Louise's Reviews > Castro's Secrets: The CIA and Cuba's Intelligence Machine

Castro's Secrets by Brian Latell
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bookshelves: cuba, cia

Who would have thought that a tiny, poor tropical, island nation would have a top notch espionage organization? CIA didn't in the 1950's and 60's and as a result its major Cuban operations were compromised. From interviews with key defectors and from now declassified the CIA and FBI files, the author describes DGI, the spy organization that Fidel Castro and his brother carefully built and continue to run.

The atrocities of the regime and the megalomaniac actions of its leader inspired defectors who arrived at embassies. From them, the CIA learned about Cuba's sophisticated spy network and its reach. They learned about agents, double agents and "dangles" who were sent by the DGI as "bait" for the CIA to work with and trust. The defectors' stories lead up to the most provocative parts of the book: the potential Cuban role in the JFK assassination.

Through the evidence of a potential Castro involvement in the assassination, you see the inner workings of both the CIA and the DGI. You see how critical defector information is to the agency and how dangerous dangles can be. While Castro might have known in advance, there is no evidence linking Castro to the JFK assassination. The circumstantial elements are interesting, but not convincing. Also not convincing is the premise of Castro's motive: that President Kennedy, personally pursued regime change in Cuba after the Bay of Pigs up to and including a Castro assassination. Latell used a lot of "could haves" in the discussion of Desmond FitzGerald the liaison of the Kennedy's to the CIA Cuba staff. While Latell, does not seem to support the Castro involvement theory, he seems convinced that Kennedy actively pursued a regime change for Cuba until his death.

Latell avoids discussion of the various CIA involvement theories. There were no comments on the CIA - Cuba connections such as those of the Watergate burglars and the presence of some of them in Dallas on the day of the assassination. These anti-Castro operatives would be persons of interest to Castro. It would be stunning if they were involved and the DGI had ordered Florentino Aspillaga to listen in only on Texas on November 22, 1963 due to something picked up from eavesdropping on them.

This is a good summary of Cuban espionage as practiced in the cold war. Those who liked this book will also enjoy Latell's After Fidel: Raul Castro and the Future of Cuba's Revolution.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
September 8, 2013 – Finished Reading
September 10, 2013 – Shelved
September 10, 2013 – Shelved as: cuba
September 10, 2013 – Shelved as: cia

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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Louise Thanks for putting me on to this book.
It was a good follow up to After Fidel.
I understand that After Fidel has since been revised/updated since I read it.


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