Former Cuban President Fidel Castro knew that U.S. President John F. Kennedy was going to be shot in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, former CIA analyst Brian Latell says in his new book, "Castro's Secrets. The CIA and Cuba's Intelligence Machine."
"There's no doubt that Fidel Castro has lied for more than 49 years about what he knew regarding the assassination of President Kennedy," Latell said during a presentation Thursday at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington.
Latell, the retired chief of the CIA's National Intelligence Office for Latin America between 1990-1994, has been observing Castro since the 1960s.
"Fidel knew there would be a shooting in Texas," Latell said.
Hours before the slaying, the young Cuban agent Florentino Aspillaga, in charge of intercepting from the island the radio communications of the CIA station in Miami and tracking the movements of CIA ships that could carry out clandestine operations against Castro, received a somewhat unusual order.
There's no doubt that Fidel Castro has lied for more than 49 years about what he knew regarding the assassination of President Kennedy.
- Brian Latell, former CIA analyst
"Suspend all your efforts against the CIA and focus all your equipment, antennas and attention on Texas," Latell said, citing conversations with Aspillaga, who defected in 1987 and agreed in 2007 to be interviewed by the former analyst to tell his story.
"They knew. Fidel knew about it," Latell says Aspillaga, who was once head of Cuban secret services, told him.
He also said, according to Latell, that the regime had information about the killer Lee Harvey Oswald.
Oswald, a Communist sympathizer and supporter of the Cuban regime, visited Cuba in Sept. 1963 with the intention of fighting for "uncle Fidel," as he called him.
There is no evidence that the assassin collaborated with Cuban intelligence services, but even so the authorities hid what they knew about Oswald "out of fear," according to the author.
In the Kennedy era, the two presidents were sworn enemies and Castro thought that Washington would blame Havana and try to invade the island in reprisal for the assassination.
The author has compared Aspillaga's revelations with interviews of more than 60 CIA officers and FBI agents along with some government officials, most of them retired, as well as close to 50,000 declassified documents available at the National Archives.