638 attempts. That’s how many assassination attempts Fidel Castro claims to have survived from 1959 to 2001(Guess he just can’t take a hint, huh?). For context, those are assassination attempts by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) throughout eight presidencies, starting from the Eisenhower administration to the Clinton administration. You’d think that after all those assassination schemes, one would eventually be successful, but Castro claims to have survived them all without as much as a scratch!

Cuban Communism and Castro

Fidel Castro during a public speech in 1985 (www.cadtm.org). Source: https://www.cadtm.org/Fidel-Castro-The-debt-is-unpayable
Fidel Castro during a public speech in 1985 (www.cadtm.org)

The Cuban Marxist, who staged a violent communist revolution that was the first in the Western Hemisphere, promised to the People of Cuba, free elections, full employment, living wages, a free education, and universal health care to all(As do they all). The downside was that it came at the cost of imprisonment and execution of teachers, college professors, the professional classes, homosexuals and pretty much anyone else who didn’t want to be part of his glorious revolution. He shut down anti-Castro media and turned the Cuban economy upside down by abolishing private businesses and nationalizing all US-owned establishments, including oil refineries, factories, farms, hotels and casinos, with Socialists running the economy Cuba went from having the highest standard of living in the Caribbean to competing with Haiti for the lowest.

Soon, the Castro-led Cuban government, after seizing power in 1959, would gradually gravitate toward the Soviet Union’s influence. This is where the United States would start to see the communist government as a security threat. Castro was backed by the USSR in toppling Cuban dictator, President Fulgencio Batista. Batista was a committed anti-communist supported by the US due to economic and military interests.

“At the beginning of 1959 United States companies owned about 40 percent of the Cuban sugar lands—almost all the cattle ranches—90 percent of the mines and mineral concessions—80 percent of the utilities—and practically all the oil industry—and supplied two-thirds of Cuba’s imports,” said former President (then-senator) John F. Kennedy at the 1960 Democratic Dinner. Cuba enjoyed thriving trade with the U.S. and was a favorite for vacationers.