Articles by Brian Latell
In January, Alejandro Castro Espin also traveled, with Raul, to Costa Rica for a conclave of Latin American and Caribbean leaders, presumably interacting with many of them. A month later he led a Cuban delegation to Moscow where he signed a joint defense agreement. Married in the mid-1980s, he honeymooned in Leningrad around the time of Mikhail Gorbachev’s ascent to power.
Oddly, there is no mention in the letter of the release of the three convicted Cuban intelligence agents from American penitentiaries. The key figures of the large Cuban spy ring that operated in the United States had been heralded as national heroes by Fidel before his retirement.
Despite the importance of her case, some of the most tantalizing questions about her spying have never been publicly answered. Could the calamity of her treason have been avoided? What was learned about Cuban intelligence tradecraft? How was she discovered?
The news whipped across American intelligence community networks on May 28, 1987. I remember a frenzy of interest, exclamatory phone calls, wonderment. Brigadier General Rafael del Pino – hero in Cuba of the Bay of Pigs, veteran of numerous third world conflicts, confidant of the Castro brothers – had flown into Key West. No such high-ranking military officer had defected before.
Sunday, February 23rd Raul Castro set out the essence of Cuban policy toward the increasingly volatile situation in Venezuela. Speaking to the Cuban labor confederation he described it as “a complex crisis,” indicating considerable alarm in Havana about how Cuba’s vital economic and security interests might be affected.
Fidel Castro knew that the CIA was trying to kill him. There was no doubt; his sources were reliable. “For three years,” he told investigators from the House of Representatives in 1978, “we had known there were plots against us.” The history of Kennedy era attempts against Castro’s life is well known. There were several plots and bizarre schemes, two featuring Mafia kingpins, ones involving incendiary cigars, an explosive sea shell, and a poisoned diving suit. But the most promising of the killing plans ripened in a Paris safe house fifty years ago last month.
Just before noon on October 16, with a carefully-chosen team of hawk and dove advisers arrayed before him in the White House Cabinet Room, the president was told by a senior CIA briefer the precise nature of the threat posed by a Soviet missile installation under construction in Cuba.