There's no shortage of conspiracy theories about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, but this week a dramatic new chapter has been added to the list.
According to a retired CIA analyst who studied Cuban affairs in the 1960s, leader Fidel Castro had advance knowledge that Kennedy was about to be killed.
That's the explosive new claim behind his book about the 1963 assassination, although rumors about Castro's involvement in a plot to murder the president have circulated since the day Lee Harvey Oswald shot the US president during a trip to Dallas in November of that year.
Brian Latell, the former CIA analyst, became the agency’s chief intelligence officer for Latin America, and this week he reveals that he is certain that Castro at the very least knew the attack was going to happen.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, Latell claims that Castro was aware that Oswald, who had previously been denied a visa to visit Cuba at the country’s embassy in Mexico City, told the embassy staff that he was going to murder Kennedy to prove his allegiance to the communist cause.
'Fidel knew of Oswald’s intentions and did nothing to deter the act,' Latell writes in the new book.
Latell says he discovered the new information during interviews with former Cuban intelligence officers, and their claims were backed up by declassified US government documents.
'I don’t say Fidel Castro ordered the assassination, I don’t say Oswald was under his control. He might have been, but I don’t argue that, because I was unable to find any evidence for that.
'Did Fidel want Kennedy dead? Yes. He feared Kennedy. And he knew Kennedy was gunning for him. In Fidel’s mind, he was probably acting in self-defence.'
Latell’s book claims that CIA wiretaps of Cuban intelligence agents in the aftermath of the assassination revealed that they had a surprising level of knowledge of Oswald’s background when only scant details had been reported by the media.
Latell’s interview with former Cuban intelligence officer Fiorentino Aspillaga Lombard forms the book's central argument. Aspillaga defected to the US in 1987, where he informed the CIA at his debriefing that Castro personally issued the order to listen specifically for any news from Texas.
Latell’s claim that Castro was aware of Oswald’s promise to murder Kennedy comes from several sources, including the former FBI informant Jack Childs, who penetrated the dictator’s inner circle.
Childs said that Castro told him that Oswald had 'stormed' into the Cuban embassy, where he demanded a visa and when it was refused he left saying, 'I’m going to kill Kennedy for this.'
The Daily Mail reports that Investigations by the US security agencies and the findings of the official Warren Commission inquiry into Kennedy’s assassination, looked at Castro’s possible involvement but concluded that Oswald was a lone gunman acting independently.