Don's Blog: Closer To Death, Fidel Castro Acknowledges What Some Have Suspected: "I Have Been A CIA 'Operative' Since 1954"

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Closer To Death, Fidel Castro Acknowledges What Some Have Suspected: "I Have Been A CIA 'Operative' Since 1954"

In Nashville, Tennessee today, a Federal judge ruled that satire is permissible, both in verbal and written forms, but only by securing the advance written admission of the party reading or hearing the remarks that he or she understands the intent behind them. Judge Richard Kasssimouloudisandropoulous said that such an admission must be in writing and signed by both parties.

Meanwhile, in Havana, Cuba, former Cuban President Fidel Castro held a four-hour press conference during which he admitted, and spoke at length about, his long-time CIA connections.

"They recruited me in the mid-50s, long before the revolution. They presented me with a plan, whereby they would support me through my route to power, then we would do an old 'switcheroo' in order to bring in the Russians to support me financially. It was still in the first decade of the Cold War, and the Russians were making some headway around the world, and this was a creative way t sap their time and resources...And yes, that was the very word they used: switcheroo.

"I have to admit, I thought it was the craziest idea  had ever heard of! And quite frankly, these CIA fellows didn't exactly inspire the greatest confidence. They weren't that impressive on the surface. And none of them would enjoy a good Cuban cigar...But I have to admit that, over the years, the plan worked pretty well. We cost the Russians a lot of money that they could have put to use elsewhere, and over a critical, long period of time.

"The only time the Russians came close to figuring it out was during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I don't know why, but I could tell they had some suspicions, even though I raised Hell with them for taking the missles out...But the Bay of Pigs operation worked beautifully, and really cemented the deal..If we hadn't pulled that off so successfully, I don't think the whole plan ever would have worked...The Russians were sharp and tough, especially in the old Soviet days."

The press conference was the 107th since Castro became seriously ill in 2005. He has logged more than one thousand hours of press conference time since then, holding some as long as twelve hours in spite of his illness.

Asked if his brother, current Cuban President Raul Castro, knew about his CIA connections, Castro replied firmly, "Of course not. What a question! Raul is stupid! He does what I tell him to do. And I don't tell him everything I do. That would be senseless....But you already know that, or should, if you want to be a good journalist."

Asked if there had been any American movies that had accurately captured Cuba at the time of their viewing, Castro answered, "Only Topaz. Oh, I know it is not Hitchcock's best, not by a long shot. It was still pretty good, though. I liked the scenes with me and my mistress, even thought they couldn't call me by my real name....But my favorite Hitchcock movie was North by Northwest. We had just come to power then, and I remember watching it in the palace right after I moved in....I must have watched the damned thing at least 100 times."

Castro said that he used the term "operative" to describe his CIA role because he never had been sure what the proper term was. "Like many of you in this room, I like spy fiction, and they use that term...In fact, a lot of the CIA people I dealt with read those kinds of books. Cheap fiction....But I think they got a lot out of them. They could always come up with a good idea after reading those books. So I started reading them, too.....But as for the word 'operative,' pick your own word if you don't like it...Hell, I never was sure what I was."

Castro said that he was revealing his role now because he was old, and possibly about to pass on. "I don't know how much time I have left. None of us knows that. But whether we believe in the Great Beyond or not, we all want to leave as much information behind as we can, to help future generations...And the Soviets are no more....although I suppose Khrushchev and Brezhnev are kicking themselves right now."

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