Friday, August 24, 2012

Fidel Castro and the Kennedy Assassination


MA 1982


This thesis examines the allegation that Fidel Castro was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. A review of Cuban-American relations during the Kennedy Administration indicated that a motive may have existed. Three United States governmental investigations, the Warren Commission, the Church Committee and the House Select Committee on Assassinations, considered this theory while analyzing the available evidence in the fifteen years after the murder. After the three separate investigations ended, all of their conclusions indicated that Fidel Castro played no role in the assassination.


On November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, John F. Kennedy was assassinated. One particular conspiracy theory which received early attention was that Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, organized the plot in retaliation for the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) covert activities and assassination attempts against him during Kennedy’s administration from 1961 to 1963. The following chapters will focus on the evidence which suggested a Castro conspiracy, along with contrary evidence, drawn from data gathered by three United States governmental investigations, to show that Fidel Castro was not involved, directly or indirectly, in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

In analyzing the motives for the possibility of a Castro-arranged plot, attention must be focused on what might have provoked Castro to have wanted Kennedy assassinated. Chapter I will deal with the many reasons Castro had for being furious with the United States government and John Kennedy. The United States government had overtly opposed Castro’s rise to power and supported his rival, Fulgencio Batista, the Cuban dictator that Castro was trying to overthrow. The United States’ embargo against Cuba hurt the Cuban economy. In several of his speeches, John Kennedy took a strong stand against communism in Cuba. He vowed not to allow communist domination in the western hemisphere.

The Bay of Pigs invasion of April 1961 caused great concern for Castro even though he defeated the rebel invaders. Castro might have blamed Kennedy for this obvious act of aggression even though the plan originated during the Eisenhower Administration. The Cuban missile crisis the following year brought the United States and the Soviet Union to the brink of a nuclear war. Castro became furious when Kennedy forced the Soviets to remove the missiles while they did not even consult him about the matter. Kennedy appeared to have won the confrontation.

Raids by anti-Castro Cubans against Cuba from American soil added to Castro’s concern and problems. These raids continued well into the fall of 1963 and beyond. Castro was irate about the covert attempts made on his life by the CIA. In the middle 1970s when the theory that Castro had retaliated against Kennedy for these CIA attempts, the United States government became concerned.

The pre-assassination period was full of tension between Kennedy and Castro. Since the United States government was attempting to overthrow Castro, a motive did exist for the Cuban dictator to retaliate against Kennedy. However, by September 1963, leaders in the United States and Cuba began to try and solve some of the differences between the two countries. Despite the strained relationship between Kennedy and Castro, I have concluded that U.S. attempts to overthrow Castro did not result in the death of Kennedy. Although there were apparent motives for a Castro-arranged plot, I have found no grounds for accepting this theory since the available evidence did not provide for a persuasive argument.…



After my careful analysis of the question as to whether or not Castro organized the murder of John Kennedy, I have concluded that the Cuban leader as innocent of any wrongdoing in relation to the Kennedy assassination. I reached this decision based on a thorough examination of the evidence presented by the three United States government investigations. A final persuasive opinion on this matte came from G. Robert Blakey, the Counsel to the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

When asked about conspiracy theories related to the Kennedy assassination he stated the following, “The first requirement of a good theory is that it fit all the facts, not some of the facts, but all of the facts.” According to Blakely, only one theory fit all of the facts and he figured that elements of organized crime participated in the murder. 1

Blakely’s attention then switched to questions relating to Cuba and Castro. He responded by announcing the following: if one mentioned Cuba, it did not mean Castro, and Castro was not insane or reckless.

In early 1981, Blakely and co-author Richard Billings wrote a book called The Plot to Kill the President. The authors felt that organized crime arranged the murder. The organization coming from the Marcello group in New Orleans and the Trafficante forces in Tampa. In a chapter on Castro’s possible involvement, they concluded that he was not involved.

First they realized that by September 1963, the prospect of improving Cuban-American relations seemed apparent. Second, they considered the high risk that the United States would have immediately invaded Cuba and wiped out Castro. Third, there was no persuasive evidence to suggest that Castro’s agents participated in the murder. Finally the Cuban Government’s cooperation with the House Select Committee explained why Cuban complicity in the assassination never took place. 3

Even though three United States governmental investigations did not find conclusive evidence that Castro arranged the murder of President Kennedy, rumors may always exist that he did. The assassination remains today a controversial issue. The assassination of Abraham Lincoln still remains argumentative today. Even more than one hundred years after that event, conspiracy rumors continue to be discussed. It is possible that fifty years from now books will still be written on the Kennedy assassination and conspiracy theories involving Castro, the Mafia, and anti-Castro Cubans, CIA members, and others. The serious student of the Kennedy assassination must evaluate the available evidence himself and make his own conclusions. The final decision on Castro’s possible involvement is now up to the reader to determine.

[I will shortly post a link to the rest of this dissertation at Greg Parker's ReopenJFKassassination blog. ]

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