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JFK Files reveal CIA efforts to take out Castro

JFK Files reveal CIA efforts to take out Castro
The latest batch of documents from President John F Kennedy’s assassination has been released by the National Archives, with details of the CIA’s multiple attempts to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro among the pack.

Many of the 13,000 newly released files are documents that had been available before, but now, with fewer redactions. It is unclear how much new material is contained in the new tranche, which is the fourth batch released this year. About 17,465 documents are yet to be made public.

“The documents released today were prepared by agencies prior to October 26, 2017, and were posted to make the latest versions of the documents available as expeditiously as possible,” the National Archives said in a statement.

One of the documents, dated April 14, 1967, details various efforts by the CIA to kill Castro using poisoned cigars and lethal pens, as well as wiretap schemes to listen in on his communications.  

On the day Kennedy was shot, 22 November 1963, a CIA officer in Paris gave a Cuban asset the Paper-mate pen that contained a syringe that the operative was expected to fill with poison.

“The needle was so fine that the victim would hardly feel it when it was inserted,” the document says. A memo, sent a week after the assassination, detailed Castro’s reaction to Kennedy’s death.

“Contradictions show that [Lee Harvey] Oswald was made the culprit by the police or was prepared to commit the act with promise of escape, and was assigned activities so as to have responsibility fall on or be insinuated against those whom the perpetrators wished,” Castro said, according to the memo. “It is clear that United States reactionaries tried to make Cuba and the world the victims of their criminal designs, even at the price of assassinating their own president.”

In 1992, then-US President George H. W. Bush signed into law the John F Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, compelling the US National Archives to publish documents surrounding Kennedy’s death within 25 years.

On the October 26 deadline, President Donald Trump authorized the release of 2,800 of the documents. He said he had “no choice,” but directed the intelligence agencies to go over all redactions in the withheld documents within 180 days. 

The National Archives released a further 676 documents on November 3.