America's Secret War Against Cuba
A lesser known ally was the mafia. Eager to get back their casino businesses on the island, the CIA worked closely with mafia bosses Johnny Roselli and Sam Giancana on assassination and sabotage plots against Castro and his nation's strongholds.
6. Decaying Beards
When the exploding cigar didn't work, the CIA came up with other ingenious -- or completely bonkers -- ideas to assassinate or deface the credibility of Castro.
First, an exploding seashell. As the Cuban leader swam in the Caribbean's lush waters, a seashell would be remotely detonated beneath him.
Decaying beards and LSD: the CIA schemed to contaminate Castro's clothes with thallium salts, causing his beard to fall out. Supposedly, when he appeared on Cuban state television, with a spotty or missing beard, he would give the impression of weakness and his government would fall from there -- somehow. Additionally, the TV studio would be doused in LSD, making the entire scene an Alice in Wonderland-like experience for the viewing public.
7. The Trade Embargo
The trade embargo, in place for roughly a half-century now, has been a hit to both the Cuban and American economies.
For example, in 1926, U.S. companies owned 60% of the sugar industry and imported 95% of Cuba's total sugar crop. Think of all the cans of Coke Cuba's missing out on now. Who knows? Had the sugar continued to flow into America, maybe we all wouldn't be drinking high fructose corn syrup.
Even more importantly, the embargo has prevented other countries from trading with the Cubans, for fear of crossing the will of the United States. That alone has been responsible for much of the economic problems in Cuba.
8. Cuba: State Sponsor of Terror?
The Department of State officially has placed Cuba on the list of State Sponsors of Terror because "it opposes the global war on terrorism; supports members of two Colombian insurgent groups, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN); and provides safe haven to several Basque ETA members from Spain."
Some might argue that when they U.S. recently enlisted Al Quaeda fighters to fight Libya's government, the U.S. government should have placed itself on such a list.
NEXT: The Bay of Pigs