The CIA try a Man-In-The-Middle attack on Castro by trying to blame him for JFK Assassination
Castro knew JFK was about to be killed, claims retired CIA intelligence chief
Cuban dictator ‘told staff he was going to murder the President to prove his allegiance to the communist cause’
By Richard Luscombe In Miami
PUBLISHED: 11:43, 18 March 2012 | UPDATED: 11:51, 18 March 2012
Fidel Castro had advance knowledge that President John F Kennedy was about to be killed, according to an explosive new book about the 1963 assassination soon to be published by a retired CIA agent.
Rumours about the Cuban dictator’s involvement in a plot to murder his fierce adversary have swirled for almost half a century since communist sympathiser Lee Harvey Oswald shot the US president during a trip to Dallas in November that year.
Now author Brian Latell, who studied Cuban affairs as a CIA analyst in the 1960s and later became the agency’s chief intelligence officer for Latin America, says he is certain that Castro at least knew the attack was going to happen.
On the morning of November 22, 1963, the day Kennedy was killed, Castro ordered a senior intelligence officer in Havana to stop listening for non-specific CIA radio communications and concentrate instead on ‘any little detail, any small detail from Texas,’ Mr Latell claims in his new book Castro’s Secrets – the CIA and Cuba’s Intelligence Machine, set for release next month.
Four hours later, the airwaves came alive with news that Kennedy was dead.
Mr Latell also claims that Castro was aware that Oswald, who had been denied a visa to visit Cuba at the country’s embassy in Mexico City, told staff there that he was going to murder Kennedy to prove his allegiance to the communist cause.
‘Fidel knew of Oswald’s intentions and did nothing to deter the act,’ Mr Latell writes in the book.
In an interview published today in The Miami Herald, Mr Latell, now a respected senior lecturer on Cuba at the University of Miami, says he discovered the information in interviews with former Cuban intelligence officers, backed up by declassified US government documents.
‘I don’t say Fidel Castro ordered the assassination, I don’t say Oswald was under his control. He might have been, but I don’t argue that, because I was unable to find any evidence for that,’ he said.
‘[But] everything I write is backed up by documents and on-the-record sources.
‘Did Fidel want Kennedy dead? Yes. He feared Kennedy. And he knew Kennedy was gunning for him. In Fidel’s mind, he was probably acting in self-defence.’
Mr Latell’s book, billed as the first in-depth study of Castro’s intelligence operations in the years after the Marxist revolutionary seized power in a 1959 coup, says there is other strong supporting evidence.
It claims, for instance, that CIA wiretaps of Cuban intelligence agents in the immediate aftermath of the assassination revealed that they already had surprising level of knowledge of Oswald’s background when only scant details had been reported by the media.
But it is Mr Latell’s interview with former Cuban intelligence officer Fiorentino Aspillaga Lombard, who was in charge of Castro’s listeners at his Havana compound, which will raise eyebrows.
Aspillaga, who defected to the US in 1987, told the author that he informed the CIA at his debriefing that Castro personally issued the order to listen specifically for anything about Texas.
But that information was never revealed publicly, and he never repeated it until he was interviewed for the book.
After his defection, Aspillaga lifted the lid on Castro’s lavish lifestyle, giving details of his fleet of luxury yachts, numerous lavish properties in each of Cuba’s provinces and a secret Swiss bank account containing millions of dollars.
But he said that while the population realised that ‘Fidel has ruined Cuba’, a fear of their leader meant few would ever speak up. ‘Who can sanction Castro? What parliament or national assembly can ask for an explanation of what is done with that money?’ he said.
The claim that Castro was aware of Oswald’s promise to Cuban embassy officials that he was going to murder Kennedy comes from several sources, including a former FBI informant and ‘superspy’ Jack Childs, who penetrated the dictator’s inner circle.
Childs said that Castro told him that Oswald ‘stormed into the embassy, demanded the visa, and when it was refused to him headed out saying, ‘I’m going to kill Kennedy for this’.’
Meanwhile, Castro was claiming publicly that Oswald’s visit to the embassy was ‘a minor matter’ that had not been noticed by senior officials in Havana.
Subsequent investigations by the US security agencies, and the official Warren Commission inquiry into Kennedy’s assassination, looked at Castro’s possible involvement but concluded that Oswald was a lone gunman acting independently.
Among other issues discussed in Mr Latell’s book are the CIA’s own attempts to assassinate Castro using a variety of methods, including exploding cigars and poison pens. He says the efforts were called off after Kennedy died.