Fidel Castro FBI - CIA Files
1,035 pages of FBI and CIA files covering Cuban leader Fidel Castro, archived on CD-ROM.
In 1940, Cuba adopted a democratic constitution. Presidential elections were held in 1940, 1944 and 1948. In 1952 when former Cuban President Fulgencio Batista found himself running third in the polls for the presidential elections scheduled for that year, he decided to take the matter out of the hands of the voters. The Batista coup met with widespread opposition within Cuba, including that of political parties, unions, businessmen and students. Those opposed to Batista's dictatorship, which grew more brutal and repressive as the 1950s progressed, called for a return to the 1940 Constitution's assurances of civil liberties and free elections. Indeed, this also was the platform of the July 26 Movement, headed by Fidel Castro and a small band of guerrillas who became a symbol of the widespread rejection of Batista's regime.
Batista suddenly fled Cuba on New Year's Day 1959. On January 3, 1959, a column of rebels advanced along Cuba's main highway towards Havana. At the head of the column was 33-year-old Fidel Castro Ruz. Fidel Castro, capturing the sentiment of the moment, promised the eager population an early return to democratic elections and the restoration of civil liberties, forswearing any personal ambition to hold public office. Instead, the Castro regime held iron rule, conducting summary trials and executions; suppressed political opposition; closed independent media outlets; ended independent economic activity; and formed strong economic and military ties with the Soviet Union.
Cuba's Communist revolution, with Soviet support, was exported throughout Latin America and Africa during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Fidel Castro has survived ten consecutive U.S. presidential administrations, the U.S. supported Bay of Pigs invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, several CIA assassination attempts, an economic embargo, the collapse of its sponsor the Soviet Union, and years of economic hardships
761 pages of FBI files dating from 1960 to 1975. The files chiefly covers the FBI's discovery of CIA plans to assassinate Castro with the help of underworld figures. The CIA believed that underworld figures, who had thieved in Cuba during the Batista regime, still had the contacts in Cuba to facilitate the naturalizing of Fidel Castro. A hotel employee inquiring about an unpaid hotel bill at the Riviera in Las Vegas, lead to the discovery of recordings of tapped phone conversations between Dan Rowan of the comedy team Rowan and Martin, and the former girlfriend of Sam Giancana, Phyllis McGuire, of the singing act, the McGuire Sisters. The FBI traced this incident to CIA's dealing with Chicago La Costra Notra figures Sam Giancana and John Roselli.
In a memo, a FBI agent states that Attorney General Robert Kennedy said that because of the CIA involvement with Roselli and Giancana, "it would be very difficult to initiate any prosecution against Ginacana." Files show the FBI's concern that the CIA had compromised itself by dealing with Roselli and Giancana. A memo details a contentious confrontation between an FBI agent and Sam Giancana at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, when Giancana was approached about his knowledge of the bugging of Rowan. Files chronicle John Roselli going to the CIA for protection, when he was under pressure by the FBI.
274 pages of CIA files dating from 1959 to 1993. Reports cover Fidel Castro and Cuba's military, political, and economic situation, relations with other countries in Latin America, Soviet-Cuban relations, the role and future of Raul Castro, and Castro's survival strategy. Material gives snapshots over time of the CIA's view of the condition of Fidel Castro and his regime's control of Cuba.
Also included on the disc is a 141 page September 2001 Naval Postgraduate School thesis titled, "The Next Transition in Cuba: An Analysis Based on Institutional Comparisons with Democratic Transitions in Central Europe." This study researches what lessons can be learned about Cuba's next transition by comparing Cuba's institutional environment to the institutional environments found in four Soviet bloc countries prior to their transitions to democracy in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The author of the study argues that a lack of internal oppositional organizations makes Cuba institutionally unready for a transition to democracy. The author believes that instead, an imposition of an authoritarian successor regime will characterize Cuba's next transition.