When Fidel Castro took control of Cuba it was supposed to be a turning point for the country. The people loved him and they wanted peace for Cuba. But as time went on, the charismatic leader proved that he wasn’t the benevolent leader that people hoped he would be. When it became obvious that Castro was not going to be an ally to the United States and was in fact a communist, it was decided that action had to be taken.
The CIA was given the task of eliminating Castro, but with explicit instructions that the United States should never be tied to it in any way. As a world leader, the United States did not want to be caught plotting the assassination of another world leader.
One of the more bizarre ways that the CIA plotted to kill Castro was with an explosive shell. This is not referring to an artillery shell, but rather a seashell. Fidel Castro enjoyed diving and there were certain spots where the world leader was known to dive.
The CIA thought that one way to kill Castro and not have it traced back to the U.S. was to plant a colorful shell filled with explosives in the path of Castro’s dive. To that end they purchased multiple books on ocean shells in the hopes of finding one that would be suitable to stuff with explosives. They needed a shell that was beautiful, one that would catch Castro’s eye and that he might want to pick up and take with him.
Finding a pretty shell for inspiration was not the hard part. As it turned out, the shells that were found in the region that Castro liked to dive were not large enough to hold the amount of explosives the CIA believed they would need in order to ensure Castro’s death. They needed something that could be easily hidden within the shell and not be detectable in terms of weight or size.
The shell assassination was never attempted, but it remains one of the most bizarre attempts to ever be planned by the CIA. It was also a plan that may have been known by Castro’s intelligence operatives because he had spies everywhere. The former leader of his intelligence agency documented 638 separate attempts on Castro’s life, many of which involved the CIA directly.