In October 1965, Fidel Castro allowed a flotilla of over 3000 Cubans to leave Cuba from the port of Camarioca. According to DGI defector Castro Hidalgo, a year prior to the exodus, the service had begun training operatives who used the chaos of the mass influx as both a means to get to the US and to quickly and convincingly assume new identities as Illegal agents. The DGI also coerced legitimate rafters to work for them following their arrival in the US. Afraid to refuse the DGI, many rafters agreed to cooperate. However, poor pre-departure tradecraft training doomed this latter effort.
Editor’s Note: The General Directorate of Intelligence (DGI) was the name previously used by the foreign intelligence wing of the Ministry of the Interior. Following a 1989 “scandal” and reorganization, this service was reorganized and given a new name – the Directorate of Intelligence (DI).