Cuba 1961: CIA officers defused explosives set by Castro to murder thousands of imprisoned dissidents

Prison at Isle of Pines, Cuba.

It’s a fascinating and harrowing tale that not only highlights the courage and ingenuity of American CIA officers, but also the barbarism and wickedness of the Castro dictatorship. The very same dictatorship that rules Cuba to this day.

Via the Daily Mail:

How three CIA agents defused bombs in Fidel Castro’s most notorious prison that were set to blow after The Bay of Pigs: Newly unclassified files reveal the hail-mary plot by undercover officers to escape from communist Cuba’s Alcatraz

After the botched US-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro lined the walls of one of the country’s most notorious prisons with five tonnes of explosives.

But a remarkable tale that has been declassified for the first time reveals how three CIA agents imprisoned inside embarked on an incredible effort to ensure the bombs never went off.

David Christ, 42, was a senior officer of the CIA by the fall of 1960. Considered more of a scientist than a field operative, he was responsible for designing much of the bugging equipment used by the agency to spy on its fiercest enemies at the time.

But spotting an opportunity to swap the lab for the front-line, he embarked on what was largely considered a ‘suicide mission’ by his intelligence agency peers – travelling into the depths of Havana at a time where Castro’s communist regime was in full flow and relations with America had never been more strained.

Taking with him two operatives – relative rookie Walter Szuminski, 30, and Thornton Anderson, 34 – the three men headed to the Cuban capital on August 31, 1960, to bug the apartment of several Chinese diplomats and close confidants of the communist revolutionist.

But with Castro rounding up counter-revolutionaries and political prisoners by the busload, the trio’s presence in the city didn’t go unnoticed and they were detained by the state before they could complete the cowboy operation.

However, unlike many captured agents before them, the three men managed to avoid the firing squad, spending months in interrogations convincing Cuban soldiers they were normal tourists and engineers who had been coerced into espionage by a representative of the American embassy.

Against the odds, the story stuck. But the nightmare wouldn’t end there as the men were ordered to serve 10 year sentences in one of the country’s most notorious prisons, the Isle of Pines, a fetid facility on a small island off Cuba’s southwest coast.

[…]

After securing victory [at the Bay of Pigs], Castro’s next measure was to secure some leverage against the Americans to deter any other attempts of invasion.

The Isle of Pines prison was filled with dissidents and enemies of the state who long hoped to see Castro and his kind driven from power.

Many of those incarcerated had been figureheads of anti-Castro movements, and if the US wanted to provoke a counter-revolution, their first port of call would like be to free the prisoners of the Isle of Pines who would help set the wheels into motion.

The location of the failed Bay of Pigs operation suggested that the prison might even have been one of the invaders’ planned targets in the first place.

As a result, Castro ordered the prison walls to be wired with explosive for destruction and rigged to blow on his very command.

Read the entire story HERE.


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