Most popular assassination target: Fidel Castro
August 13, 2016 8:53 PM   Subscribe

How many ways have his enemies tried to kill Fidel? A whole bunch.
posted by dfm500 (20 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I had a bunch of books about espionage when I was a kid, and I remember one of them talked about the CIA trying to blow him up with an exploding clam while he was diving. Another plot apparently involved dosing his cigar with something that would make his iconic beard fall out. Both plots failed.

I read these stories as a child and cannot confirm that they are true, but they did instill, from a young age, an impression of a CIA that was devious and apparently cribbing from Get Smart.
posted by teponaztli at 9:14 PM on August 13, 2016 [6 favorites]


To be fair, he has had a lot of enemies (with decades to dream up unlikely techniques). I recall an editorial cartoon from when GW Bush was announcing stronger sanctions against Cuba which would surely spell the end of the Castro regime. The cartoon showed Bush delivering his speech and Castro just beginning to cross his name off a placard on an easel which read:

BUSH
CLINTON
BUSH
REAGAN
CARTER
FORD
NIXON
JOHNSON
KENNEDY
EISENHOWER

posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:41 PM on August 13, 2016 [11 favorites]


The way the video just casually mentions the CIA tried to kill him. That's what you call normalization.
posted by JHarris at 10:50 PM on August 13, 2016 [12 favorites]


That's what you call normalization.

It's just business, nothing personal.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:57 PM on August 13, 2016


Proof that the CIA didn't assassinate Kennedy? He died.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 11:13 PM on August 13, 2016 [24 favorites]


"Are you here to kill me?" Lorenz recalled Castro asking her, and then handing her his pistol as they met in a hotel suite for a tryst. Instead of shooting Castro, according to Lorenz, she fell into the Cuban leader's arms.

No, no, that's a Bond's move - you're supposed to be the Bond villain - let's take this from the top.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:23 AM on August 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


"Are you here to kill me?" Lorenz recalled Castro asking her, and then handing her his pistol as they met in a hotel suite for a tryst. Instead of shooting Castro, according to Lorenz, she fell into the Cuban leader's arms.

That is a pretty suave move.
posted by bongo_x at 12:36 AM on August 14, 2016


If you get the chance to visit the CIA Museum* in Havana, you must.

It's a bit like a Connery-era James Bond prop tour. You can view the artifacts from many failed US government plots, from pen-shaped pistols, poison vials, and tiny (for the era) listening devices to the actual thallium (and/or tuberculosis)-laced slippers. The backstories printed on the little plaques range from long, detailed accounts to frustratingly-terse teases ("poison telephone", "electric hat") but the whole experience is hilarious, bizarre and unforgettable.

It's the rough equivalent of the Parasite Museum in Tokyo: small, unique, tucked away in a residential neighborhood, not in many guidebooks... and you'll regret skipping it.

If only they had t-shirts.

* Technically the "Museum of the Ministry of the Interior" but nobody calls it that.
posted by rokusan at 12:59 AM on August 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


What was the rationale behind murdering Castro?
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:34 AM on August 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Sometimes a poisoned cigar is just a poisoned cigar.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:05 AM on August 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


What was the rationale behind murdering Castro?

Getting rid of him.
posted by oheso at 2:15 AM on August 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Happy 90th Birthday, Fidel, you outlived them all, and saw history bring your country back in from the cold.
posted by infini at 2:26 AM on August 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


I appear as a regular on a comics podcast, and a friend of the show brought us back a comic from Cuba based on grainy screenshots from a TV series about attempts to kill Castro and his amazing survival rate. I only got as far as the poison pen incident, but it was a weird little cultural artefact that I enjoyed greatly.
posted by terretu at 5:22 AM on August 14, 2016


I seem to recall that the only way to deal with Fidel involves a chain of Kentucky Fried Chicken shops. Otherwise he'll blow mustard gas through his cigar and immobilize the lot of 'em.
posted by delfin at 6:52 AM on August 14, 2016


VIVE MARTI!
posted by clavdivs at 8:09 AM on August 14, 2016


When the beard story broke, I had been noticing for some time that his beard seemed remarkably thin.

I'm not sure that mission was a complete failure.
posted by jamjam at 9:03 AM on August 14, 2016


Cuba for beginners
posted by hortense at 9:07 AM on August 14, 2016


What about kindness? Have they tried kindness?
posted by srboisvert at 9:15 AM on August 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


Or softly with a song?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:41 AM on August 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


Free advice: Do not Google "Madura foot fungus."
posted by Bob Regular at 8:23 AM on August 15, 2016


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