Exile's Slaying called Reprisal
By Hilda Inclan and Louis Salome
A former major in Fidel Castro's army who was shot to death in Puerto Rico and buried here today was one of Castro's most implacable foes and a close friend of a man being held in Mexico for the attempted kidnaping of a Cuban consul there.
Aldo Vera, 43, and Gaspar Jimenez had been close friends since they joined the Cuban underground's fight against Castro in the early 1960s, Vera's widow said.
Jimenez and Orestes Ruiz were arrested in Mexico for attempting to kidnap a Cuban consul there. They were working for CORU, an organization of revolutionary antiCastro groups led by Dr. Orlando Bosch, who is being held in Venezuela in connection with the bombing of a Cubana jet that crashed near Barbados killing all 73 aboard.
"He (Vera) was killed by Castro in reprisal for the plane explosion because he is one of the bravest exile leaders around," said Manuel Saco, one of the founders of Vera's anti-Castro group, Movement of American Patriotic Actions (MAPA).
"His case is one of the clearest examples of interference from Castro," said Carlos Prio, former president of Cuba, who visited the funeral home. "Gaspar Jimenez in Mexico was working with Aldo Vera."
Vera's widow Gipsy described her husband and Jimenez as "untiring fighters for the freedom of Cuba." She denied that Vera was a member of CORU or that Jimenez was working for Vera.
Miami anti-Castro revolutionaries. who paid their respects dueing an evening vigil at Flagler Street's Rivero Funeral Home yesterday, described Vera as a man always ready to join any serious endeavor against Castro.
Mrs. Vera said one of the things that led to his death was a patriotic rally he organized in San Juan on Oct. 10 to mark another anniversary of the beginning of Cuba's 10 year war against Spain.
"He raised the Cuban flag and had the Cuban national anthem played as if it were being done in Cuban territory," she said. "The Communists there couldn't tolerate that."
The Veras' two sons, Aldo, 16, and Alex, 14, were part of the honor guard his father's colleagues maintained in front of his coffin around the clock. "They weren't even brave enough to shoot him from the front," Aldo said angrily.
His father was shot twice in the back Monday from a parked car as he walked by it on his way to a gas station.
As head of "Action and Sabotage" in Havana's underground before Castro, Vera took credit for "the night of the 100 bombs," when a series of bombs exploded in Havana in 1957. He once was injured in Havana when a bomb he and an associate were handling exploded accidentally.
After Castro's, victory Jan. 1, 1959, Vera became the first Havana police chief, and later was made chief of Castro's Bureau of Investigation.
He was transferred to the Army and later turned against Castro when the Cuban Premier started leaning toward Communism.
Vera participated in various commando raids from Miami, and was later a central figure in the Revolutionary Directorate here in 1972. In the past four years he was an accountant and jeweler in Puerto Rico.
He was buried at 9:30 a.m. in the Woodlawn Memorial Park.