Cuban officials have told tales of how the legendary Fidel Castro, who was President of Cuba for decades, had gambled and escaped death traps for more than 600 times in his life time.
The late Cuban leader practically led his long life in the spotlight, yet he survived a litany of assassination plots from powerful government organisations.
CNN report says, his unidentified assassins have plotted to eliminate him on several occasions including poisoning him, dosing his dive suit with fatal botulism and blowing him up during a speech.
Many of the plots were spectacular failures and based on the 2006 British documentary, “More people have tried to murder the world’s most famous socialist than any man alive”
Although, report said the figure is impossible to confirm but here’s what Castro liked to tell interviewers.
“If surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal.”
The 90-year old had gained a reputation as a cheater of death and he was reported dead twice by Cuba’s press after a he led a failed uprising against a military barracks and again when he returned from exile by boat with a guerrilla force.
Fidel Castro Escaped Mob Hit
An American mafia had made a failed attempt on Castro’s life when he became an obstacle to its business prospect in Cuba. After Castro brought the party to a crashing halt, seizing the mobsters’ casinos and hotels and sending them back to US, a CIA agent met with mobster Sam Giancana in Miami in 1960 who agreed to help the American government kill Castro.
“Sam suggested they not resort to firearms, but if he could be furnished with some type of potent pill, that could be placed in Castro’s food or drink.”
Fabián Escalante, a retired Cuban intelligence officer who looked after Castro for decades gave a brief narration of what went down that faithful day.
From lover to would-be assassin
The CIA decided to use poisoning method again and this time, via his lover, Marita Lorenz. She reportedly wrote in her 1993 memoir, “Marita: One Woman’s Extraordinary Tale of Love and Espionage from Castro to Kennedy.”
Lorenzo was sent back to Cuba when she visited the United State with poisonous pills . But when she got to Havana, she found that the pills had dissolved in the jar of face cream where she had hidden them and, worse yet, Castro was aware of the plot.
It all seemed like a movie but the woman recalled Castro asking her, “Are you here to kill me?”and handing her his pistol as they met in a hotel suite for a tryst. Instead of shooting Castro, according to Lorenz, she fell into the Cuban leader’s arms.
Other Assassination Attempts on Fidel Castro
In yet another attempt, the CIA made a move to use a dive suit contaminated with disfiguring “Madura foot fungus” and deadly “tuberculosis bacteria.” But, according to the CIA document, the attorney whom they negotiated to use as purveyor, turned down the offer because he had already given one to Castro a dive suit as a gift.
As the Cuban leader became the one of the longest-ruling heads of state in the world, plots to assassinate him remain constant. According to Escalante, all moves to eliminate him including, being targeted with sniper rifles, explosive-laden baseballs, poisoned cigars and pistols disguised as news camera, airplane and hotel bombing. The perpetrators were reported arrested and controversially pardoned.
Castro was forced out of power not by the several death threats but an ailing health. It was reported that in 2006, having given up his beloved cigars and switched to a mostly vegetarian diet for health reasons. He was afflicted by an intestinal ailment.
Two years later he ceded power his brother Raul Castro, but the legend lead the last months of his life away from spotlight and during his 90th birthday in August 2016 (before his demise), Castro appeared again in public and the Cuban government honoured him with a sign which reads, “Long live Fidel.”