In November 1961, the President authorized Operation Mongoose to foment an uprising in Cuba and overthrow Castro. The project was overseen by Bobby Kennedy with the flamboyant Edward G. Lansdale, the Administration’s favorite insurgency specialist, as operations chief. Mongoose endorsed sabotage, psychological warfare, propaganda, infiltration by guerillas, disinformation, and much more. Not revealed until much later were half-baked schemes to assassinate Castro with exploding cigars or to use depilatories to make his hair and beard fall out. Cuban-Soviet fears of an invasion were not totally unfounded. In early 1962, as part of Mongoose, the US military developed contingency operation plans for the invasion and occupation of Cuba. A wargame in August 1962 featured a mock assault on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques and the simulated overthrow of a leader named “Ortsac,” or Castro spelled backward.
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