure on the CIA to "get rid of Castro".
Here are the major methods considered to be employed by the US to oust the Beard.
1. Femme fatale
Marita Lorenz, one of many women Castro was involved with had allegedly accepted a deal from the CIA in which she would feed him capsules filled with poison. Though she managed to smuggle the capsules in his bedroom in her jar of cold cream, but failed to feed him.
2. Poisoned wet-suit
In 1975, the Senate Intelligence Committee claimed it had "concrete evidence" of a plan to offer Castro a wetsuit lined with spores and bacteria that would give him a skin disease (and maybe worse). The plan supposedly involved American lawyer James B. Donovan, who would present Castro with the suit when he went to negotiate the release of the Bay of Pigs prisoners. A 1975, AP report said the plan was abandoned, "Because Donovan gave Castro a different diving suit on his own initiative."
3. Ballpoint hypodermic syringe
A pen with a hypodermic needle so fine that Castro wouldn’t notice when someone bumped into him with the pen and injected him with an extremely potent poison. This plan, however, never got materialized.
4. Exploding cigar
Cigar was one thing which remained closer to Castro than anybody else. CIA reportedly had planned to pack a Cigar with explosives to take Fidel’s head off. In 1967, the Saturday Evening Post reported that a New York City police officer had been propositioned with the idea and hoped to carry it out during Castro's United Nations visit in September 1960.
5. Contaminated cigar
Another method involving Cigar was involved in February 1961 when CIA went as far as to recruit a double agent who would slip Castro a cigar filled with botulin, a toxin that would kill the leader in short order. The double agent was allegedly given the cigars in February of 1961, but he apparently got cold feet.
6. Exploding conch shell
Castro was fond of scuba diving and knowing it, CIA planned to plant an explosive device in a conch shell at his favorite spot. They plotted to make the shell brightly colored and unusual looking so it would be sure to attract Castro’s attention, drawing him close enough to kill him when the bomb inside went off.
7. Remove the beard
The US believed that loss of the beard would show Cubans that Castro was weak and fallible. A half-baked scheme was hatched to use thallium salt, the chemical in depilatory products such as Nair (hair removing cream), in Castro’s shoes or in his cigar. The chemical would be absorbed or inhaled and cause the famous facial hair to fall out.
8. Bacterial handkerchief
The CIA had once reportedly though of this idea to cover Fidel in harmful bacteria and toxins. They considered giving him a germ-covered hankie that would make him very ill.
9. Poisoned milkshake
According to Escalante, the closest the CIA ever came to killing Castro was a deadly dessert drink in 1963. The attempt went awry when the pill stuck to the freezer where the waiter-assassin at the Havana Hilton was supposed to retrieve it. When he tried to remove it, the capsule ripped open. –RH