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Cryptonym: MHVIPER

Definition:
Economic sabotage operation aimed at Cuba.
Status:
Documented
Sources:

104-10301-10001: Excerpts from History: Western Hemisphere Division, 1946-1965

"One of FitzGerald's major successes against Cuba was in the field of economic warfare -- called the MHVIPER program in CIA." After a hurricane, the Cuban government planned to raise the price of sugar. "At a time when fluctuations of one cent a pound meant millions of dollars to the Cuban economy, publication of the essentially correct (US) estimate upset Castro's efforts to manipulate the market."

104-10100-10263: HIGH INTEREST IN DEBRIEFING ON CUBA

10/26/63: Cable DIR 77848 from WH/3/MEXICO to Mexico City, slugline PBRUMBEN MHVIPER: Asked Mexico City station to debrief LITAMIL-13 after return from Mexico City. Had previously left NY 10/9, left for the interior 10/11.

Dick Russell, "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (Carroll & Graf, 1992), p. 246.

An incident on 8/22/62 was probably related to MHVIPER: "...a British freighter under lease to the Soviets crept into a harbor in San Juan, Puerto Rico for repairs. Headed for a Soviet port, and carrying eighty thousand bags of Cuban sugar, the ship had damaged its propeller on a reef...CIA agents surreptitiously entered the customs shed and contaminated the sugar with a purportedly harmless - but unpalatable - substance. When a White House official came upon an intelligence report about the operation, President Kennedy was furious. Such an operation, he raged, had taken place on our territory and could set a horrible precedent for chemical sabotage. To the CIA's chagrin, Kennedy ordered the doctored sugar to not be allowed to leave Puerto Rico." Russell's source was "CIA Operations: A Plot Scuttled", New York Times, 4/28/66, p. 1.

David Robarge, CIA Chief Historian, "John McCone: As Director of Central Intelligence 1961-1965" (2015), page 115 of 251: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/DOC_0001262720.pdf

"...the SGA decided to interdict a cargo of contaminated sugar bound from Cuba for Eastern Europe. MONGOOSE operatives had tainted the sugar with a drug that would sicken anyone who ate it and, it was hoped, frighten Soviet Bloc countries from buying anymore of Cuba's chief export. On order from the White House, the US government purchased the cargo and dumped it."

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Contributors:
Bill Simpich

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