Castro Must Go, Go, Go!

When the CIA wanted to whack Fidel, the Mob’s price was crrrrazy — they’d do it for free! Here’s the original declassified CIA memo.

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Frisky Fidel Castro, that bewhiskered communist leader of Cuba, boasted in the 1970s that he’d survived two dozen assassination attempts. Any national leader has to contend with coup plotters, backstabbers, and other overzealous countrymen, but Castro’s story was unique: He had survived two dozen CIA assassination attempts. Twenty-four might be an embellishment — the CIA admitted to only eight — but Castro has some proof. The CIA recently declassified a good portion of its past, which has been catalogued in the State Department’s forthcoming Cuba, 1961-1962.

One revealing memo describes the CIA’s vision of assassinations: outsourcing! In August 1960, Langley’s finest contacted the Chicago Mafia and offered them $150,000 to mount a “sensitive operation against Fidel.” The Mob, itching to get back their Havana casinos, not only agreed to the Castro “project” — they agreed to knock him off for free.

The agency graciously accepted the family discount, then paid the Mob about $11,000 in expenses and equipment, only to withdraw the offer entirely after the Bay of Pigs snafu. Apparently, they had domestic problems to deal with — perhaps the CIA will someday declassify memos on the “Kennedy project.”

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate