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Capsule Review

Castro’s Secrets: The CIA and Cuba’s Intelligence Machine

In This Review

Castro's Secrets: The CIA and Cuba's Intelligence Machine
Castro's Secrets: The CIA and Cuba's Intelligence Machine
By Brian Latell
Palgrave Macmillan, 2012 288 pp. $27.00 Purchase

The veracity of this book’s claims hinges heavily on the credibility of defectors from Cuba’s intelligence agency. Their testimonies form the rather thin thread from which Latell, a former CIA analyst, hangs his case that Fidel Castro may well have had prior knowledge of Lee Harvey Oswald’s intention to kill U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Latell’s logic is as follows: Castro was supremely dangerous, vengeful, and capable of daring adventures and brilliant deception; he was well informed of Kennedy’s many plots to assassinate him and had used self-defense as a justification for executing or assassinating enemies in the past; and because he micromanaged Cuban intelligence operations, he would have been aware of Oswald’s visits to the Cuban mission in Mexico City a few months prior to Kennedy’s murder. Latell labels the Kennedy-era covert actions against Cuba “a deliberate and massive campaign of international terrorism” but also calls Castro’s alleged failure to warn the U.S. government of Oswald’s intentions his “most despicable decision during his nearly five decades in power.” In Latell’s book, both Kennedy and Castro fare badly; a number of CIA officers who doubted the efficacy of Kennedy’s anti-Castro campaigns come off better.

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