Bizarre Ways Americans Tried To Assassinate Fidel Castro

In 1959, the Cuban Revolution — led most notably by Fidel Castro and Ernesto "Che" Guevara — marked a seismic shift in the history of the 20th century and reshaped the world's geopolitical map for generations to come. Due to the conflict, the government of Fulgencio Batista was overthrown, and socialist leader Fidel Castro was put in power. Castro would lead the small island nation from 1959 all the way up until 2008, according to Britannica. It was the height of the Cold War, and a communist country only about 90 miles off the coast of Florida naturally left many American officials on edge. 

This time period also included the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the subsequent Cuban missile crisis, widely considered the closest the world has ever come to all-out nuclear war, according to The Washington Post. To calm the tensions between America and Cuba, the American Government hatched many bizarre plans to remove Castro from power and take the Cuban socialist regime down with him. in fact, according to History, Fidel Castro's tastes for Cuban cigars almost proved to be his undoing.

Attempts on Castro's life

According to NBC News, lacing Fidel Castro's favorite cigars with botulinum toxin was just one of the many bizarre ways the American CIA tried to kill the Cuban leader. Incidentally, no one is exactly sure why the poisoned stogie plot failed. But according to Castro's former secret service chief, Fidel Castro survived more than 600 attempts on his life, although nobody's certain how accurate that number really is. 

Nonetheless, here are just a few of the weirdest ways Americans tried to put Castro in his grave. Castro loved scuba diving, so naturally, the CIA considered planting exploding seashells for him to find and even thought of poisoning his wetsuit — because, why not? In 1961, the CIA even planned to poison Castro's ice cream, the strongman's favorite dessert, according to Vox. Not all the attempts on Castro were so outlandish, though. In 1993, Castro's lover Marita Lorenz told Vanity Fair that the CIA recruited her to slip the leader botulism-toxin pills — just like in a classic spy film. She backed out at the last minute, and Castro would go on survive every attempt on his life, dying of natural causes at the age of 90 in 2016. The U.S. normalized relations with Cuba in 2015, but if any one of the bizarre ways Americans tried to assassinate Fidel Castro were successful, the course of 20th-century history would certainly be rewritten.