Between 1960 and 1965, the CIA made a staggering 638 attempts to assassinate the Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro. During this time, Castro was seen by his countryman as a hero but lauded by the US as a dictator who committed human-rights abuses and impoverished his country. The US had a mark over his head but Castro's dogged determination laughed in their face and won.
The CIA had a secret program running at the time dubbed 'Operation Mongoose' that was tasked with assassinating and disrupting the Cuban government. Some desperate and downright bizarre assassination attempts included poisoning Castro's cigars, planting an exploding cigar and even a ballpoint pen containing a hypodermic syringe loaded with a lethal concoction designed to explode upon use. All of these attempts failed miserably, embarrassingly even for the CIA but then again, they're not hard to embarrass.
The CIA even enlisted the Mafia in Cuba to do their dirty work offering USD $150,000 (A LOT OF MONEY in Cuba) for the "prompt removal of Castro". Yep, you guessed it, these Mafia attempts failed too. The years rolled on and more and more attempts failed and eventually Castro became the nationalist hero as today.
Castro once said "If surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal." Damn right he would. You gotta give it to him though, regardless of his suspected atrocities, surviving 638 attempts on one's life is a feat in itself.
In 1977, US President Gerard Ford signed Executive Order No. 11,905 stating that "No employee of the United States government shall engage in, or conspire in, political assassination." We call this a way the US government saying "we completely screwed this up and have our tails between our legs."
There's even a documentary on the amount of attempts on Castro's life titled 638 Ways to Kill Castro.
On November 25, 2016, Fidel Castro passed away at the age of 90. Below is his official signature that will no doubt be remembered as the man who defined the evolution of Cuban politics and lived to tell the story.