If there was one thing the United States hated during the Cold War, it was Communism, and Cuban President Fidel Castro was public enemy number one. The US government tried to assassinate him many times over the years, and the plots were as weird as they were unsuccessful. Of the more than 600 assassination attempts, the most extreme lengths the US went to to kill Castro include the mob, ex-lovers, and exploding aquatic life.
The US government went to these lengths because Castro presented a major challenge to US hegemony in Latin America. The Cuban Revolution removed a strong ally from power when it overthrew US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959. US officials feared that other revolutionary groups would take power throughout the Americas, and the US would lose influence to the Soviet Union in the region. In response, the US subverted the Cuban Revolution and other political movements that did not promote American interests. And - in order to do this - they came up with some truly strange Fidel Castro assassination plots.
Of the most wild Fidel Castro assassination stories, the one that involved faking the second coming of Christ and making the Cuban people believe that Castro was the Antichrist tops the list. Basically, the plan was to spread the word that Castro was the Antichrist all around Cuba and then simulate the Rapture, which would lead to a mass uprising to overthrow him. The operation called for a submarine off the coast of Cuba to shoot bright flares into the sky while an airplane circled overhead broadcasting a message from Jesus telling of his return to the Cuban people and ordering them to overthrow Castro. This plan never left the drawing board, but it certainly scores points for originality.
If there is one thing the mafia is known for, it's killing people. What is less known is that the CIA approached the boss of the Chicago Outfit mob organization, Salvatore "Mooney Sam" Giancana, to help it assassinate Castro. The mafia and the CIA had a shared enemy in the Cuban President. While the CIA was worried that Castro would spread Communism in the region, the mob had casinos and other financial interests on the island that they were worried would be taken over by the Cuban state. In a meeting in Miami, Giancana suggested poisoning the leader's food or drink, and the CIA passed "six pills of high lethal content" to an assassin to that end. However, the would-be hit man reportedly backed out of the plot, and it was never attempted.
Marita Lorenz has lived an amazing life filled with tribulations and tales of survival. She was born in Germany in 1939 and lived through the Nazi concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen as a child, eventually moving to New York with her family. Shortly after the Cuban Revolution, she met Fidel Castro when the cruise ship she was working on was harbored in Havana and quickly became his lover. After a tumultuous relationship, she returned to the US and was recruited by the CIA to assassinate the Cuban President. So, Lorenz hid two poison capsules in a jar of cold cream and met Castro at the Havana Libre Hotel - where he was living at the time - in order to rekindle their affair. Castro sensed that something was wrong and accused her of being an assassin. When she confirmed the plot, Castro was defiant, handing her a pistol and saying "You can’t kill me. Nobody can kill me." Obviously, she didn't shoot and returned to Miami having failed in her mission.
Fidel Castro and cigars go together like... Cuba and cigars, pretty much. While Che Guevara smoked a pipe because it was a more efficient use of tobacco, Castro stuck to stogies until he quit smoking in 1985. But in 1960, the CIA treated a box of cigars intended to be given to Castro with “a botulinum toxin so potent that a person would die after putting one in his mouth.” The cigars were given to someone to pass on to Castro, but the CIA never learned if the cigars made it to the Cuban President. Given that he didn't even die in the same decade as the plot, one would guess they probably weren't.