Fidel Castro and the assassination of President John F Kennedy

By | March 19, 2012


…It is one of history’s most enduring mysteries and has kept conspiracy theorists buzzing for half a century: did Fidel Castro have a hand in the assassination of President John F Kennedy? Officially, the Cuban dictator was cleared of involvement in the shooting of his fiercest adversary. The inquiry into the murder concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald, a communist sympathiser, acted alone.

Now a retired CIA officer claims to have proof that Castro knew the murder was about to happen – an allegation certain to refuel speculation before next year’s 50th anniversary of a pivotal moment of the 20th century.

Brian Latell, who studied Cuban affairs as a CIA analyst in the 1960s and became the agency’s chief intelligence officer for Latin America, says in a book that he is certain Castro knew.

On the morning of 22 November 1963, the day Kennedy was killed in Dallas, Castro ordered a senior intelligence officer in Havana to stop listening for non-specific CIA radio communications and to concentrate on “any little detail, any small detail from Texas”, Latell claims in his book Castro’s Secrets – the CIA and Cuba’s Intelligence Machine, due to be published next month.

Four hours later came news that Kennedy was dead. Latell claims Castro was aware that Oswald, who had been denied a visa to visit Cuba at the embassy in Mexico City, told staff there he was going to murder Kennedy to prove his communist allegiance. “Fidel knew of Oswald’s intentions and did nothing to deter the act,” Latell writes.

In an interview published on Sunday in the Miami Herald, Latell, now a senior lecturer on Cuba at the University of Miami, said he discovered the information in interviews with Cuban former 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.”

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 coup in 1959, says there is strong supporting evidence. It claims that CIA wiretaps of Cuban intelligence agents after the assassination revealed they had a surprising knowledge of Oswald’s background when only scant details had been reported by the media.

But it is Latell’s interview with the Cuban former intelligence officer, Fiorentino Aspillaga Lombard, who was in charge of Castro’s listeners at his Havana compound, that will raise eyebrows.

Aspillaga, who defected to the US in 1987, told Latell that he told the CIA at his debriefing that Castro personally issued the order to listen for anything about Texas. 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 luxury yachts, lavish properties in each of Cuba’s provinces and a secret Swiss bank account containing millions of dollars.

The claim that Castro was aware of Oswald’s promise to Cuban embassy officials to murder Kennedy comes from several sources, including a former FBI informant and “superspy” Jack Childs, who infiltrated the dictator’s inner circle.

Childs said Castro told him 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’.”

Castro claimed in public that Oswald’s visit to the embassy was “a minor matter” that had not been noticed by senior officials in Havana.

2 thoughts on “Fidel Castro and the assassination of President John F Kennedy

  1. Ann

    Talking about lavish lifestyles, Florentino Aspillaga Lombard defected after Luis Domínguez, the president of the Institute of Civil Aviation (INA), was arrested, accused of corruption and the misappropriation of resources; he supposedly had personal bank accounts to the tune of $500,000. Apparently, Aspillaga knew his number was up. The Socialist World noted that Aspillaga was associated British secret services, which would not be too much of a surprise, because Aspillaga himself said “that most, if not all, of the Cuban agents recruited by the CIA from the mid-1960s onward were double [agents] (NY Times, 1996, Tim Weiner), that is, they were worked for both the CIA and Cuba. It’s truly a miracle that Castro still alive today and not paranoid as hell. Besides an outright invasion, the CIA even tried to a kill him once with loaded (Havana) cigars that would explode when lit.

  2. Martine Paramo

    May Day is a National Communist Holiday and millions showed up in Havana to listen to Fidel Castro mirroring the illegal alien protest marchers in the United States of America, as Castro condemned the American Government. While the United States Congress and the United States Senate cave into the demands of the protesters and boycott participants. Fidel Castro the Communist Dictator of Cuba who promised government reform for the peasants, instead took over the country for himself after over throwing the government. He says he sees the start of the same movement in the United States and is so very proud of all the protestors in the United States of America on this historic May Day Communist Holiday.`

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