Fidel Castro

It was in the summer of 1962 that this campaign began, when Sidney
Gottlieb, the CIA’s chemist, devoted all his efforts to contaminating a
diving suit that was supposed to be worn by Fidel.

Each part of the diving equipment that would come into contact with the
respiratory tracts and skin, was carefully infected with the tuberculosis
bacterium and a poisonous mushroom called “pie maduro” which, on
post-mortem examination, is found to trigger death by decomposing the
victim’s tissues while he is living until causing death under
excruciating pain.

To execute the plan, the CIA factored in exploiting Fidel’s hospitality
to James Donovan. Donovan was the US lawyer who was trying to reach a
bargain with Castro for the Bay of Pigs mercenaries to be set free; but
several versions would have it that the North American Donavan refused
outright or looked for a pretext not to hand over this fatal gift to his

Perhaps ethical principles motivated Donavan’s conduct. This is plausible
for it is difficult to find an example of a government acting with equal
treachery when dealing with another state in times of peace.

In addition, at that time, the US CIA perfected another plan: they would
irrigate a TV studio where the Commander-in-Chief was scheduled to appear
with a drug which would cause him to conduct himself irrationally before
the public. They also pursued other attempts to apply a substance that
would make him lose the beard, that by this time, was a hallmark of his

Neither was there a shortage of attempts to put before Fidel, tobacco
contaminated with a fatal bacterium and to poison him with cyanide pills,
expressly conceived so as not to leave traces.

Following the defeat at the Bay of Pigs, the United States was seeking
revenge, to destabilize the Island and to create conditions for a direct
invasion under the so-called “Plan Mangosta”. This plan was made public
some years after and specified that one of the missions was to “destroy
the harvests with biological or chemical weapons, and to change the regime
before the forthcoming Congressional elections in November 1962”.

Shortly after this plan was articulated, the Cuban agriculture was
contaminated with a pathogen, the Newcastle virus, that almost entirely
eliminated the poultry population from Cuba.

Almost all the cultivated fields and the entire production of livestock and
poultry were subject to endemics and illnesses concocted in CIA
laboratories; in the years to come, the Cuban population would be affected
chiefly by unexpected outbreaks of conjunctivitis bleeding, dysentery and
dengue serotype 02, that caused 158 deaths, including those of 101 children
in the 1980s, this being the worst human loss inflicted on the Cuban people
by US biological terrorism.

These aggressions continued even following the dissolution of the USSR and
the socialist camp in the 1990s, when US Special Services and the
Cuban-American Right considered that the time had come to provoke famine
and despair in the difficult economic situations that the country was faced

Important aspects of the bacteriological war that the US was waging against
Cuba, the biggest in History, would come to light after the findings of the
Senate Committee (investigating into the CIA’s illegal actions in 1975)
and other official documents and public testimonies of participants. These
would give historic reason to the declarations on these events that the
Leader of the Revolution had already begun to make as far back as 1964.

Anoosha Boralessa
Cuban Agency News
La Agencia Cubana de Noticias (ACN) es una división de la Agencia de Información Nacional (AIN) de Cuba fundada el 21 de mayo de 1974.