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Cryptonym: MHVIPER

Definition:
Economic denial program focusing on sabotage of all Cuban traffic involving buying, selling, and shipment of parts and supplies.
Status:
Documented
Sources:

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

An incident on 8/22/62 was a precedent 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."

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.

104-10100-10099: CUBA ECONOMIC DENIAL PROGRAM

9/24/63, SAS/EOB W. COWGILL, x 6567, Book Cable DIR 72666: "(CIA) operations supporting general (US) economic denial program against Cuba are becoming so pervasive and complex it now necessary set up program in order channel correspondence of all interested components, categorize assets, ensure efficient coordinated HQs action, maintain satisfactory record of assignments, etc. IDEN A (104-10100-10095: MHVIPER) is traffic slug assigned this program...(MHVIPER) should be used on all traffic concerned with Cuban machinations involving buying, selling, and shipment of parts and supplies, e.g., Lomar(?) attempts displace Rabien and Stadtlander (ships), Sybell/Unsigma(?) when they involved etc. Do not confuse with Iden B (104-100-10095: ZRWAGON) which separate program involved with recruitment (of) Cuban seamen and sabotaging of Cuban ships and cargoes...(MHVIPER) file, a CS (clandestine services) subject file, has been assigned no. 200-120-58, restricted to correspondence of a general nature of concern to all addees. Intel reporting on this subject should also be slugged (MHVIPER). Prospects attaining almost complete coverage Cuban purchasing, bartering, and other commercial arrangements via penetrations and audio appear excellent...FYI following are principal economic denial targets in priority order: A. Economic power generating plants with emphasis on replacement vital parts; B. Petroleum refineries and industries with emphasis on denial vital parts and denial bright stock and lube oil additives; C. Transportation, with emphasis on denial of replacement parts for ships, diesel locomotives, tractors, trucks, buses, and automobiles; D. Miscellaneous items with emphasis on parts for machinery used in key industries...actual denial action therefore should normally be handled by (State Dept.), ODMARK (Treasury?), or (US) private business and undertaken by (CIA) personnel when such is the only or best alternative."

Contributors:
Bill Simpich

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