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Alpha 66 (A66)

Updated: Sep 13, 2023


Insurgency Overview


Alpha 66 is an ultranationalist, anti-Castro militant organization headquartered in Miami, Florida that rose to prominence within Florida’s Cuban exile community in the 1970s (McPherson, 2018). Composed of Cuban political exiles, Alpha 66 had wide support from Americans and were allowed to operate by the United States government for their anti-communist ideals, even receiving limited funding and training from the CIA at one point. This support was short lived however, as the group acted without permission of the CIA several times and had their funding cut (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1964).


History & Foundations


Founded in the early 1960’s by Cuban exiles seeking to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro, Alpha 66 was a commando-style paramilitary organization that operated alongside other anti-castro militant groups at the time (McPherson, 2018). In 1977, the group claimed to have 63 active chapters. Interestingly, many of the original members of Alpha 66 had fought alongside Fidel Castro to topple the Fulgencio Batista regime and believed Castro to have betrayed their original ideas of liberty and freedom. Some of these members also served in the United States Army and were members of US Army intelligence services following their exile (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1964).


Militant Abilities


By the mid-1970s a significant number of Alpha 66 members lost hope in overthrowing the Cuban government by force and instead opted for promoting peace talks between the US and Cuba. This led members of the group to splinter and form different organizations. Additionally, the group began to lose government support by the 1980s and was subject to a crackdown by US authorities seeking to limit the strength of Cuban terrorist cells due to the normalization of relations between the US and Cuba (McPherson, 2018).


Approach to Resistance


While many of Alpha 66’s attacks were obscure and never reported, they claimed to have sent several groups of militants to sabotage Cuban installations in the 1960s (Pear, 1981) and were known to have conducted extensive firearms training in the Florida Everglades to replicate the tropical environment of Cuba. Additionally, in 1995, members of Alpha 66 claimed that they were currently conducting drive-by shootings on tourist beaches in Cuba. In 1981, several members of the group were arrested and detained by the FBI for attempting to transport pipe bombs, grenades, and heavy firearms to an undisclosed training camp in the Caribbean (Pear, 1981). While the group has mainly fallen into obscurity over the past decade, it is still reported that there are several active cells in Miami.


Works Cited (MLA-style)

Federal Bureau of Investigation. Second National Front of Escambray. 3 June 1964.

McElrath, Karen. “Unsafe Haven.” JSTOR, 30 Nov. 2015, 10.2307/j.ctt18fs4fn.


McPherson, Alan. “Caribbean Taliban: Cuban American Terrorism in the 1970s.” Terrorism and Political Violence, vol. 31, no. 2, 25 Oct. 2018, pp. 390–409, 10.1080/09546553.2018.1530988.


McPherson, Alan. “Caribbean Taliban: Cuban American Terrorism in the 1970s.” Terrorism and Political Violence, vol. 31, no. 2, 25 Oct. 2018, pp. 390–409, 10.1080/09546553.2018.1530988.


Pear, Robert. “7 EXILES SEIZED in FLORIDA LINKED to RAIDS on CUBA.” The New York Times, 17 Jan. 1981, www.nytimes.com/1981/01/17/us/7-exiles-seized-in-florida-linked-to-raids-on-cuba.html.



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