No Wonder Castro is Still in Power

Recently declassified documents show America’s cock-eyed schemes to topple Castro — including a phony attack on U.S. forces, by U.S. forces.

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Two weeks ago, the Assassination Records Review Board assigned to look into President Kennedy’s assassination finished its work declassifying documents. Not all the documents dealt with the death of Kennedy. For your enjoyment, the MoJo Wire is posting an original memo that details a number of plans to topple the government of Cuban president Fidel Castro.

The 1962 memo, which reads like a bad brainstorming session between two over-zealous College Republicans, was sent by Brigadier General William Craig, a “Department of Defense Representative.” Whether or not Craig was an important figure isn’t clear. (A Nexis search doesn’t turn up any mentions of his name.) But the memo’s recipient, Air Force Brigadier General Edward Lansdale, definitely wasn’t just shuffling papers. Lansdale is considered one of the fathers of “psychological operations” and orchestrated U.S.-friendly coups in both the Philippines and South Vietnam.

It’s unclear whether any of these anti-Castro operations were ever attempted. Here are a few of our favorites, complete with juvenile names like:


Operation NO LOVE LOST


Operation FREE RIDE




Operation BINGO (Most boring name. Also most disturbing plan.)


Operation GOOD TIMES (No relation to the sitcom.)

View the full memorandum.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend