FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The CIA and Castro: an Undying Obsession

“Show me where Stalin’s buried, and I’ll show you a communist plot.”

— Edgar Bergen

For 53 years exiles from Miami and US officials have tried to assassinate Fidel Castro 638 times, overthrow his revolutionary government, and blamed him for numerous sins.

The exiles and government officials who upbraid him have yet to thank Fidel for providing them with long-term employment. Given their levels of incompetence in carrying out bloody but unsuccessful terrorist acts, writing of inane and inaccurate reports and uttering of supercilious predictions about Cuba’s reality and its future, they appear unfit for other work — well, maybe as TSA screeners.

One Fidel beneficiary, retired CIA analyst Brian Latell (“Castro’s Secrets: The CIA And Cuba’s Intelligence Machine,” Palgrave Macmillan) condemns Castro for not informing the US government about Lee Harvey Oswald’s intentions to kill Kennedy.

To support this accusation, Latell rehashes defecting Cuban intelligence agents’ information to the CIA about Castro’s knowledge of Oswald’s murderous intentions, which he screamed in the Cuban Consulate in Mexico City while trying in vain to obtain a visa. Latell omits that CIA Agents in Mexico, including Mexican President Adolfo Lopez Mateos, had reported this information to the Agency and that Fidel had disclosed the incident in a November 27, 1963 speech. Latell doesn’t even ask why Oswald wanted a Cuban visa or why his CIA colleague David Attlee Phillips sent his agent on such a quest. (http://www.cuba.cu/gobierno/discursos/1963/esp/f271163e.html; See also Jefferson Morley http://www.ourmaninmexico.com/documents_mexicanpres.html)

Over decades, US heavies (including President Johnson and journalist Jack Anderson) believed Castro had masterminded the JFK hit. But who in his right mind would blame Castro for withholding such data from a government trying to assassinate him? Unless, of course, one is dealing with someone whose mind doesn’t heed facts or reason.

In  March 1977, responding to a Bill Moyers question about Senator Robert Morgan ‘s (D-NC) accusation that he killed Kennedy in retaliation for attempts to kill him, Castro explained “it would have been absolute insanity on Cuba’s part… to risk that our country would have been destroyed by the United States. Nobody who is not crazy would have had such a thought.”

Logically, Castro continued, why eliminate a known adversary for an unknown?” We understood Kennedy from “observing his behavior at the Bay of Pigs and Missile Crisis.”  Finally, Castro said assassination didn’t change policies. “It would have been easier to kill Batista than wage two years of guerrilla war, but it would not have changed the system.” (CBS Reports June 10, 1977)

Latell ignores such statements. Setting a pattern for future writing, in an October 18, 1965 intelligence memorandum he offered a fact-free analysis for the CIA. Che Guevara plays a declining role in Cuban policy. Che “never wavered from his firm revolutionary stand, even as other Cuban leaders began to devote most of their attention to the internal problems of the revolution,” wrote Latell. His departure from Cuba left “no doubt that Castro’s more cautious position on exporting revolution, as well as his different economic approach, led to Che’s downfall.”

In fact, Che had returned from his unsuccessful assignment in the Congo to prepare for his and Fidel’s attempt to foment – in vain — revolution in Bolivia. Fidel assigned his best guerrilla fighters to accompany Che. Moreover, Cuba adopted Che’s basic economic perspectives from 1966 to 1971 and expanded its role in Africa from 1975 on.

Likewise Latell’s derives his “evidence” of Fidel’s advance knowledge of the Kennedy assassination from a conversation with defecting Cuban intelligence officer Florentino Aspillaga. On the fatal day, Aspillaga claimed he received orders to monitor CIA radio signals from Dallas. Surpriseingly, Aspillaga didn’t reveal that information when he defected! “I don’t say Fidel Castro ordered the assassination,” Latell said, but that he didn’t inform US officials.

Latell admits “predicting the demise of the Castro brothers’ regime has been a losing proposition for all of the 51 years they have exercised power. There have been a number of occasions when observers on and off the island let themselves be convinced that the final chapter was being written. I believed that once myself.” (The Latell Report, March 2010)

Instead of acknowledging he owes his career to Fidel, Latell conjectures that Castro’s speeches hid encoded messages to him. “For years I had been a high priority target of Cuban intelligence and knew that Fidel was interested in what I said and wrote about him.” (Brian Latell, “After Fidel,” 155)

In his previous book “After Fidel” he reveals the method behind his madness. On September 11, 1989 Fidel spoke about Salvador Allende hospital, once the home “of a mango grove.” In February 1990, at a University of Miami speech, Latell admonished Castro for having ordered the cutting of a mango tree. Latell, trying to show Fidel’s autocratic micromanaging, had read translations not the Comandante’s words in Spanish, and thus twisted the story. Cuba’s President never ordered the cutting; nor did he refer to one tree.

Fidel returned to the mango tree issue on February 5th, Latell claims, just to answer the former CIA analyst, but without mentioning Latell’s name. Fidel actually spoke on February 3, two days earlier, but didn’t mention either a mango grove or tree.

Latell believes Fidel thought so intensely about him that he placed spies at the University of Miami to record his speech. “I recognized that what I said would be in his [Fidel] morning intelligence briefing within a day or two, probably after being taped by someone in the audience [at the University of Miami] and then transcribed and translated in Havana.”

Finally, for possible smoking guns in the Kennedy assassination, Latell should look at his Cuban exile friends and former CIA colleagues. They believe Kennedy betrayed them at the Bay of Pigs, during the Missile Crisis, and by paying ransom for Brigade 2506.  When Kennedy died, more than a few rightwing Cuban exiles celebrated.

Like others who have for half a Century participated in US-Cuba policy Latell evokes the infamous Bourbon kings of France: they learn nothing and forget nothing; so facts and reason cannot confuse them.

Saul Landau’s WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP (which can now be found on Netflix) screens April 18, 7:00 pm, Nyumburu Cultural Center. University of Maryland. College Park. Counterpunch published his BUSH & BOTOX WORLD

Nelson Valdes is Professor Emeritus, University of New Mexico.

 

 

 

More articles by:

Nelson P. Valdes is Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico.

September 20, 2018
Michael Hudson
Wasting the Lehman Crisis: What Was Not Saved Was the Economy
John Pilger
Hold the Front Page, the Reporters are Missing
Kenn Orphan
The Power of Language in the Anthropocene
Paul Cox – Stan Cox
Puerto Rico’s Unnatural Disaster Rolls on Into Year Two
Rajan Menon
Yemen’s Descent Into Hell: a Saudi-American War of Terror
Russell Mokhiber
Nick Brana Says Dems Will Again Deny Sanders Presidential Nomination
Nicholas Levis
Three Lessons of Occupy Wall Street, With a Fair Dose of Memory
Steve Martinot
The Constitutionality of Homeless Encampments
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
The Aftershocks of the Economic Collapse Are Still Being Felt
Jesse Jackson
By Enforcing Climate Change Denial, Trump Puts Us All in Peril
George Wuerthner
Coyote Killing is Counter Productive
Mel Gurtov
On Dealing with China
Dean Baker
How to Reduce Corruption in Medicine: Remove the Money
September 19, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
When Bernie Sold Out His Hero, Anti-Authoritarians Paid
Lawrence Davidson
Political Fragmentation on the Homefront
George Ochenski
How’s That “Chinese Hoax” Treating You, Mr. President?
Cesar Chelala
The Afghan Morass
Chris Wright
Three Cheers for the Decline of the Middle Class
Howard Lisnoff
The Beat Goes On Against Protest in Saudi Arabia
Nomi Prins 
The Donald in Wonderland: Down the Financial Rabbit Hole With Trump
Jack Rasmus
On the 10th Anniversary of Lehman Brothers 2008: Can ‘IT’ Happen Again?
Richard Schuberth
Make Them Suffer Too
Geoff Beckman
Kavanaugh in Extremis
Jonathan Engel
Rather Than Mining in Irreplaceable Wilderness, Why Can’t We Mine Landfills?
Binoy Kampmark
Needled Strawberries: Food Terrorism Down Under
Michael McCaffrey
A Curious Case of Mysterious Attacks, Microwave Weapons and Media Manipulation
Elliot Sperber
Eating the Constitution
September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savior
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail