Was the idea that Fidel Castro ordered the assassination of JFK swept under the carpet?

If you have been paying attention, you will know that I have been re-reading books from my modest library, as I can’t get to the public one. And I avoid buying books if I can. If I buy them at all, it is preloved or pre-hated stuff, as cheaply as possible. The choice is bottomless, but the library is still my preferred option.

The latest re-read is by William F Buckley Jr., called Mongoose R.I.P, and its central theme is the relationship between Cuba and the USA in the1960’s. The missile crisis, Khruschev, JFK, and all that, with a heavy emphasis on the socialist lunacies of Fidel Castro and the sheer awfulness of Cubans trying to live under that copycat mini-communist regime. And the Czar- or Stalin-like ruthlessness of Castro, who understood better, even, than his Soviet puppetmasters, that to try to make communism work, it calls for brutality and oppression. Buckley, of course, is/was a highly respected (sometimes reviled for his right-wing views) TV and Press journalist. His book may have been a novel/thriller, but he may have had access to information and theories which others may not have had.

The USA, as both Buckley and others have documented, tried many times to have Castro assassinated. Exploding cigars. Poison-impregnated wet-suits and beer and other bonkers wizard japes that came straight out of boys’ comic books. Nothing worked, and Castro lived to a ripe old age. Murderous tyrants so often do.

Not so his arch-enemy, John F Kennedy, who died in Dallas in November 1963. Shot by … well, by whom, exactly? Lee Harvey Oswald. Case closed. Acting alone. Possibly. But orchestrated by whom and why? The Mafia? Um, because the Kennedys had a big down on the Cosa Nostra? So they used a deep-dish nebbish in the shape of Oswald when they had access to the best hit-people anywhere? The CIA? Of course, of course, because, um, er, don’t know. And somehow in all of this, the visceral hatred of America in the person of JFK by Fidel Castro and the idea that he could get within a mile of the US President, is dismissed as fanciful and impossible. Too well-protected to be vulnerable to a cigar-puffing nutcase like Castro. How to explain Jack Ruby who shot and killed Oswald in plain sight? More Cuban back-door shenanigans? Possibly. No-one ever adequately explained Ruby.

Buckley postulated that a successful assassination of Kennedy, orchestrated by Castro, would have been all too possible, but in, what is, after all, a novel. The idea is that Castro, enraged by what he was convinced were the US-orchestrated attempts to kill him, decided to take his revenge by repaying the compliment and assassinating JFK. Buckley reminds us that Florida and Miami, in particular, was rammed with at least 250,000 Cuban exiles, some of whom had to be Castro-placed infiltrators. Nothing easier than to use them to recruit a disaffected fruitcake like Oswald (and have a lot of sniper backup around Dealey Plaza in Dallas). Frankly, it seems logical enough. What did the ages-long investigations reveal? The Warren report, for example. What it did not say, was at least as important as what it did.

What will I be re-reading next? You will have to wait for the next exciting report.



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Dr John Grierson

Dr John Grierson


Broadcaster, academic, journalist, columnist, humorist. Show- off contrarian. Seriously centrist politics junkie. British Americanophile.