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When CIAs Poisoned Capsule for Castro Stuck to the Freezer!

That the notorious US Central Intelligence Agency mounted innumerable attempts to kill its bete noire, Cubas Fidel Castro, is well known .

Forget the politics of it all, the CIA has indeed been resourceful, even if they came to grief every time. Castro has already turned 80. Still the recently declassified documents of the agency do make fascinating reading. And now Cuban intelligence sources too add some icing to the cake.

The closest the CIA came to killing Cuba's Fidel Castro was a 1963 attempt with a poison pill delivered by American mobsters that was to be slipped into a chocolate milkshake, a former Cuban intelligence chief said.

But the capsule stuck to the freezer where it was hidden in the cafeteria of the Havana Libre (ex Hilton) Hotel and ripped open when the would-be assassin waiter went to get the poison.

"That moment was the closest the CIA got to assassinating Fidel," retired state security general Fabian Escalante said.

Castro, who seized power in a 1959 revolution that turned Cuba into a communist state 90 miles away from the United States, has survived hundreds of attempts on his life by his enemies, from car ambushes to grenade attacks in baseball stadiums, Escalante said.

Some of the most imaginative cloak-and-dagger plots were the brainchild of the Central Intelligence Agency, he said.

They included poisoned cigars, an exploding shell meant to be planted in his favorite underwater fishing location and a scuba diving wet suit tainted with toxins.

Among early attempts devised by the CIA to discredit Castro was a plan to place chemical powders on his boots that would cause his beard to fall out when he was in New York to speak at the United Nations in 1960.

When that failed, the CIA planned to slip him a box of cigars tainted with LSD so that he would burst into fits of laughter during a television interview, said Escalante,
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