The Crazy CIA Plot to Kill the Other Castro
The CIA wanted a pilot to sabotage Raul Castro's plane—while he was flying it.
In early March 1960, a special team of CIA officials and operatives gathered for the first meeting of the new “Branch 4 Task Force,” which was dedicated to overthrowing Fidel Castro in Cuba. Less than a year earlier, the CIA believed the bearded revolutionary was on their side of the Cold War and would cooperate in ferreting out the Communists in Cuba. But now, after he’d ousted a pro-U.S. regime (which was widely reviled and corrupt), nationalized foreign-owned property, instituted agricultural reforms and opened Cuba’s economy to aid and trade with Moscow, Washington determined it could no longer live with him. President Dwight Eisenhower was on the verge of signing off on a Top Secret CIA proposal, “A Program of Covert Action Against the Castro Regime,” to initiate a U.S. sponsored counterrevolution.
Several of the CIA officers at that 1960 meeting had been involved in the agency’s first successful regime change effort in Latin America—the overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala…