A new book by a former CIA analyst provides evidence that Cuban dictator Fidel Castro may have had prior knowledge of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
Brian Latell’s book Castro’s Secrets: The CIA and Cuba’s Intelligence Machine contains information from declassified government documents and first-hand reports from Cuban spies who defected to the United States. The Miami Herald describes the work as “the first substantial study of Fidel Castro’s intelligence operations.”
According to Latell's account, on Nov. 22, 1963, a Cuban intelligence officer was ordered to focus his attention on Texas -- not the usual target of his work. That afternoon, in Dallas, Kennedy was shot. “Castro knew,” the intelligence officer later told the CIA after defecting to the U.S., according to Latell's book, explaining his superiors' sudden and unusual interest in Texas. “They knew Kennedy would be killed.”
Moreover, the book claims that Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy’s assassin, warned Castro and Cuban intelligence officers that he had planned to assassinate the president after being refused a visa by the Cuban government. Oswald had planned the assassination to “prove his revolutionary credentials," the Miami Herald reports.
The implication that Castro had prior knowledge of the Kennedy assassination, yet remained silent is not very surprising, given the animosity between the two leaders.
In 1961 Kennedy ordered the ill-fated mission known as the "Bay of Pigs,” the first action in what became a long, complicated and volatile history between the United States and Cuba. Kennedy ordered an invasion of Cuba by a group of CIA-trained Cuban exiles, with the intention of assassinating Castro, who was viewed as a threat because of his close relationship with the Soviet Union and the fear that a nuclear attack on America was being planned. The invasion was a tremendous failure, and the soldiers sent to carry out the mission were slaughtered by the Cuban army.
This was not the last attempt by America to assassinate Castro. Many other attempts to kill the dictator, from explosive cigars to a poison-tipped pen, also failed.
In the book, Latell discusses a CIA agent by the name of Rolando Cubela, formerly a high-level Cuban official who was recruited to assassinate Castro. Cubela, Latell writes, turned out to be a double agent and had been feeding information directly to Castro, including information about the attempts on Castro's life. Latell says that Castro had been waiting to learn whether Kennedy was planning to kill him, and through Cubela he got the answer. This knowledge is said to have been what led to Castro's silence after learning about Oswald's plan to murder Kennedy.
Kennedy assassination has inspired many conspiracy theories, along with a number of works of literature and film.
Stories such as Mafia involvement in the killing have been told, rumors saying that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover ordered the killing have circulated, and the Israeli government has been implicated, along with Castro himself.
Novelist Stephen King wrote 11/22/63, which tells the story of a man who goes back in time to try and stop the assassination of Kennedy.
In 1991 Oliver Stone took on the topic with his award-winning film "JFK," which attempts to explain the alleged conspiracy surrounding Kennedy's murder. In 2008, the Discovery channel created a documentary, "JFK: Inside The Target Car," which attempted to use modern forensic science to dispel the magic bullet theory and other related conspiracies that have circulated since the murder.
Latell’s book is schedule to be published on April 24.