Covert CIA 1966 Operation To Assassinate Fidel Castro?

According to a recent article in Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba, May 29 was the 50th anniversary of an operation of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to assassinate Fidel Castro, then the President of Cuba. Here is what the article asserts.[1]

Cuesta Valle
Cuesta Valle

On May 29, 1966, Antonio Cuesta Valle, leader of the counterrevolutionary organization Commandos L and a CIA agent, and five “terrorists,” left Marathon, Florida in a 23-foot long speedboat.

That night the speedboat anchored near the Monte Barreto area of the Miramar district of Havana, and several men in a rubber raft went ashore and assembled bazookas. A nearby Cuban anti-aircraft battery spotted the speedboat and fired flares. This caused two of the infiltrators to return to the speedboat while two others fled in an area near the Hotel Commodore.

Hotel Comodoro
Hotel Commodoro

The two infiltrators on land were surrounded and killed. Meanwhile two Cuban naval boats sunk the speedboat. As a result four of the enemy were killed. The other two—Cuesta and Zaldivar Cardenas–were captured and arrested and after trial sentenced to 30 years imprisonment. However, in 1978 they were released and returned to Florida.

During legal proceedings in Cuba, the two men revealed new details of CIA activities regarding Cuba; the characteristics of the speedboat’s mother bases in Miami and Puerto Rico; the different routes followed during their operations to smuggle arms and men into Cuba; the composition of infiltration teams; the methods used to hide weapons and explosives; and the modus operandi of the enemy during infiltrations and pirate attacks against Cuban targets.


[1] Vázquez & Aguilera, Frustrated infiltration Monte Barreto, Granma (May 29, 2016).

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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

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