“Why should some people walk barefoot, so that others can travel in luxurious cars? Why should some live for thirty-five years, so that others can live for seventy years? Why should some be miserably poor, so that others can be hugely rich? I speak on behalf of the children in the world who do not have a piece of bread. I speak on the behalf of the sick who have no medicine, of those whose rights to life and human dignity have been denied.”
— Fidel Castro’s message to the UN General Assembly, 1979
The CIA’s plan to commit terror attacks in America — Operation Northwoods
In the early 1960’s Fidel Castro was becoming one pain in the butt embarrassment for the Central Intelligence Agency. Cuba represented an immense failure of US foreign policy, as the once American dominated government fell to Castro’s regime in 1959. In the upcoming years, the CIA would try numerous times to assassinate, discredit, and remove Castro from power. This culminated with the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961 where the CIA attempted a failed military invasion using Cuban counterrevolutionaries, and the Cuban Missile Crises, a showdown between the US and Soviet Union over Soviet nuclear missiles stationed in Cuba.
In 1962 the CIA proposed Operation Northwoods as a drastic but conclusive solution to the Cuban situation. Operation Northwoods called for a series of terrorist attacks on American military bases and civilian targets, which were to be conducted by CIA personnel disguised as Cuban agents. With supposed evidence in hand, the US Government would then have full justification for military operations against Cuba. Operation Northwoods was to begin with an assault on Guantanamo Bay by “Cuban Forces”. Then a series of terrorist attacks would be conducted by CIA agents in cities such as Miami and Washington.
Among the plans was a scheme to hijack an airplane then simulate a crash with an empty airplane that would give the appearance of “killing all passengers”. In Miami CIA agents were to assassinate a number of Cuban refugees, leaving evidence that the murders were conducted by Cuban assassins. It was also suggested that a boatload of Cuban refugees be destroyed, with evidence planted to blame Pro-Castro saboteurs. The plan even called for the mass shooting of civilians on the street by “Cuban military forces” as well as the bombings of American ships and buildings. There was even a plan to blow up an American ship, creating a “USS Maine” propaganda moment to galvanize Americans against Cuba. Finally, Operation Northwoods called for a fleet of American captured MiG fighter jets to fly over American airspace, harassing civil aviation and perhaps even shooting down an American airliner bound for the Caribbean.
The plan was drafted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, signed by Chairman Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer, and forwarded to President John F. Kennedy by Robert Mcnamara. Horrified by such a corrupt and unethical plan, JFK refused to approve of it. Fortunately, Operation Northwoods never happened. Documents of Operation Northwoods were declassified in 1997. A copy of a Defense Department memo on Northwoods can be found in the link below.
On this day in 1967, Marxist revolutionary Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara was executed age 39. Guevara played a major role in the Cuban Revolution which put Fidel Castro in power. He continued to study Marxism and decided that colonialism and capitalism were mainly to blame for problems in the Third World and that global revolution was the answer. When he tried to initiate revolution in Bolivia he was captured by Bolivian forces, who had CIA help, and was executed the next day. He continues to be a powerful symbolic figure, as for many he embodies rebellion.
“I know you’ve come to kill me. Shoot me you coward! You are only going to kill a man!” - Guevara’s last words