exploding seashell

Fidel Castro was a thorn in the side of the United States and many other countries for many years. The CIA has long been rumored to have planned a series of assassination attempts against Castro using elaborate means, from using exploding cigars to poisoned pills to putting thallium salt in his shoes. Castro’s inner circle estimate that there were some 634 attempts to take his life including, giving Castro poisoned cigars, gifting him with a scuba suit lined with a skin-eating fungus, and stabbing him with a poisoned needle hidden inside a pen. There were also a number of plots to humiliate him as well, including the plot to spray Castro’s broadcasting studio with an LSD-like substance so he’d trip and fall while giving one of his speeches and (hopefully) sound very silly too. And they wanted to dust his shoes with a substance that would make his beard fall out. Those didn’t happen either.

But the document officially reveals some of the schemes focused on Castro’s love of skin diving, hoping that he would pick up the beach shell and trigger an explosive, and another that considered giving the revolutionary a contaminated diving suit. That of course leaves a lot to chance and makes the beach unsafe for anyone else there, or that the wrong person might pick up the seashell. These ideas for assassination attempts, whether real or rumored, were wild and often crazy, but at the very least, they show just how frustrating a man Fidel Castro was. When people consider booby trapping a seashell, you know they are grasping at straws. Still, such an attempt wouldn’t work on just any “mark” because not every mark would possibly pick up a seashell.

In each of these attempts or imaginary attempts, Fidel Castro walked away unscathed. It wasn’t that attempts weren’t made it was just that Fidel Castro wasn’t killed in the attempts. I don’t know how he escaped, and many people wish he had not. His reign of terror was far too long and far too horrific. In the end, Castro, who overthrew US-backed Cuban leader Fulgencio Batista in 1959, died of natural causes on November 25, 2016, at age 90, leaving power to his brother Raul.

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