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April 30, 2012
Fidel Castro and Richard Nixon
A “Top Secret” CIA report accuses then Vice President Nixon of shaping U.S. foreign policy to benefit a wealthy campaign contributor, a right-wing zealot who championed the assassination of Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
by Don Fulsom
One of Richard Nixon’s vice presidential secrets surfaced only in recent years. And it’s a doozy: a “Top Secret” CIA report accuses Nixon of shaping U.S. foreign policy to benefit a wealthy campaign contributor, a right-wing zealot who championed the assassination of Cuban leader Fidel Castro. This CIA document—completed in 1983—is known as “Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation, Volume III: Evolution of CIA’s Anti-Castro Policies, 1951- January 1961.” (The CIA declassified only Volume III of the five-volume history in 1998. It was discovered in the National Archives by Villanova professor David Barrett in 2005, and first posted on his university’s Web site. This volume is now posted on the Web site of the National Security Archive, which is suing the CIA for the release of the other volumes.)
Of course, it would not be the first nor the last time that Nixon—one of the stickiest fingered politicians in modern times—would be caught doling out favors to fat cats.
Yet this declassified document exposes something even seamier than Nixon’s run-of-the-mill pay-for-play illegalities. Seamier, for example, than soliciting congressional campaign funds from L.A.’s top gangster; or keeping a secret senatorial slush fund rounded up by rich businessmen; or widespread presidential financial corruption – including the sale of ambassadorships; soliciting bribes from billionaires; or a go-easy attitude toward the ultra-generous Mafia godfathers and their thuggish Teamster allies.
These fresh revelations involve war and peace, life and death. They lie buried among 295 pages of a CIA critique of the failed 1961 invasion of Cuba by CIA-trained Cuban exiles. Written by a CIA historian, this document provides rich new details on Richard Nixon’s central role in plotting the invasion of a foreign country, Cuba, and the attempted assassination of its leader, Fidel Castro. It faults Nixon for taking risky anti-Castro actions, in large part, to satisfy a well-connected Castro-loathing U.S. plutocrat, William Pawley.
Historian David Kaiser, in his book The Road to Dallas, notes that Pawley worked closely with the CIA “on building anti-Castro organizations both inside and outside of Cuba. He was, in effect, an informal (CIA) case officer.” As such, it is almost certain that Pawley was aware of the recommendation, in early January of 1960, by CIA heavyweight J. C. King for Castro’s “elimination.”