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.

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


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.”

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

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