365. Memorandum From the Central Intelligence Agency Operations Officer for Operation Mongoose (Harvey) to the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose (Lansdale)0


  • Operation Mongoose
  • “Gusano Libre,” Symbol of Cuban Resistance
The term “Gusano” (worm) was first applied by Fidel Castro to counter-revolutionaries. Since then it has been used proudly as a symbol by the opposition to the Castro/Communist regime in Cuba. CIA plans a coordinated campaign to popularize, exploit and encourage the use of “Gusano Libre” as the symbol of resistance to the Cuban regime. So as to give the impression that adoption of the symbol is a spontaneous internal development and not an exile one, CIA controlled outlets will refer to instances of use of the symbol inside Cuba rather than calling on Cubans to adopt the symbol.
We intend to use the occasion of the next “Voice of Free Cuba” submarine operation planned for mid-August 1962 to announce that the “Gusano Libre” has become the symbol of popular resistance against the Castro regime, calling upon the people of Cuba to show their defiance of the government by scrawling this symbol in public places. The “Gusano Libre” campaign will expand upon this broadcast.
In order to give meaning to the symbol a declaration of principles will be announced.1 The declaration will cover such points as what the “Gusano Libre” stands for:
Defeat of Castroism and Communism.
Establishment of a truly democratic government based on the Constitution of 1940.
A system of agrarian reform carried out under provisions of fair compensation to former land owners.
The private ownership of property.
A free trade union movement with the right of the worker to engage in collective bargaining with his employer.
A minimum wage law, unemployment compensation, a social security system which ensures workers the prospects of a tranquil retirement.
Social justice in which every individual has the right to obtain an education and work.
The general declarations will be followed by more specific pronouncements as to what the “Gusano Libre” stands for and says. In addition to publicizing “El Gusano Libre” through the use of radios, newspapers, and mailing operations, actions will be taken to provide the people in Cuba with pictures of “El Gusano Libre” as well as instructions on how to draw “El Gusano Libre” on walls and other public places. A small bulletin titled “El Gusano Libre” will be prepared for inside distribution. Gusano Libre pins, armbands, seals, pencils, balloons, etc. can also be produced for inside distribution via mail, legal travelers and propaganda balloons.
Once the “Gusano Libre” symbol is established “Gusano Libre” actions will be broadened to include such targets as the G-2 and Soviet/Satellite personalities.
Much of the “Gusano Libre” propaganda cartoons, and related material is already developed and will be put into production and distributed following the “Voice of Free Cuba” broadcast announcing the adoption of the “Gusano Libre” as the symbol of Cuban Resistance.
William K. Harvey2
  1. Source: Department of State, ARA/CCA Files: Lot 66 D 501, Mongoose Operations. Top Secret; Sensitive.
  2. A marginal note at this point, in an unknown hand, reads: “This declaration will not be made.”
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.