According to the declassified documents, the CIA attempted to assassinate Raul Castro, the younger brother of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, in 1960. The top secret documents were published on the website of the National Security Archive at George Washington University.
The report claims that CIA recruited the pilot, Jose Raul Martinez, in Cuba. On July 21, 1960, he joined the crew of a Cubana Airlines charter plane to pick up Raul Castro and other high-ranking Cuban officials from Prague.
According to the CIA plan, Martinez was supposed to “arrange a fatal accident” during the flight from Prague to Havana. The documents stated that the pilot should be paid over $10 000. In his turn, Martinez demanded that, in case of his death, the US authorities assure his two sons to receive higher education.
Martinez was given the task to arrange the crash, while being en route to Prague.
The following ways, which can pass as accidental, were proposed:
- A. engine burnout on take off to delay or harass trip.
- B. Vague possibility water ditching approx. 3 hours out from Cuba.
Engine failure in flight was ruled out due to imminent danger of fire and lack of opportunity to save any passengers or crew.
When the pilot was already in the Czech Republic, the CIA headquarters in Langley canceled the operation, but there was no more way to reach Martinez.
Finally, the flight was carried out with no accident. When Martinez returned, he reported that “he had no opportunity to arrange an accident such as (it was) discussed.”
According to the archive documents, the attempted assassination of Raul Castro took place a few weeks before the attempt to eliminate Fidel Castro within the Bay of Pigs operation. CIA planned to pay the mafia $150 000 for Castro’s assassination with poisoned pills created by the agency’s Technical Services Division.
The documents were declassified amid the formal end of Castro era in Cuba. On April 16, Raul Castro announced his decision to step down as First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba.