After Fidel Castro’s death in 2016, his longtime security officer, Fabian Escalante, told CNN that the Central Intelligence Agency had devised precisely 638 assassination plots against the dictator, including an exploding cigar, a cigar laced with botulin, and a pen with a hidden needle that would poison him. After Castro gained control of Cuba in 1959, and colluded with the Soviet Union to install missiles on Cuban soil that were aimed directly at the United States, the dictator became Enemy No. 1 for the CIA. “If surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal,” Castro once said.
A femme fatale, and other crazy ideas:
- One of the most famous attempts involved his ex-mistress, Marita Lorenz, who was hired to spike his drink with a poison pill. Castro found out, and the plot failed.
- One of the more outlandish plots sought to put a chemical in his boots that would cause his beard to fall out. They’d hoped to discredit Castro when he spoke at the United Nations in 1960, Escalante claimed.
- According to Escalante, the CIA also planned to lace a box of his cigars with LSD, so that he would laugh uncontrollably during a television interview.