FINDINGS OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON ASSASSINATIONS IN THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY IN DALLAS, TEX., NOVEMBER 22, 1963.
Two primary factors prompted the committee's investigation of anti-Castro activists and organizations. First, the committee ascertained that as a consequence of the efforts, the failure and the eventual unwillingness of the kennedy administration to liberate Cuba from Castro, these persons and organizations, acquired the means, motive, and opportunity to assassinate the President. Second, the committee believed that Lee Harvey Oswald's verified association with anti-Castro Cubans while living in New orleans during 1963, together with his possible contacts with other anti-Castro activists, further enhanced the possibility of the involvement of anti-Castro elements in the assassination. For these reasons, the committee investigated numerous anti-Castro organizations and operatives and Oswald's activities while living in New Orleans to determine their connection, if any, to the assassination.
The committee initiated its investigation by selecting the most active anti-Castro groups and their key leaders from among the more than 100 anti-Castro organizations in existence in November 1963. These groups included Alpha 66, Cuban Revolutionary Junta (JURE), Commandos L, the Directorio Revolutionario Estudiantial (DRE), the Cuban Revolutionary Council (CRC), which includes the Frente Revolucianario Democratico (FRD), the Junta Gobierno de Cuba in Exilo (JGCE), the 30th of November, the International Penetration Forces (InterPen), Revolutionary Recovery Movement (MRR), and Ejercito Invasor Cubano (EIC). Their selection evolved both from the committee's independent field investigation and the examination of the files and records maintained by the Federal and local agencies then monitoring Cuban exile activity, including local police departments, the FBI, the CIA, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (now the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA), the Customs Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Department of Defense.
These "action groups" were the movements most active on both the military and propaganda fronts: the groups that not only talked about anti-Castro operations, but actually carried out infiltrations and raids into Cuba, conducted Castro assassination attempts, participated in the multiplicity of arms dealings and possessed the most vociferous and aggressive leaders. These groups and individuals, the target of the Kennedy administration's crackdown on anti-Castro operations following the Cuban missile crisis, were the bitterest and felt the most betrayed by President Kennedy's policies.
After selecting these groups, the committee focused its investigation on the key members in each group and concentrated on uncovering links to Lee Harvey Oswald. The committee found evidence or indications of contacts between Oswald and four individuals who were associated with anti-Castro groups. These person were JURE member Silvia Odio, Alpha 66 leader Antonio Veciana, CRC designate Frank Bartes, and DRE member Carlos Bringuier. Oswald encountered both Bartes and Bringuier in New Orleans during the summer of 1963.
The committee also focused its investigation on Oswald's activities while living in New Orleans from April to August 1963. Oswald apparently established some contacts with non-Cubans of anti-Castro sentiments who were not alined with any group, such as David Ferrie.
This staff report reflects the nature of the committee's investigation of the anti-Castro and New Orleans areas. It does not, however, reflect all of the investigative work conducted, nor all of the staff analysis relating to the anti-Castro and New Orleans areas. It does not, however, reflect all of the investigative work conducted, nor all of the staff anal-ysis relating to the anti-Castro and New Orleans subject matters.
Other areas that are not directly reflected in these reports include the statements of the "Clinton witnesses,"seven persons who claim they saw Oswald together with David Ferrie and a New Orleans businessman,Clay Shaw, in Clinton,La., during late August or early September 1963.
This report does not contain committee conclusions.
I. THE INGREDIENTS OF AN ANTI-CASTRO CUBAN CONSPIRACY
Was the John F. Kennedy assassination a conspiracy involving anti-Castro Cuban exiles? The committee found that it was not easy to answer that question years after the event, for two reasons. First, the Warren Commission decided not to investigate further the issue despite the urging of staff counsel involved with that evidence and the apparent fact that the anti-Castro Cuban exiles had the means, motivation, and opportunity to be involved in the assassination.
In addition, the area of possible Cuban exile involvement was one in which the Warren Commissions was not provided with an adequate investigative background. According to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:
Despite knowledge of Oswald's apparent interest in pro-Castro and anti-Castro activities and top level awareness of certain CIA assassination plots, the FBI ... made no special investigative effort into questions of possible Cuban Government or Cuban exile involvement in the assassination independent of the Oswald investigation. There is no indication that the FBI or the CIA directed the interviewing of Cuban sources or of sources within the Cuban exile community. (1)
Nevertheless, even from the paucity of evidence that was available to them in 1964, two staff attorneys for the Warren Commission speculated that Lee Harvey Oswald, despite his public posture as a Castro sympathizer, was actually an agent of anti-Castro exiles. Pressing for further investigation of that possibility, Assistant Counsel William Coleman and W. David Slawson wrote a memorandum to the Commission stating:
The evidence here could lead to an anti-Castro involvement in the assassination on some sort of basis as this: Oswald could have become known to the Cubans as being strongly pro-Castro. He made no secret of his sympathies, and so the anti-Castro Cubans must have realized that law enforcement authorities were also aware of Oswald's feelings and that, therefore, if he got into trouble, the public would also learn of them ... Second, someone in the anti-Castro organization might have been keen enough to sense that Oswald had a penchant for violence ... On these facts, it is possible that some sort of deception was used to encourage Oswald to kill the President when he came to Dallas ... The motive of this would, of course, be the expectation that after the President was killed Oswald would be caught or at least his identity ascertained, the law enforcement authorities and the public would then blame the assassination on the Castro government and a call for its forceful overthrown would be irresistible (2)
It is important in considering the possibility of anti-Castro Cuban involvement in the Kennedy assassination to recall the political and emotional conditions that affected the Cuban exile communities in Miami, New Orleans, and Dallas while Kennedy was President.
THE BACKGROUND: THE REGIME OF FIDEL CASTRO RUZ
If it can be said to have a beginning, the anti-Castro Cuban exile movement was seeded in the early morning hours of New Years Day 1959 when a DC-4 lifted from the fog-shrouded Camp Columbia airfield in Havana.(3) Aboard the plane was Fulgencio Batista, the military dictator of Cuba for the previous 6 years.(4) Batista was fleeing the country, his regime long beset by forces from within and without, now crumbling under pressure from rebel forces sweeping down from the mountains. When dawn came, the bells tolled in Havana and, 600 miles away, Fidel Castro Ruz began his triumphal march to the capital.(5) For seven days Castro and his 26th of July Movement rebels moved down Cuba's Central Highway while thousands cheered and threw flowers in their path.(6) Castro finally arrived in Havana on January 8 and characteristically gave a speech. Clad in his green fatigue uniform while three white doves, which someone had dramatically released, circled above him, Castro boldly proclaimed: "There is no longer an enemy!"(7)
That was not true, of course, and he knew it. A hard core of Batistianos had fled the country early, many long before their leader, and were already concocting counter-revolutionary plots from their refuges in the United States, the Dominican Republic and elsewhere.(8)
And it was not very long after Castro took power that a sense of betrayal began to grow among those who had once been his strongest supporters. (9) As each day went by it became more apparent that Castro's revolution was, as one chronicler noted, "leading inexorably toward an institutionalized dictatorship in which individuals were contemptuously shown of their rights and dissenters were met with charges of treasonable conduct, counterrevolutionary activity or worse."(10) Then, too, there was a large number of public executions. Within 2 weeks of his reign, Castro shot 150 ex-Batista officials.(11) Within 3 months, there were at least 506 executions.
The disillusionment for many Cubans deepened when it became obvious that the form of Castro's rule was turning toward communism and that Castro's attitude toward the United States was engendering a hostile relationship. The publishing of Castro's Agrarian Reform Law in May 1959, was a significant sign.(13) It was far more radical than had been expected and was obviously designed to strip both Cuban and American-owned sugar firms of their immensely valuable cane lands.(14) A few weeks later the chief of Castro's air force, Maj. Pedro Diaz-Lanz, resigned, charging "***there was communist influence in the armed forces and Government."(15) Then when Castro's own hand-picked president, Manuel Urrutia, announced at a press conference that he rejected the support of the Communists and said "I believe that any real Cuban revolutionary should reject it openly," Castro immediately forced him to resign and accused him of actions "bordering on treason."(16)
And so, after the broken pledges of free elections and a free press, the mass trials and executions, the assumption of unlimited power and the bellicose threats against the United States, it slowly became apparent to many Cubans that Fidel Castro was not the political savior they had expected.(17)
Then, on October 19, 1959, there occurred an incident which precipitated the formation of the first organized anti-Castro opposition within Cuba. Maj. Huber Matos, one of Castro's highest ranking officers and considered by most Cubans to be one of the key heroes of the revolution, resigned from the Army in protest against the increasing favoritism shown to known Communists.(18) The next day Matos was arrested, charged with treason, subsequently tried and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Shortly afterward, Castro himself called a secret meeting of the National Agrarian Reform Institute managers at which he outlined a plan to communize Cuba within 3 years.(19) There the suspicions of Dr. Manuel Artime, the manager in Oriente Province, were confirmed. "I realized," Artime later said, "that I was a democratic infiltrator in a Communist Government."(20)
Artime returned to Oriente and began organizing students and peasants to fight against Castro and communism. By early November each province in Cuba had an element of Artime's new underground movement. It was called the Movimiento de Recuperacion Revolucionaria (MRR). It was the first anti-Castro action group originating from within Castro's own ranks.(21)
By the summer of 1960, it had become obvious both within and outside of Cuba that the foundation for an eventual confrontation between Castor and anti-Castro forces had been laid. The Eisenhower administration had canceled the Cuban sugar quota.(22) Soviet first deputy chairman, Anastas Mikoyan had visited Havana and Raul Castro had gone to Moscow.(23) Ernesto "Che" Guevara had proclaimed publicly that the revolution was on the road set by Marx, and Allen Dulles of the Central Intelligence Agency had said in a speech that communism had perverted Castro's revolution.(24) By then, Castro had seized more than $700 million in U.S. property within Cuba.(25)
On March 17, 1960, President Eisenhower authorized the CIA to organize, train and equip Cuban refugees as a guerrilla force to overthrow Castro.(26) Soon it became common knowledge within Cuba that a liberation army was being formed and that a political structure in exile had been created.(27) As the flight from Cuba increased in size and fervor, the exile community in the United States grew in spirit and confidence. One historian captured the special characteristics of the new arrivals: They were new types of refugees. Instead of a home, they were seeking temporary asylum. They found it along the sandy beaches and curving coastline of Florida. They arrived by the thousands, into Miami. Along the boulevards, under the palms, and in hotel lobbies, they gathered and plotted their counterrevolution. Miami began to take on the air of a Cuban city. Even its voice was changing. Stores and cafes began advertising in Spanish and English * * *. Everyone talked of home only 100 miles away. And everyone talked about the great liberation army being formed in the secret camps somewhere far away.(28)
By April 1961, the more than 100,000 Cubans who had fled Castro's revolution lived in anticipation of its overthrow. They had been buoyed in that hope by public pronouncements of support from the U.S. Government. In his State of the Union address, President Kennedy had spoken of "the Communist base established 90 miles from the United States," and said that "* * * Communist domination in this hemisphere can never be negotiated."(29) In addition, the Cuban exiles had been organized, directed, and almost totally funded by agencies of the U.S. Government, principally the CIA.(30)
From a historical perspective, in light of its later radical change, the attitude of the Cuban exiles toward the U.S. Government prior to the Bay of Pigs is especially significant. Author Haynes Johnson who, in writing a history of the invasion, collaborated with the top Cuban leaders, including brigade civilian chief Manual Artime, described that attitude in detail: From the beginning, the Cuban counter-revolutionists viewed their new American friends with blind trust. Artime was no exception. He, and later virtually all of the cubans involved, believed so much in the Americans -- or wanted so desperately to believe -- that they never questioned what was happening or expressed doubts about the plans. Looking back on it, they agree now that their naivete was partly genuine and partly reluctance to turn down any offer of help in liberating their country. In fact, they had little choice; there was no other place to turn. Some, of course, were driven by other motives: political power and personal ambition were involved. Even more important was the traditional Cuban attitude toward America and Americans. To Cubans the United States was more than the colossus of the north, for the two countries were bound closely by attitudes, by history, by geography and by economics. The United States was great and powerful, the master not only of the hemisphere but perhaps of the world, and it was Cuba's friend. One really didn't question such a belief. It was a fact; everyone knew it. And the mysterious, anonymous, ubiquitous American agents who dealt with the Cubans managed to strengthen that belief.(31)
This "blind trust" by the Cuban exiles in the U.S. Government prior to the Bay of Pigs was specifically noted by the military commander of the 2506 Brigade, Jose (Pepe) Perez San Roman: "Most of the Cubans were there," he said, because they knew the whole operation was going to be conducted by the Americans, not by me or anyone else. They did not trust me or anyone else. They just trusted the Americans. So they were going to fight because the United States was backing them.(32)
The debacle at the Bay of Pigs was not only a military tragedy for the anti-Castro Cuban exiles but also a painful shattering of their confidence in the U.S. Government. The exile leaders claimed that the failure of the invasion was a result of the lack of promised air support, and for that they directly blamed President Kennedy.(33) Particularly galling to them was Kennedy's public declaration to Soviet Premier Khrushchev at the height of the invasion, when the Brigade was being slaughtered in the swamps of Bahia de Cochinos: "... I repeat now that the United States intends no armed intervention in Cuba." (34)
Even those exile leaders who were willing to rationalize the extent
of Kennedy's responsibility were dissuaded when Kennedy himself admitted
the blame. Cuban Revolutionary Council leader Manuel Antonio de Varona,
in his executive session testimony before the committee, told of the President
gathering the Council members together at the White House when it became
clear that the invasion was a disaster. Varona recalled:
We were not charging Mr. Kennedy with anything; we just wanted to clarify. We knew that he didn't have any direct knowledge of the problem, and we knew that he was not in charge of the military effects directly. Nevertheless, President Kennedy, to finish the talks, told us he was the one -- the only one responsible.(35)
A few days after that meeting, the White House issued a public statement declaring that President Kennedy assumed "sole responsibility" for the U.S. role in the action against Cuba.(36)
The acceptance of responsibility did not cut the bitter disappoint the Cuban exiles felt toward the U.S. Government and President Kennedy. Much later, captured and imprisoned by Castro, Brigade Commander San Roman revealed the depth of his reaction at the failure of the invasion: "I hated the United States," he said, "and I felt that I had been betrayed. Every day it became worse and then I was getting madder and madder and I wanted to get a rifle and come and fight against the U.S." (37)
Prominent Cuban attorney Mario Lazo wrote a book caustically titled
Dagger in the Heart.(38) Lazo wrote:
The Bay of Pigs was wholly self-inflicted in Washington. Kennedy told the truth when he publicly accepted responsibility ... The heroism of the beleaguered Cuban Brigade had been rewarded by Betrayal, defeat, death for many of them, long and cruel imprisonment for the rest. The Cuban people and the Latin American nations, bound to Cuba by thousands of subtle ties of race and culture, were left with feelings of astonishment and disillusionment, and in many cases despair. They had always admired the United States as strong, rich, generous -- but where was its sense of honor and the capacity of its leaders?The mistake of the Cuban fighters for liberation was that they thought too highly of the United States. They believed to the end that it would not let them down. But it did ...(39)
President Kennedy was well aware of the bitter legacy left him by the Bay of Pigs debacle. It is not now possible to document the changes in Kennedy's personal attitude brought about by the military defeat, but the firming of U.S. policy toward Cuba and the massive infusion of U.S. aid to clandestine anti-Castro operations in the wake of the Bay of Pigs was editorially characterized by Taylor Branch and George Crile in Harper's magazine as the Kennedy Vendetta."(40)
What can be documented is the pattern of U.S. policy between the period of the Bay of Pigs failure in April 1961 and the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962. That pattern, replete with both overt and covert maneuvers, had a significant effect on the reshaping of Cuban exile attitudes and, when it was abruptly reversed, could have provided the motivation for involvement in the assassination of President Kennedy.
In retrospect, the period between the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban missile crisis can be considered the high-water mark of anti-Castro activity, almost every manifestation of the U.S. policy providing a reassurance of support of the Cuban exile cause. As a matter of fact, only a few days after the Bay of Pigs invasion, President Kennedy delivered a particularly hard-line address before the American Society of Newspaper Editors on the implications of communism in Cuba. "Cuba must not be abandoned to the Communists," he declared. In appealing for support from Latin America, he indicated that the United States would expect more from the nations of the hemisphere with regard to Cuba and asserted that the United States would not allow the doctrine of nonintervention to hinder its policy. Said Kennedy, "... our restraint is not inexhaustible," and spoke of Cuba in the context of the "new and deeper struggle."(41)
When Castro, in a May Day speech, declared Cuba to be a socialist nation, the State Department retorted that Cuba was a full-fledged member of the Communist bloc.(42)
Another U.S. response was the establishment of the Alliance for Progress, after years of relatively little attention to Latin America's economic and social needs.(43) President Kennedy gave the Alliance concept a memorable launching in a speech in March, 1961, when he called for vigorous promotion of social and economic development in Latin America through democratic means and, at the same time, pledged substantial financial and political support.(44)
While the campaign to broaden its Cuban policy base was being pursued, the United States was proceeding on another course. In one of the first unilateral efforts to isolate Cuba from its allies, the United States in September 1961 announced it would stop assistance to any country that assisted Cuba. In December, Kennedy extended the denial of Cuba's sugar quota through the first half of 1962.(45)
Meanwhile, the secret policy aimed at removing Castro through assassination continued as FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover iformed Attorney General Robert Kennedy in May that the CIA had used the Mafia in "clandestine efforts" against Castro.(46) In that month, poison pills to be used in a plot to kill Castro were passed to a Cuban exile in Miami by a Mafia figure.(47) In November 1961, Operation Mongoose, designed to enlist 2,000 Cuban exiles and dissidents inside Cuba to overthrow Castro, was initiated.(48)
Although the bitter aftertaste of the Bay of Pigs invasion lingered
in the Cuban exile community, those who remained active in the fight against
Castro came to realize that these subsequent actions of the Kennedy administration
were manifestations of its determination to reverse the defeat. What Kennedy
had euphemistically termed "a new and deeper struggle" became, in actuality,
a secret war:
* * * the new President apparently perceived the defeat as an affront to his pride. Within a matter of weeks he committed the United States to a secret war against Cuba that eventually required the services of several thousand men and cost as much as $100 m illion a year * * * Kennedy entrusted its direction to the CIA, which * * * conducted an operation that could be described either as a large-scale vendetta or a small crusade.(49)
The fact that the agency of the U.S. Government the anti-Castro exiles
had dealt most with and relied on prior to the Bay of Pigs became, after
the invasion failure, the controlling force of the "secret war" was another
indication of the Cuban exiles that the Kennedy administration was, indeed,
still sincere about overthrowing Castro.
Within a year of the Bay of Pigs, the CIA curiously and inexplicably began to grow, to branch out, to gather more and more responsibility for the "Cuban problem." The company was given authority to help monitor Cuba's wireless traffic; to observe its weather; to follow the Castro government's purchases abroad and its currency transactions; to move extraordinary numbers of clandestine field operatives in and out of Cuba;to acquire a support fleet of ships and aircraft in order to facilitate these secret agent movements; to advise, train, and help reorganize the police and security establishments of Latin countries which felt threatened by Castro guerrilla politics; to take a hand in U-2 overflights and sea-air Elint (Electronic Intelligence) operations aimed at tracing Cuban coastal defense communications on special devices; to pump* * * vast sums into political operations thought to be helpful in containing Castro* * *. (50)
The nerve center of the United States "new and deeper struggle" against Castro was established in the heartland of exile activity, Miami. There, on a secluded, heavily wooded 1,571-acre tract that was part of the University of Miami's south campus, the CIA set up a front operation, an electronics firm called Zenith Technological Services.(51) Its code name was JM/WAVE and it soon became the largest CIA installation anywhere in the world outside of its headquarters in Langley, Va.(52)
The JM/WAVE station had, at the height of its activities in 1962, a staff of more than 300 Americans, mostly case officers. Each case officer employed from 4 to 10 Cuban "principal agents" who, in turn, would each be responsible for between 10 and 30 regular agents.(54) In addition, the CIA set up 54 front corporations-boat shops, real estate firms, detective agencies, travel companies, gun shops-to provide ostensible employment for the case officers and agents operating outside of JM/WAVE headquarters.(55) It also maintained hundreds of pieces of real estate, from small apartments to palatial homes, as "safe houses" in which to hold secret meetings.(56) As a result of its JM/WAVE operation, the CIA became one of Florida's largest employers.(57)
It was the JM/WAVE station that monitored, more or less controlled, and in most cases funded the anti-Castro groups.(58) It was responsible for the great upsurge in anti-Castro activity and the lifted spirits of the Cuban exiles as American arms and weapons flowed freely throught the training camps and guerrilla bases spotted around south Florida.(59) Anti-Castro raiding parties that left from small secret islands in the Florida Keys were given the "green light" by agents of the JM/WAVE station.(60) The result of it all was that there grew in the Cuban exile community a renewed confidence in the U.S. Government's sincerity and loyalty to its cause.
Then came the Cuban missile crisis. The more fervent Cuban exiles were initially elated by the possibility that the crisis might provoke a final showdown with Castro.(61) For several months there had been increasing pressure on President Kennedy to take strong measures against the buildup of the Soviet presence in Cuba, which was becoming daily more blatant. In a report issued at the end of March 1962, the State Department said that Cuba had received from the Soviet Union $100 million in military aid for the training of Cuban pilots in Czechoslovakia and that the Soviet Union also had provided from 50 to 75 Mig fighters as well as tons of modern weapons from Cuba's ground forces.(62) Fortifying the Cuban exile's hope for action was the fact that the increasing amount of Soviet weapons moving into Cuba became the dominant issue in the news in the succeeding months, leading to congressional calls for action and a series of hard-line responses from President Kennedy.(63) In September, Kennedy declared that the United States would use "whatever means may be necessary" to prevent Cuba from exporting"its aggressive purposes by force or threat of force" against "any part of the Western Hemisphere."(64)
The fervent hope of the Cuban exiles-that the Cuban missile crisis would ultimately result in the United States smashing the Castro regime was shattered by the manner in which President Kennedy resolved the crisis. Cuba itself was relegated to a minor role as tough negotiations took place between the United States and the Soviet Union, specifically through communication between President Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev.(65) The crisis ended, when President Kennedy announced that all IL-28 bombers were being withdrawn bythe Soviets and progress was being made on the withdrawal of offensive missils and other weapons from Cuba. In return, Kennedy gave the Soviets and the Cubans a "no invasion" pledge.(66).
If Kennedy's actions at the Bay of Pigs first raised doubts in the minds of the Cuban exiles about the President's sincerity and determination to bring about the fall of Castro, his handling of the missile crisis confirmed those doubts. Kennedy's agreement with Khrushchev was termed "a violation" of the pledge he had made 3 days after the Bay of Pigs invasion that the United States would never abandon Cuba to communism.(67) Wrote one prominent exile:"For the friendly Cuban people, allies of the United States, and for hundreds of thousands of exiles eager to stake their lives to liberate their native land, it was a soul-shattering blow."(68)
The bitterness of the anti-Castro exiles was exacerbated by the actions the U.S. Governement took to implement the President's "no invasion" pledge. Suddenly there was a crackdown on the very training camps and guerrilla bases which had been originally established and funded by the United States and the exile raids which once had the Government's "green Light: were now promptly disavowed and condemned.
On March 31, 1963, a group of anti-Castro raiders were arrested by British police at a training site in the Bahamas.(69) The U.S. State Department admitted it had given the British the information about the existence of the camp.(70) That same night another exile raiding boat was seized in Miami Harbor.(71) On April 3, the Soviet Union charged that the United States" encourages and bears full responsibility" for two recent attacks on Soviet ships in Cuban ports by anti-Castro exile commandos.(72) The United States responded that it was "taking every step necessary to insure that such attacks are not launched, manned or equipped from U.S. territory."(73) On April 5,the Coast Guard announced it was throwing more planes, ships, and men into its efforts to police the straits of Florida against anti-Castro raiders.(74) As a result of the crackdown, Cuban exile sources declared that their movement to rid their homeland of communism had been dealt "a crippling blow" and that they had lost a vital supply link with anti-Castro fighters inside Cuba.
There were numerous other indications of the U.S. crackdown on anti-Castro activity following the missile crisis. The Customs Service raided what had long been a secret training camp in the Florida Keys and arrested the anti-Castro force in training there.(75) The FBI seized a major cache of explosives at an anti-Castro camp in Louisiana.(76) Just weeks later, the U.S. Coast Guard in cooperation with the British Navy captured another group of Cuban exiles in the Bahamas.(77) In September, the Federal Aviation Administration issued "strong warnings" to six American civilian pilots who had been flying raids over Cuba.(78) Shortly afterward, the Secret Servicearrested a prominent exile leader for conspiring to counterfeit Cuban currency destined for rebel forces inside Cuba.(79) In October, the Coast Guard seized 4 exile ships and arrested 22 anti-Castro raiders who claimed they were moving their operations out of the United States.(80)
The feeling of betrayal by the Cuban exiles was given reinforcement by prominent sympathizers outside their community, as well as by Kennedy's political opponents. Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, chairman of the Committee for the Monroe Doctrine, asserted: "The Kennedy administration has committed the final betrayal of Cuban hopes for freedom by its order to block the activities of exiled Cuban freedom fighters to liberate their nation from Communism."(81) Senator Barry Goldwater accused Kennedy of "doing everything in his power"to keep the flag of Cuban exiles"from ever flying over Cuba again." (82) Richard Nixon urged the end of what he called the "quarantine" of Cuban exiles.(83)
Of course, the most strident reactions came from within the anti-Castro community itself. Following the U.S. Government's notification that it would discontinue its subsidy to the Cuban Revolutionary Council, its president, Jose Miro Cardona, announced his resignation from the council in protest against U.S. policy.(84) The Cuban exile leader accused President Kennedy of "breaking promises and agreements" to support another invasion of Cuba.(85) Miro Cardona said the change in American policy reflected the fact that Kennedy had become"the victim of a master play by the Russians."(86)
The extent of the deterioration of relationships between the Cuban exiles and the Kennedy administration is indicated in the State Department's reply to Miro Cardona's charges. It labeled them "a gross distortion of recent history."(87)
Against the pattern of U.S. crackdown on Cuban exile activity during this period, however, emerges a countergrain of incidents that may have some bearing on an examination of the Kennedy assassination. These incidents involve some extremely significant Cuban exile raids and anti-Castro operations which took place, despite the crackdown, between the time of the missile crisis and the assassination of the President. In fact, in the midst of the missile crisis, one of the most active Cuban groups, Alpha 66, announced that it made a successful raid on the Cuban port city of Isabela de Sagua, killing about 20defenders, including Russians.*88) On October 15, the same group sank a Cuban patrol boat.(89) On October 31, the day after the blockade was lifted, it struck again.(90) Immediately after the crisis ended in November, a spokesman for the group pledged new raids.(91)
During this period, other anti-Castro groups also remained active. In April, a group calling itself the Cuban Freedom Fighters reported bombing an oil refinery outside Havana.(92) In May, the Cuban Governement confirmed that anti-Castro rebels had carried out a "pirate" raid on a militia camp near Havana despite U.S. promises "to take measures to prevent such attacks."(93) Later that month, the anti-Castro Internal Front of Revolutionary Unity reported it had formed a military junta in Cuba to serve as "provisional government of Cuba in arms." Shortly afterwards, a group of returning Cubanexile raiders claimed they had blown up a Cuban refinery, sank a gunboat and killed "many" of Castro's soldiers.(94) It is not known exactly how many incidents took place during this period, but in April 1963 one anti-Castro fighter asserted that, by then, the U.S. Governement knew of 11 raids on Cuba since the missile crisis and did nothing.(95)
One analyst, reviewing that period of United States-Cuban relations, noted: "The U.S. Governement's policy toward the exiles was equivocal and inconsistent* * *"(96)
It cannot be determined to what extent, if any, the military activities of the anti-Castro exile groups were sanctioned or supported by the Kennedy administration or by the CIA or both. At a press conference in May 1963, in response to a question as to whether or not the United States was giving aid to exiles, President Kennedy was evasive: "We may well be * * * well, none that I am familiar with * * * I don't think as of today that we are."(97) And it is known that by June 1963, the U.S. Government was supporting at least one Cuban exile group, Jure. under what was termed an "autonomous operations" concept.(98)
In retrospect, this much is clear; With or without U.S. Government support and whether or not in blatant defiance of Kennedy administration policy, there were a number of anti-Castro action groups which were determined to continue-and, in fact, did continue their operations. The resignation of Miro Cardona actually split the Cuban Revoluationary Council down the middle and precipitated a bitter dispute among the exile factions. (99) The more moderate contended that without U.S. support there was little hope of ousting Castro and that the exiles should concentrate their efforts in mounting political pressure to reverse Washington's shift in policy.(100) Other groups announced their determination to continue the war against Castro and, if necessary, to violently resist curtailment of their paramilitary activities in the Kennedy administration.(101) In New Orleans, for instance, Carlos Bringuier, the local leader of the Cuban Student Directorate (DRE) who, coincidntally, would later have a contact with Lee Harvey Oswald, proclaimed, in the wake of the Miro Cardona resignation, that his group "would continue efforts to liberate Cuba despite action by the United States to stop raids originating from U.S. soil."(102)
The seeds of defiance of the Kennedy administration may have been planted
with the exiles even prior to the Bay of Pigs invasion. In his history
of the invasion, Haynes Johnson revealed that shortly before the invasion,
"Frank Bender," the CIA director of the invasion preparations, assembled
the exile leaders together at the CIA's Guatemala training camp:
It was now early in April and artime was in the camp as the civilian representative of the Revolutionary Council. Frank called Pepe (San Roman) and (Erneido) Oliva again.This time he had startling information. There were forces in the administration trying to block the invasion, and Frank might be ordered to stop it. If he received such an order, he said he would secretly inform Pepe and Oliva. Pepe rememebers Frank's next words this way:
"If this happens you come here and make some kind ofshow, as if you were putting us, the advisers, in prison, and you go ahead with the program as we have talked about it, and we will give you the whole plan, even if we are your prisoners."* * * Frank then laughed and said: "In the end we will win." (103)
That, then, is the context in which the committee approached the question of whether or not the John F. Kennedy assassination was a conspiracy involving anti-Castro Cuban exiles. It also considered the testimony of the CIA's chief of its Miami JM/WAVE station in 1963, who noted " 'assassination' was part of the ambience of that time."(104)
This section of this staff report details the evidence developed in the committee's examination of some of the most active anti-Castro exile groups and their key leaders. These groups were specifically selected from the more than 100 exile organizations in existence at the time of the Kennedy assassination.(105) Their selection was the result of both independent field investigation by the committee and the committee's examination of the files and records maintained by those Federal and local agencies monitoring Cuban exile activity at the time. These agencies included local police departments, the FBI, the CIA, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (now the DEA), the Customs Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Department of Defense.
The groups selected can be termed the "action groups." These were the ones most active on both the military and propaganda fronts, the ones that not only talked about anti-Castro operations, but actually planned and carried out infiltrations and raids into Cuba, conducted Castro assassination attempts, were involved in a multiplicity of arms dealings and had the most vociferous and aggressive leaders. These were also the groups and individuals who took the brunt of the Kennedy administration's crackdown on anti-Castro operations when it came after the Cuban missile crisis. These were the ones who, in the end, were most bitter at President Kennedy, the ones who felt the most betrayed. Finally, these were the groups and individuals who had the means and motivation to be involved in the assassination of the President.
The committee, however, found no specific evidence that any anti-Castro
group or individual was involved in Kennedy's assassination. It did appear,
however, that there were indications of association between Lee Harvey
Oswald and individuals connected to at least some of the groups.
GAETON J. FONZI,
(1) "The Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy:Performance
of the Intelligence Agencies,"Book V. Final Report, Senate Select Committee
To Study Governmental Operations With Respect To Intelligence Activities,
94th Congress, 2d sess., Apr. 23, 1976, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government
Printing Office, 1976, p. 4 (Senate Report 94-755), (hereinafter Intelligence
Committee Report, Book V).
(2) Memorandum of William T. Coleman, Jr. and W. David Slawson to Warren Commission, pp. 110-111, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 013105).
(3) "The Longest Night," Miami Herald, Tropic, Dec. 28, 1975, p. 7.
(5) Haynes Johnson, "The Bay of Pigs" (Norton, 1964), p. 17 (hereinafter cited Johnson, "Bay of Pigs").
(7) Id. at p. 18.
(8) "U.S. Seizes Batista Backer in Miami, "New York Times, Apr.9, 1961, p.4.
(9) See ref.5, Johnson, "Bay of Pigs." p. 23.
(10) Paul Bethel, "The Losers" (Arlington House, 1969), p.102.
(11) "A Selected Chronology on Cuba and Castro, Mar. 10, 1952-Oct. 22, 1962," Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, p. 6 (J.F.K. Document 013100) (hereinafter cited"A Selected Chronology on Cuba and Castro").
(13) Mario Lazo, "Dagger in the Heart" (Funk & Wagnalls, 1968), p. 186 (hereinafter cited Lazo, "Dagger").
(15) See ref.11, "A Selected Chronology on Cuba and Castro,"p.7.
(17) See ref.5, Johnson, "Bay of Pigs," p. 23. 17
(20) Id. at p. 24.
(22) See ref. 11, "A Selected Chronology on Cuba and Castro," Jan. 26, 1960, p. 9.
(24) See ref.5, Johnson, "Bay of Pigs," p. 18.
(26) Id. at p. 28.
(27) Id. at p. 19.
(29) "U.S.-Cuba Relations, 1959-1964: An Analysis,: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 011478.) (hereinafter cited "United States-Cuba Relations.")
(30) See ref.5, Johnson "Bay of Pigs," pp. 23-31.
(31) Id. at P. 27.
(32) Id. at p. 76. (33) Id. at p. 222.
(34) See ref. 11, "A Selected Chronology on Cuba and Castro,"Apr. 18, 1961, p. 26.
(35) Executive session testimony of Manuel Antonio de Varona, Mar.16, 1978, hearings before the House Select Committee on Assassinations,p.23.
(36) See ref. 11, "A Selected Chronology on Cuba and Castro,"Apr.24, 1961, p. 29.
(37) See ref. 5, Johnson, "Bay of Pigs," p.213.
(38) See ref.13, Lazo,"Daggers."
(39) Ibid., p. 299.
(40) Taylor Branch and George Crile, III,"The Kennedy Vendetta,"Harper's, Aug. 1975, p. 49 (hereinafter cited Branch and Crile).
(41) See ref.29, "United States-Cuba Relations," p. 39.
(42) Id. at p. 40.
(43) Id. at p. 41.
(45) Id. at p. 42
(46) See ref.1, Intelligence Committee Report, Book V, p. 11. footnote 4.
(47) Id. at p. 99.
(48) Ibid. See also "Our Heritage-The Exile Cuban Terrorists,"Washington Post, Nov. 7, 1976,p.C3.
(49) See ref.40, Branch and Crile, p. 49.
(50) Andrew St. George, "The Cold War Comes Home," Harper's November 1973, p. 70.
(51) "How the CIA Operated in Dade," Miami Herald, Mar. 9, 1975, p. 1.
(53) See ref.40, Branch and Crile, p.51.
(56) See ref.51, "How the CIA Operated in Dade."p. 1.
(58) Ibid. See also the memorandum of interview of Ron Cross Jan. 16, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 004721).
(59) See ref.40, Branch and Crile, pp. 52,56. 17
(60) Id. at p. 58.
(61) Id. at p. 62.
(62) See ref.29, "United States-Cuba Relations,"p. 48.
(63) Id. at p. 49.
(65) Id. at p. 53.
(66) Id. at p. 54.
(67) See ref.13, Lazo, "Dagger,"p.364.
(68) Id. at p. 378.
(69) "A Selected Chronology on Cuba, Apr. 1, 1963-Apr. 30, 1963," Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, p. 1 (J. F. K. Document 013101) (hereinafter "A Selected Chronology on Cuba").
(72) Id. at p.2.
(74) Id. at p.4.
(75) "U.S. Nabs Anti-Castro Fighters,"Miami Herald, Dec.5, 1962, p. 21A.
(76) New Orleans Times-Picayune, Aug.1, 1963, p. 1.
(77) "United States-Cuba Relations, 1960-1963:Neutrality Enforcement and the Cuban Exiles During the Kennedy Administration,:Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, p. 12 (J.F.K. Document 013099) (hereinafter cited"United States-Cuba 1960-1963").
(81) See ref. 69, "A Selected Chronology on Cuba," Apr. 6, 1963, p. 4.
(82) Ibid., Apr. 7, 1963, p. 5.
(83) Ibid., Apr. 20, 1963, p. 18.
(84) Ibid., Apr. 10, 1963, p. 7.
(85) Ibid., Apr. 15, 1963, p. 10.
(86) Ibid., Apr. 18, 1963, p. 12. (87) Ibid., Apr. 15, 1963, p. 10.
(88) Ibid., Oct. 10, 1962, p. 24.
(89) See ref. 77,"United States-Cuba 1960-1963,"p.8.
(92) See ref. 69,"A Selected Chronology on Cuba," Apr. 26, 1963, p. 24.
(93) Ibid., May 21, 1963, p. 10.
(94) Ibid., June 12, 1963, p. 5.
(95) See ref. 77, "United States-Cuba 1960-1963," p. 9.
(96) See ref.29, "United States-Cuba Relations, 1959-1964: An Analysis,"p. 69.
(97) Id. at p. 71.
(98) CIA memorandum to Director, July 9, 1964.
(99) See ref. 69. "A Selected Chronology on Cuba," Apr. 19, 1963, p. 16.
(100) Paris Flammonde,"Why President Kennedy Was Killed,"p. 69 (J.F.K. Document 013106).
(102) Ibid., Associated Press dispatch, May 10, 1963.
(103) See ref.5, Johnson, "Bay of Pigs,"pp. 75-76. (In a footnote in later editions, Johnson notes that after initial publication of his book, "the CIA let it be known that Frank Bender denied-in writing-making such statements.")
(104) See ref.1, Intelligence Committee Report, Book V,p.14.
(105) "Our Heritage-The Exile Cuban Terrorists,"Washington Post, Nov. 7, 1976,p.C3.
II. THE ODIO INCIDENT
In connection with the question of anti-Castro Cuban involvement in the Kennedy assassination, the committee examined one incident which, over the years, particularly intrigued critics of the Warren Commission's investigation. It became known as the "Odio incident" and involved a young Cuban exile, Silvia Odio. Here, in part, is how the Warren Commission Detailed the incident and its conclusions in its final report:
The Commission investigated (Mrs. Odio's) statements in connection with its consideration of the testimony of several witnesses suggesting that Oswald may have been seen in the company of unidentified persons of Cuban or Mexican background. Mrs. Odio was born in Havana in 1937 and remained in Cuba until 1960;it appears that both of her parents are political prisoners of the Castro regime. Mrs.Odio is a member of the Cuban Revolutionary Junta (JURE) an anti-Castro organization. She testified that late in September 1963, three men came to her apartment in Dallas and asked her to help them prepare a letter soliciting funds for JURE activities. She claimed that the men, who exhibited personal familiarity with her imprisoned father, asked her if she were"working in the underground," and she replied that she was not. She testified that two of the men appeared to be Cubans, although they also had some characteristics that she associated with Mexicans. Those two men did not state their full names, but identified themselves only by their fictitious underground "war names." Mrs. Odio remembered the name of one of the Cubans as "Leopoldo." The third man, an American, allegedly was introduced to Mrs. Odio as "Leon Oswald," and she was told that he was very much interested in the Cuban cause. Mrs. odio said that the men told her that they had just come from New Orleans and that they were thenabout to leave on a trip. Mrs. Odio testified that next day Leopoldo called her on the telephone and told her that it was his ideas to introduce the American into the underground "because he is great, he is kind of nuts." Leopoldo also said that the American had been in the Marine Corps and was an excellent shot, and that the American said the Cubans "don't have any guts* * * because President Kennedy should have been assassinated after the Bay of Pigs, and some Cubans should have done that, because he was the one that was holding the freedom of Cuba actually."
Although Mrs. Odio suggested doubts that the men were in fact member of JURE, she was certain that the American who was introduced to her as Leon Oswald was Lee Harvey Oswald. Her sister, who was in the apartment atthe time of the visit by the three men, and who stated that that she saw them briefly in the hallway when answering the door, also believed that the American was Lee Harvey Oswald. By referring to the date on which she moved from herformer apartment, October 1, 1963, Mrs. Odio fixed the date of the alleged visit on the Thursday or Friday immediately preceding that date, i.e., September 26 or 27. She was positive that the visit occurred prior to October 1.
During the course of its investigation, however, the Commission concluded that Oswald could not have been inDallas on the evening of either September 26 or 27, 1963. It also developed considerable evidence that he was not in Dallasat any time between the Beginning of September and October3, 1963.* * *
In spite of the fact that it appeared almost certain that Oswald could not have been in Dallas at the time Mrs. Odio thought he was, the Commission requested the FBI to conduct further investigation to determine the validity of Mrs. Odio's testimony. The Commission considered the problems raised by that testimony as important in view of the possibility it raised that Oswald may have had companionson his trip to Mexico. The Commission specifically requested the FBI to attempt to locate and identify the two men who Mrs. Odio stated were with the man she thought was Oswald.* * *
On September 16, 1964, the FBI located Loran Eugene Hall in Johnsandale, Calif. Hall has been identified as a participant in numerous anti-Castro activities. He told the FBI that in September of 1963 he was in Dallas, soliciting aid in connection with anti-Castro activities. He said he had visitedMrs. Odio. He was accompanied by Lawrence Howard, a Mexican-American from East Los Angeles and one William Seymour from Arizona. He stated that Seymour is similar in appearance to Lee Harvey Oswald; he speaks only a few words of Spanish, as Mrs. Odio had testified one of the men who visited her did. While the FBI had not yet completed its investigation into this matter at the time the report went to press, the Commission has concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was not at Mrs. Odio's apartment in September of 1963.(1)
The evidence did not support the definitive character of the Warren Commission's conclusions. The Commission had based its conclusion on two points: the "considerable"evidence that Oswald could not have been in Dallas on the evening Mrs. Odio alleged she saw him; (2) the FBI's report of Loran Eugene Hall's speculation that Odio misidentified his companion, William Seymour, as Lee Harvey Oswald. (3) Although the Warren Commission Report stated that Odio "fixed" the date of the alleged Oswald visit on September 26or September 27, she actually told the FBI that she was not at all positive about the exact date, (4) and that it might have been as early as September 25.(5)
The Warren Commission asserted that Oswald left New Orleans by bus for
Houston, on his way to Mexico, on September 25.(6) Yet there was no documentary
evidence as substantiation, and neither the bus driver nor any passenger
could recall seeing Oswald on that bus.(7) In fact, Warren Commission General
Counsel J. Lee Rankin asked the FBI to investigate the possibility that
Oswald left New Orleans on September 24, (8) when a neighbor saw him leaving
his apartment carrying two suitcases.(9) Rankin pointed out in his letter
to J. Edgar Hoover that:
Marina Oswald told the Commission that her husband told her he intended to leave New Orleans the very next day following her departure on September 23, 1963. She has also indicated that he told her an unemployment check would beforwarded to Mrs. Ruth Paine's address in Irving from his post office box in New Orleans.* * * It also seems impossible to us that Oswald would have gone all the way back to the Winn-Dixie store at 4303 Magazine Street to cash the unemployment check which he supposedly picked up at the Lafayette Branch of the Post Office when he could have cashed it at Martin's Restaurant, where he had previously cashed many of his Reily checks and one unemployment check. That is particularly true if he received the check on September 25, 1963, as previously thought, and had left his apartment with his suitcases the evening before. (10)
The FBI never came up with any evidence which resolved the questions raised in Rankin's request. In sum, the Warren Commission developed no hard evidence that could substantiate the fact that Oswald was or was not in Dallas during the time period Odio said she saw him.
Although the Warren Commission stated that the FBI had not yet completed its investigation at the time its report went to press,(11) it was only 2 days after its September 16, 1964, interview of Loran Eugene Hall that the FBI interviewed William Seymour, who denied he ever had any contact with Silvia Odio and that he had been in Dallas with Hall in September 1963.(12) The FBI susequently confirmed the fact that Seymour was working in Florida during September 1963.(13) On September 23, 1964, the FBI interviewed Loran Hall'sother associate, Lawrence Howard.(14) Howard also denied he had ever contacted Silvia Odio.(15) The FBI then went back and re-interviewed Hall who then said that he had been accompanied on his trip to Dallas not by Seymour but by a Cuban friend he knew as "Wahito" and that he no longer recalled any contact with Odio.(16) The FBI determined that "Wahito" was Celio Sergio Castro(17) who, when interviewed, said he had never heard of or met Silvia Odio.(18) On October 1, 1964, the FBI showed Silvia Odio photographs of Loran Hall, William Seymour, Lawrence Howard and Celio Sergio Castro.(19) She examined the photographs and said that none of the individuals were identical to any of the three men who had come to her apartment door in Dallas.(20)
In view of the premature character of the Warren Commission's conclusion based on the impeached Loran Hall allegation and the unresolved question of Oswald's whereabouts at the time, the Odio incident remains one of the lingering enigmas in the original assassination investigation. Unfortunately, the nature of the incident makes it, from an investigative standpoint, particularly susceptible to the erosive effects of time. The canvassing, for instance, of both pro-Castro and anti-Castro groups in Dallas, New Orleans, and Miami in search of descriptive similarities to the men who visited Odio might have been fruitful at the time; today it is impractical. The construction of a composite sketch of the individuals when their features were still fresh in Odio's memory might have provided productive evidence 15 years ago; today it is of questionable value considering the natural adulteration of recall over that period of time. A search for the car that the men were driving might have been very productive at the time; today it is useless. The committee was, therefore handicappedby the limitations of the initial investigation and the paucity of evidence developed. The valid investigative approaches remaining were distressingly limited. Nevertheless, because of the potential significance of the Odio incident to a possible conspiracy in the Kennedy assassination, the committee decided that, in addition to pursuing any substantive leads it possible could, it would also attempt to verify the record regarding Silvia Odio's credibility and the details of her allegations.
Also of interest to the committee, of course, were the initial assertions of Loran Hall that he and two associates, William Seymour and Lawrence Howard, were the ones who had visited Odio in September.(21) All three had been actively involved in anti-Castro activity and were members of a group of soldiers of fortune called Interpen.(22) The group was arrested at No Name Key, Fla., in December 1962 as part of the Kennedy administration's crackdown on anti-Castro operations.(23) That policy, which hightly incensed the anti-Castro and rightwing factions, was the result of an agreement Kennedy had made with Khrushchev and Castro.(24) Those factions considered the agreement a "betrayal."(25)
Loran Hall provided sworn testimony to the committee at an executive
session on October 5, 1977. The following passage is an excerpt from that
Q. Did there come a time when the FBI spoke to you about whether or not you visited Silvia Odio in September 1963?
Hall. Yes;there was.
Q. Who spoke to you?
Hall. An FBI agent.
Q. At that time were you advised why you were being questioned about Silvia Odio?
Hall. I really don't recall. He stated as I recall, he stated something to the effect that were you ever in Dallas, Tex., and I said yes. He said do you know a Mrs. Odio, and I said I don't recall knowing a Mrs. Odio. I think I knew a Professor Odio, who was a professor at Texas, some university in Texas, just outside of Dallas, as I recall. He asked me anyway about the apartment building on Magellan and I said it is possible, I don't know. I said do you have a picture of her and he said no; I do not have. And I said, it is possible I met her but I don't recall. He then asked me who was with me and I told him I was with Alba and Howard, and then it was like maybe a month or two.
Q. And you told him you were there with Howard and Alba?
Q. On the first trip?
Hall. Yes. We both read the same FBI report. You know it is directly contradictory to what I am saying.
Q. So it is your testimony that at no time did you ever tell an FBI agent that you were in Dallas accompanied by Lawrence Howard and William Seymour, is that your testimony?
Hall. That is true.
Q. Were you ever directly or indirectly involved with Silvia Odio in acquiring military equipment for anti-Castro raids?
Hall. No; I was not.(26)
The committee interviewed Lawrence Howard on May 23, 1978. Howard stated he has never met Silvia Odio.(27) The committee also interviewed William Seymour, who acknowledged his relationship with Hall and Howard but did not recall any details of a trip to Dallas, including meeting any Cubans there.(28)
The committee believed it important in its investigation to examine in detail the substance of Silvia Odio's allegations as well as their credibility. One of the problems faced by the committee was Odio's negative attitude toward a governmental investigation of the Kennedy assassination. Her attitude, she said, was the result of her relationship with the Warren Commission.(29) She expressed sharp disillusionment with the Warren Commission and said that it was obvious to her that the Commission did not want to believe her story.(30) A committee investigator noted that her whole demeanorwas "one of sharp distrust of the Government's motives. She claims she feels she was just used by the Warren Commission for their own ends and she does not want to be put in the same position."(31) Nevertheless, after contact was established by the committee, Odio's cooperation with the committee was excellent, and she voluntarily submitted to interviews and, subsequently, sworn testimony.
Evidence indicated that Odio's story remained basically consistent with her Warren Commission testimony. There are, however, details concerning Odio, her background, and certain points of her story developed by the committee, which should be noted.
Silvia Odio was one of 10 children of Amador and Sarah Odio who were sent out of Cuba when their parents began taking an active part in a counterrevolutionary movement shortly after Castro took power.(32) Amador Odio was among's Cuba's wealthy aristocracy, the personal friend of diplomats and Ambassadors, including, during the last days of the U.S. presence there, American Ambassador Phillip Bonsal.(33) Odio was owner of the country's largest trucking business and was once described in Time magazine as the "transport tycoon" of Latin America.(34) Yet, from their youth, both he and his wife were active, frontline fighters against the succession of tyrants who ruled Cuba. During the reign of Gen. Gerardo Machado in the 1930's, Sarah Odio was captured and beaten with a machete until her ribs were broken.(35) Twice during the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, the Odios were forced into exile for their revolutionary activity.(36) Amador Odio's trucks were the main supply line for the weapons and ammunition which kept Castro's hopes alive in the mountains. Yet when the Odios decided that Castro had "betrayed the revolution,"(37) they were among the founding members, with Manolo Ray, of one of the early, most aggressive anti-Castro groups, the Movimiento Revolu-cionario del Pueblo (MRP).(38)
Amador and Sarah Odio were arrested by Castro on October 26, 1961.(39) Their arrest was the result of the capture of MRP national coordinator Reynald Gonzales in hiding on their country estate.(40) Ironically, the Odios had once hosted the wedding of one of Fidel Castro's sisters on the very estate, a large, resortlike retreat in El Cano, outside of Havana.(41) Later, Castro would turn it into a national women's prison and Sarah Odio would spend 8 years incarcerated there, while her husband was placed in a cell on Isla dePinos.(42) Reynald Gonzales had been wanted in connection with his involvement in the assassination attempt on Castro that had been organized by Antonio Veciana.(43)
Silvia was the oldest of the Odio's 10 children.(44) She had been sent for her early education to a private girls' school near Philadelphia and later returned to Cuba and attended law school there.(45)
When her parents were arrested, Silvia Odio was 24 years old, living in Puerto Rico with her husband and four young children.(46) The next year her husband, sent to Germany by the chemical firm for which he was working, deserted her and her children.(47) Destitute and alone, she began having emotional problem.(48) By that time, Silva's younger sister, Annie and Sarita, were settled in Dallas.(49) Sarita, a student at the University of Dallas, had become friendly with Mrs. Lucille Connell, the leader of women's club at a local Episcopal church who had organized a club program to provide financial and social support to the Dallas Cuban Refugee Center.(50) Connell alsohappened to be very active in the Mental Health Association of Dallas and, since her son was a psychiatrist, had personally acquired an interest in mental health problem.(51) When Sarita told Connell of her sister Silva's plight, Connell made arrangements to have Silvia move to Dallas and to receive psychiatric treatment for her emotional problems at the Southwestern Medical School.(52)
According to Connell, who for a period was Silvia's closest confidante, Silvia's emotional problems, brought on by her suddenly being left alone with four young children, her parents being imprisoned and her lifestyle abruptly changing from one of wealth to one of deep destitution, were manifested in attacks of total loss of consciousness "when reality got too painful to bear."(53) Connell said she personally witnessed Odio suffer these attacks in her home when she first arrived in Dallas, but with psychiatric treatment their frequency subsided and they subsequently ended, until the Kennedyassassination.(54)
Silvia Odio had moved to Dallas in March 1963.(55) By September 1963 she was well established in the community, had a decent income from a good job, had her emotional problems under control and was doing well enough to be planning a move into a better apartment.(56) She was scheduled to make that move on October 1, 1963, a Monday.(57) The week before, she recalled, she had done some packing in preparation for the move and there were boxes scattered across her living room floor which she had to jump over to get to thedoor.(58) Her sister Annie, who was then 17, had come to the apartment to help her and babysit with her children.(59) When the doorbell rang early one evening in that last week of September, it was Annie who went to the door to answer it.(60)
The complex in which Silvia Odio lived at 1084 Magellan Circle in Dallas was a series of garden-type rental apartments, two-story units with four apartments to each unit.(61) The two lower units had front doors that faced a common inner vestibule which, in turn, bordered a small, open cement porch elevated a few steps above the ground level.(62) Both the vestibule and porch had overhead lights. (63)Silvia Odio lived in apartment A of the 1084 unit, a first floor apartment.(64)
Annie Odio provided the committee with a sworn statement of her independent
recollection.(65) She remembered the evening when three men came to the
door of Silvia's apartment in Dallas.(66) One of the men asked to speak
to Sarita.(67) He spoke English initially but when Annie answered him in
Spanish he subsequently also spoke Spanish.(68) Annie told him that Sarita
didn't live there.(69) Then, according to Annie's recollection:
He said something, I don't recall exactly what, perhaps something about her being married, which made me thinkthat they really wanted my sister Sylvia. I recall putting the chain on the door after I told them to wait while I went to get Silvia. I don't exactly recall but they may have also said something about belonging to JURE, the anti-Castro movement.(70)
Annie also recalled that Silvia was initially reluctant to talk with the strange visitors because she was getting dressed to go out. But she remembered Silvia coming out in her bathrobe to go to the door.(71) Annie said that she could only recall what one of the two Latin men looked like, but it is not a specific recollection, only that he was heavy set, had dark shiny hair combed back and "looked Mexican."(72) She said " the one in the middle was American."(73)
In testimony to the committee, Silvia Odio also recalled that the three men came to the door.(74) She recalled that it was a weekday because she worked that day.(75) She said the men identified themselves as members of JURE, spoke of both its founder, Manola Ray, and her father, who had worked closely with Ray.(76) Odio said that almost all the conversation she had was with only one of the men, the one who identified himself as "Leopoldo."(77)
Odio was positive in her recollection of the name "leopoldo"(78) but said that the men admitted to her they were giving her aliases or "war names."(79) She was less certain of the other latin's name, but believed it might have been "Angelo" or "Angel."(80) She described him, as her sister did, as being stocky, with black hair and looking "more Mexican than anything else."(81) The third visitor, the "American,"(82) was introduced to her as "Leon Oswald."(83) She said "Leon Oswald" acknowledged the introduction with avery brief reply, perhaps in idiomatic Spanish,(84) but she later concluded that he could not understand Spanish because of his lack of reaction to her Spanish conversation with "Leopoldo."(85)
Silvia Odio was relatively consistent in her testimony to the Warren Commission and to the committee in her specific descriptions of the three vistors.(86) Her description of "Leopoldo" was especially noteworthy because he has certain very distinct features, including an unusual hairline that is sharply recessed on the sides.(87) Her description of "Leon Oswald" was similar to the characteristics of Lee Harvey Oswald.(88) There was absolutely no doubt in her own mind that her visitor was, in fact, Lee Harvey Oswald.(89) She pointed out that she did have ample opportunity to view him, her conversation with the three men lasting more than 20 minutes, her viewing distance being only about 3 feet and the light available more than adequate.(90) She also recalled but not very clearly, that "Leopoldo" may have told her that they had just come from New Orleans.(91).
Odio told the committe, as she did the Warren Commission,(92) that the
reason the men came to her was to get her help in soliciting funds in the
name of JURE from local businessmen.(93) She said:
He (Leopoldo) told me that he would like for me to write them in English, very nice letter, and perhaps we could get some funds. (94)
That is consistent with the recollection of her sister Annie, who was in the apartment at the time the conversation was being conducted through the open door in the vestibule. She recalled that the men came because "they wanted something translated."(95)
According to Silvia Odio, her conversation with "Leopoldo" ended without her giving him any commitment to do anything, but he gave her the impression he would contact her again.(96) The visit ended without "Leon" or "Angelo" having any conversation with her aside from a brief greeting word or two.(97) After the men left, Odio decided to go to the window and watch them.(98) She saw them get into a red car that was parked in the driveway in front of the apartment.(99) She said she could not see who was driving the car, butdid see "Angelo" on the passenger side of the car.(100)
The cloudiest part of Odio's recollection concerned the telephone call
she later received from "Leopoldo."(101) It could have occurred, she said,
the day after the visit or 2 days after the visit.(102) She thought it
was in the afternoon, but she cannot remember.(103) She believed it was
on a Saturday, when she was not working, but is not certain.(104) She was,
however, relatively clear in her recollection of the gist of what "Leopoldo"
told her when he called her on the telephone and that, too, was consistent
with her testimony before the Warren Commission.(105) She said that "Leopoldo"
told her that "the Gringo" had been a Marine, that he was an expert marksman
and that he was "kind of loco."(106) She recalled:
He said that the Cubans, we did not have any guts because we should have assassinated Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs. (107)
On the day that President Kennedy was assassinated, Silvia Odio was
coming back from lunch when she heard the news.(108) She recalled:
As soon as we got back to the office, everybody had their radios on and everybody was listening to it. By the time the news came that the President was dead, the president of the company told us that we could go home. I started going backto--I was very frightened and very upset * * * I started moving across the warehouse toward the parking lot where we kept our ears * * * I think next I had passed out. My mind was going around in circles * * * (109)
During her testimony before the committee, Odio was asked if, when she heard that Kennedy was assassinated, she thought of the three men who had visited her apartment almost 2 months prio. Her reply: "Oh, very definnitely, very definitely."(110) She added: "I had put them out of my mind, but they came back that day."(111)
The next thing she remembered after blacking out was regaining consciousness later in a hospital room.(112) She recalled that her sister Annie had just entered.(113) She remembered watching the first image of Oswald she saw coming across the television screen in the hospital room:"Annie and I sort of looked at one another and sort of gasped. She said, 'Do you recognize him?' I said yes, and I said,'Do you recognize him?' She said,'It is the same guy, isn't it?' I said, 'Yes, but do not say anything.' "(114)
This excerpt from the independent sworn statement given to the committee
by Annie Odio concerns the day of the assassination.
On the day of the assassination of President Kennedy I had gone with my girlfriend, Cherie Matlock, and some other friends to a place where we could see the President's motorcade pass by. I don't remember where it was, only that it was quite a distance from downtown Dallas and Dealey Plaza. After the motorcade passed by we went to a drive-in restaurant for some hamburgers. When we were coming out of the drive-in we heard that Kennedy was shot. When I first heard that Kennedy was shot I did not make any connection betweenthe shooting and the men who came to Silvia's door. Later in the afternoon I was by myself in the Matlock home when I first saw Oswald on television. My first thought was, "My God, I know this guy and I don't know from where! But I'mnot going to tell anybody because they're going to think I'mcrazy." But I kept thinking, "Where have I seen this guy?" Then my sister Sarita called and told me that Silvia had fainted at work and that she was sending her boyfriend Jim, who is now her husband to pick me up and take me to the hospital to see Silvia. Sarita did not tell me then why Silvia had fainted. I remember that it was getting dark when Jim picked me up and that we had to drive by Dealey Plaza. I don't remember Jim coming up to the room in the hospital with me when I saw Silvia. I don't remember anyone else inthe room, but it was a very small room. Silvia was in bed. The first thing I remember when I walked into the room was that Silvia started crying and crying. I don't remember hersaying anything. I think that I told her: "You know thisguy on TV who shot President Kennedy? I think I know him." And she said:"No, I cannot recall, but I know I've seen him before." And then she told me: "Do you remember those three guys who came to the house?" And that's when I relaized I had seen Oswald before. And then she told me everything, including the fact that one of the men had called back, that she had called him "Leon," that he said he wanted to be called "Leon," and that he said something like the Cubans should kill Kennedy because of what he did with the Bay of Pigs. Silvia also told me that when she first heard that President Kennedy was shot, she started saying: "Leon did it. Leon did it!" I remember that Silvia was very excited at the hospital and that she kept saying that she knew that Leon was going to do it. (115)
Because they were extremely frightened, concerned for their brothers and sisters and their own safety, worried about their mother and father in prison in Cuba and terrifyingly bewildered about the meaning of the three men's visit,Silvia and Annie Odio decided not to reveal the incident.(116) It was, in fact, only circuitously that the FBI came to learn of it.
According to Silvia Odio's close friend, Lucille Connell, she received a call from Silvia's sister Sarita who told her that Silvia had fainted and was in the hospital.(117) Sarita also told her why Silvia had fainted and the fact that Silvia had met Oswald and that he had come to her apartment. (118) Connell could not recall exactly when Sarita called; she said it was either the day of the assassination or the day after.(119) Connell said that Sunday, however, she was speaking on the telephone to a friend of hers, Mrs. Sanford Pick, then working as a receptionist in a Dallas law firm office, when they both saw Ruby shoot Oswald on their television sets.(120) Connell recalled: "And she said to me, 'Oh my goodness, Ruby was in our office last week and hadpower of attorney drawn for his sister.' "(121)
Connell said that later that same day she happened to be speaking with another friend, Marcella Insua, the daughter of the head of the Dallas Cuban Relief Committee. Connell mentioned to Insua what her other friend had said about Ruby being in her law office.(122) Insua, Connell said, happened to have a class of American children to whom she was teaching Spanish.(123) In that class, she got into a discussion of the Kennedy assassination and mentioned that she knew someone who knew someone who had some dealings with Ruby.(124)It also happened that there was a son of a local FBI agent in Insua's class.(125) That was how the FBI subsequently came to contact Connell and learn about the Odio incident.(126)
A factor in judging Odio's credibility was evidence that indicates that she told someone prior to the Kennedy assassination that three men visited her, that one of them was introduced to her as "Leon Oswald," and that she was told that this "Leon" had suggested assassinating President Kennedy.
Silvio Odio told the committee that immediately after the visit of the three men, she wrote to her father in prison in Cuba to ask him if he knew who they were.(127) Amador Odio, who was released from prison in 1969 and is now living in Miami, told committee investigators that he received Silvia's letter and replied to it.(128) He did not recall when he received the letter, but his reply, dated December 19, 1963, indicated it was very likely in late October or early November 1963.(129) He wrote: "Tell me who this is who says he is my friend be careful. I do not have any friend who might be here, throughDallas, so reject his friendship until you give me his name."(130)
Silvia Odio told the committee she recalled, although her recollection was "not very strong," that she also told Lucille Connell prior to the Kennedy assassination that three men had visited her apartment.(131) She said it had to have been before the assassination because she did not see Connell after the assassination as the result of a falling out between them.(132) Prior to that, however, Odio said, she was frequently at Connell's house and she specifically recalled a dinner party, "which may have had something to do with the Mental Health Association or been given in honor of some doctor or psychiatrist," at which, during a conversation in the library, she mentioned the visit of the three men.(133) She said it would have been very likely that she told Connell because "she was the type who was a very curious personabout the details of your life. She always asked a lot of questions about my life and what I was doing."(134)
Lucille Connell told the committee she did not recall Silvia Odio specifically telling her about Oswald at any time, before or after the assassination.(135) She did not recall talking with Odio at a dinner party prior to the assassination, although, she said, she may have.(136) She said her contact with Silvia Odio had not been frequent within the months prior to the assassination.(137)
In her recollection the one person that Silvia Odio was most positive of telling prior to the assassination about the visit of the three men was her psychiatrist at the time, Dr. Burton C. Einspruch.(138) At the time of the Kennedy assassination, Odio had been seeing Einspruch for about 7 months,(139) usually on a weekly basis and occasionally more frequently.(140) She was suffering from what Einspruch described as "a situational life problem. She had a large family, she was semi-impoverished, she was an immigrant, her parents were imprisoned * * * she had all the difficulties one might anticipate a displaced person would have."(141)
Both the FBI and the Warren Commission staff questioned Einspruch after the assassination.(142) The FBI report noted that Einspruch believed Odio "is telling the truth."(143) The Warren Commission staff report noted that "Dr. Einspruch stated that he had great faith in Miss Odio's story of having met Lee Harvey Oswald." Neither report indicated that Einspruch had been questioned about the specific details of Odio's allegations, whether he had been asked if Odio told him about the visit of the three men and, if she did, when she did.(145)
In sworn testimony to the committee, Einspruch reiterated his judgment of Odio as a "truthful" person.(146) He said he no longer had any files available to document his recollection, but he believed that Odio's visits to him had been scheduled, at around the time of the assassination, on Wednesdays.(147)
Einspruch specifically recalled that Odio had told him, during the normal course of the "format" of the sessions with her in which she related what happened during the previous week,(148) that she had been visited by three men.(149) He recalled that she told him of the visit prior to the assassination.(150) He was definite that she told him that two of the visitors were "Cubans or Latins" and that the third was an "Anglo."(151) He is not sure she mentioned the name "Leon" at his session with her prior to the assassination.(152) He did remember that when he telephoned Odio on the day of or the day after the assassination, she did mention "Leon" and she did "in a sort of historic way" connect the visit of the three men to the Kennedy assassination and did recognize one of those men as "Leon."(153) Einspruchcould not recall, however, that Odio told him prior to the assassination that "Leopoldo" had telephoned her and spoke of "Leon" suggesting Kennedy be assassinated.(154)
As noted earlier, the committee's ability to investigate the substance of Silvia Odio's allegations was severely restricted, not only by the time that has elapsed since they were originally made, but also by the lack of material available in the basic investigative files. Both the Warren Commission and the FBI failed to pursue adequately the investigation when several leads still held a potential for development. The description provided by Odio of at least one of the Latin visitors, for instance, was detailed enough to justify a thorough canvassing of both the anti-Castro and pro-Castro militant Cuban communities in Dallas, New Orleans, and Miami for individuals with similar striking characteristics. That, in conjunction with a search for the specifically described car the men were seen driving, might have been fruitful. Committee reviews of Warren Commission files and FBI reportsrevealed no such investigative approach. The focus, instead, was on attempting to determine the possibility of Oswald being in Dallas when Odio reported she saw him. That approach proved inconclusive.
Nevertheless, there were other points that could be examined in attempting to determine the identity of the Silvia Odio visitors. The fact, for instance, that the men claimed to know her father and have knowledge of his activities appeared to be of possible investigatory significance. It was discovered, however, that a front page article in the Dallas News on May 5, 1962, could have provided a source of background information on Odio's parents.(155) The article featured a large photo of Annie and Sarita Odio and detailed the plight of their parents in prison as well as their backgrounds.(156) It also could be related to the fact that "Leopoldo" initially asked for Sarita when Annie Odio answered the door.(157)
Although the committee considered the possibility that the Odio visitors were being deceptive in claiming an association with the anti-Castro organization JURE, it nevertheless attempted to determine if they were, in fact, members of that group. The committee conducted extensive interviews with Amador Odio,(158) who was very active with JURE in Cuba prior to his imprisonment, and made an attempt to contact remaining members of the Dallas chapter of JURE.(159) Although the results of the committee's efforts must be viewed in terms of the lengthy period of time that had elapsed, no present recollection of JURE members active in 1963 who used the war names of "Leopoldo" or "Angelo" or fitted the descriptions provided by Silvia Odio could be found.(160)
In addition, the committee also interviewed the founder and leader of JURE, Manolo Ray, now living in Puerto Rico.(161) Ray said he had been questioned by the FBI about the Odio incident some time after the Kennedy assassination, but he was asked only about Silvia Odio's reliability and credibility.(162) "They told me that she had met Oswald," Ray siad. "I don't remember them telling me that the men who came to her said they were members of JURE * * * (163) Ray told the committee that he knew of no members of JURE traveling through Dallas in September 1963 in search of money or arms.(164) He does not recall anyone by the name of "Leopoldo" or "Angelo" associated with JURE at the time.(165) He said he had no American contacts in Dallas, nor did he receive any major financial support from anyone there.(166)
In addition to these attempts to identify the Odio visitors, the committee asked Silvia Odio to review some 300 photographs of Cuban activists, both pro-Castro and anti-Castro, and individuals who had or may have had some association with Lee Harvey Oswald and the Kennedy assassination.(167) She could not identify any of the individuals in the photographs as being the two who came to her apartment with "Leon Oswald."
Finally, the committee requested the CIA to run a check on all individuals who used the "war names" of "Leopoldo" and "Angelo" during the period of interest.(168) The CIA response resulted in the photographs of three individuals who might have been in Dallas in September 1963.(169) The photographs were shown to Silvia Odio with negative results.(170)
It appears that Silvia Odio's testimony is essentially credible. From the evidence provided in the sworn testimony of corroborating witnesses, there is no doubt that three men came to her apartment in Dallas prior to the Kennedy assassination and identified themselves as members of an anti-Castro Cuban organization. From a judgment of the credibility of both Silvia and Annie Odio, it must be concluded that there is a strong probability that one of the men was or appeared to be Lee Harvey Oswald. No conclusion about the significance of that visit could be reached. The possibilities were considered that Oswald actually had some association with JURE, the anti-Castro groupheaded by Manolo Ray, and that Oswald wanted it to appear that he had that association in order to implicate the group, politically a left-of-center Cuban organization, in the Kennedy assassination.
Additionally, no definite conclusion on the specific date of the visit could be reached. The possibility that it could have been as early as September 24, the morning of which Oswald was seen in New Orleans, exists. The visit was more likely on September 25,26, or 27. If it were, then Oswald, judging from evidence developed by both the Warren Commission and this committee, had to have had access to private transportation to get to Dallas from New Orleans a situation that indicates possible conspiratorial involvement.
The scope of its investigation in the Odio incident was limited as a
result of the inadequate investigation performed by the FBI and the Warren
Commission at the time. The lack of immediate recognition of the significance
of the Odio incident produced a far from comprehensive investigation at
the only time a comprehensive and perhaps, fruitful investigation would
have been possible.
GAETON J. FONZI,
(1) Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President
Kennedy (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1964),pp.322-324
(hereinafter Warren Report).
(3) FBI report LA 105-15823, Sept. 23, 1964, Warren Commission Document 1553,p.4.
(4) FBI report DL 100-10461, Sept. 10, 1964,pp.2,3, Warren Commission Exhibit 3147.
(6) See ref.1, Warren Report, p.333.
(7) Warren Commission Exhibit 2134; Warren Commission Exhibit 2962.
(8) Warren Commission Exhibit 3045.
(9) See ref.1, Warren Report, p.730.
(10) Warren Commission Exhibit 3045.
(11) See ref.1, Warren Report, p.324.
(12) FBI report PX 105-1529, Sept. 18, 1964, Warren Commission Document 1553.
(13) FBI memorandum, Miami, Sept. 26, 1964, Warren Commission Document 1553.
(14) FBI report LA 105-1582, Sept. 20, 1964, Warren Commission Document 1553.
(15) Id. at p. 8.
(16) FBI memorandum, Miami, Oct. 2, 1964, Warren Commission Document 1553.
(21) See ref. 1, Warren Report, p. 324.
(22) "U.S. Nabs Anti-Castro Fighters," Miami Herald, Dec.5, 1962, p.21A.
(24) "A Selected Chronology on Cuba," Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, p. 54 (J.F.K.Document 013101) (hereinafter Selected Cuban Chronology).
(25) Ibid., statement of the chairman of the Committee for the Monroe Doctrine,p.4.
(26) Immunized testimony of Loran Hall, Oct. 5, 1977, hearings before the House Select Committee on Assassinations, 95th Congress, 2d session (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979), pp.50-54.
(27) Staff interview of Lawrence Howard, May 23, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassination/p.5., (J.F.K. Document 008962).
(28) Staff interview of William Seymour, Nov. 8, 1977, House Select Committee on Assassinations,pp.1-3 (J.F.K. Document 003537).
(29) Staff memorandum, Jan. 8, 1976, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 013336).
(32) "Exiles Fear Parents Shot by Cuban Red Firing Squad,"Dallas News, May 5, 1962, p. 1.
(33) Interview of Amador Odio, Apr. 30, 1976, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p. 1 (J.F.K.Document 013337).
(34) Interview of Silvia Odio, Jan. 16, 1976,House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.4 (J.F.K.Document 013339).
(35) See ref.32.
(36) See ref.33.
(39) Staff interview of Amador Odio, Sept. 5, 1977,House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K.Document 013334).
(41) Fonzi interview, Apr. 30, 1976, note 33 above.
(43) See section of report dealing with alleged relationship with Maurice Bishop and Lee Harvey Oswald infra, par. 114 et seq.
(44) Hearings before the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1964), vol. XI, p. 370 (hereinafter XI Warren Commission Hearings,370).
(46) FBI Report No. 100-16601, Sept. 21, 1964, Warren Commission Document 1553.
(49) See ref.32.
(50) Staff memorandum of interview of Lucille Connell, Apr. 5, 1976, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K.Document 013342).
(55) Deposition of Silvia Odio, May 2, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p. 6 (J.F.K.Documents 009088).
(56) Ibid., p. 6, See also ref.50, Connell interview, and FBI Report DL 44-1639, Nov. 29, 1963, Warren Commission Document 205, p. 641 (J.F.K. Document 000200).
(57) See ref. 55, Odio deposition, p.8.
(58) See ref. 34, Odio interview, p. 1.
(59) Affidavit of Annie Odio, Sept. 20, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K.Document 012269).
(61) Ibid.;see also ref. 55, Odio deposition,pp.8,15,and 21.
(62) Ibid.;see also staff memorandum and photographs, Aug.23, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations(J.F.K.Document 013335).
(64) Odio deposition,p.8,note 55 above.
(65) See ref. 59, Odio affidavit, p. 1.
(68) Id. at p. 2.
(69) Id. at p. 1.
(71) Id. at p. 2.
(74) See ref.55, Odio deposition, pp.9,14.
(76) Id. at pp.11,12.
(77) Id. at pp.10,11.
(78) Id. at p. 10.
(79) Id. at p. 13.
(81) Id. at pp. 16,37.
(82) See ref.59, Odio affidavit, p.2.
(83) See ref. 55, Odio deposition, p. 15.
(84) Id. at p. 20.
(85) Id. at p. 33.
(86) Warren Commission hearings, vol. XI, p. 370; see also ref. 55, Odio deposition, pp. 11, 16, 35.
(88) See ref. 55, Odio deposition, pp. 11, 70.
(89) Id. at p. 70.
(90) Id. at pp. 15, 21, 24.
(91) Id. at p. 60.
(92) See ref. 1, Warren Report, p. 324.
(93) See ref. 55, Odio deposition, p. 53.
(95) See ref. 59, Annie Odio affidavit, p.2.
(96) See ref. 55, Odio deposition, p.53.
(97) Id. at p. 12.
(98) Id. at p. 28.
(101) Id. at p. 30.
(103) Id. at p. 31.
(104) Id. at pp. 32, 50.
(105) See ref. 1, Warren Report, p. 324.
(106) See ref. 55, Odio deposition, p.44.
(108) Id. at p. 62.
(110) Id. at p. 63.
(111) Ibid. (112) Id. at p. 64.
(114) Id. at pp. 65-66.
(115) See ref. 59, Annie Odio affidavit, pp.2-4.
(116) Id. at p. 4.
(117) Contact report with Lucille Connell. May 15, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 013340).
(118) Ibid.;See also ref. 50, Connell interview,p.2.
(119) Ibid.,Connell interview.
(125) Id. at p. 3.
(126) Ibid.; See also FBI Report DL 44-1639. Nov. 29, 1963. Note: It was not possible to resolve the inconsistency of the substance of this and certain related FBI reports. DL44-1639 stated only that Connell said that Odio told her that she knew Oswald and that he had spoken to groups of refugees in Dallas. Nothing is noted about a visit of three men. Connell told a committee investigator (ref. 50, memorandum p. 3)that she did not recall ever telling the FBI that. Neither did the FBI report of the Bureau's initial interview with Odio on Dec.19,1963 (Report DL 100-10461) mention that she had knowledge of Oswald speaking to refugee groups. Neither did the FBI interview with Connell note Connell's report of her conversation with her friend, Mrs. Sanford Pick, regarding Ruby's visiting the law firm where Pick worked. Connell said she is positive she told that to the FBI. The committee found that neither Pick nor the attorney who handled Ruby's case at the law firm were questioned by the FBI (ref. 50, memorandum, pp. 4-6).Because neither Pick nor the attorney, Graham R.E. Koch, could specifically recall Ruby requesting power of attorney for his sister, and because, according to Koch, his firm's records on the case were later routinely destroyed(ref. 50, memorandum), the committee was unable to pursue the possibility further.
(127) See ref. 55, Odio deposition, p. 43.
(128) See ref. 39, Amador Odio interview, p. 2.
(129) Warren Commission Odio Exhibit No. 1, vol. XX, p. 690.
(131) Contact report, May 17, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 013341).
(135) See ref.50, contact report, Lucille Connell.
(138) See ref. 55, Odio deposition,p.40.
(139) Griffin memorandum to Slawson, May 16, 1964,House Select Committee on Assassinations(J.F.K.Document 002969).
(140) Deposition of Dr. Burton C. Einspruch, July 11, 1978,House Select Committee on Assassinations,p.5(J.F.K.Document 010069).
(141) Id. at p.5.
(142) FBI Report DL 100-10461, Dec. 19, 1963;see also ref. 139, Griffin memorandum.
(144) See ref. 139, Griffin memorandum.
(146) See ref. 140, Einspruch deposition,p.4.
(147) Id. at p. 6.
(148) Id. at p. 13.
(149) Id. at p. 9
(150) Id. at p. 10.
(151) Id. at p. 9.
(153) Id. at p. 17.
(154) Id. at pp. 14-15.
(155) See ref. 32, Dallas News.
(157) See ref. 59, Annie Odio affidavit.
(158) See ref. 39, Odio interview, see ref. 33, Odio interview.
(159) Staff interview of Amador Odio re Tomas and Alentado, Aug.26,1978, House Select Committee Assassinations(J.F.K.Document 013338).
(161) Staff interview of Manolo Ray, June 28, 1978,House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K.Document 013333).
(162) Id. at p. 8.
(167) See ref. 55, Odio deposition,pp.91-103.
(168) Staff memorandum, Aug.30, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations(J.F.K.Document 013332).
III. ANTONIO VECIANA BLANCH
On March 2, 1976, a staff investigator from the office of U.S. Senator Richard S. Schweiker (Republican of Pennsylvania (interviewed Antonio Veciana Blanch, the founder and former leader of Alpha 66, at his home in Miami.(1) At the time, Senator Schweiker was a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and co-chairman of the Subcommittee on the John F. Kennedy Assassination.(2) The staff investigator told Veciana that he was interested in the relationships between U.S. Government agencies and Cuban exile groups; he did not specifically mention an interest in the Kennedy assassination.(3) During the course of that interview, Veciana revealed that from about mid-1960 through mid-1973 he had been directed and advised in his anti-Castro and anti-Communist activities by an American he knew as Maurice Bishop.(4) Veciana said that Bishop had guided him in planning assassination attempts on PremierFidel Castro in Havana in 1961 and in Chile in 1971; that Bishop had directed him to organize Alpha 66 in 1962; and that Bishop, when breaking their relationship in 1973, had paid him $253,000 in cash for his services over the years.(5)
Veciana revealed further that at one meeting with Bishop in Dallas in late-August or September 1963, he saw with him a young man he later recognized as Lee Harvey Oswald.(6)
Veciana told Senator Schweiker's investigator that he had not previously disclosed that information to anyone.(7)
The committee took an intense interest in the Veciana allegations. From Senator Schweiker, it obtained the complete files of his office's investigation;(8) it also conducted additional interviews with Veciana and other witnesses who might have had knowledge of Veciana or Bishop. Further, on April 25 and 26, 1978, Veciana was questioned under oath before the committee in executive session.
This effort developed the following general details of the relationship between Veciana and the American he knew only as Maurice Bishop:
To the best of Veciana's recollection Maurice Bishop first approached him in Havana in the middle of 1960.(9) At the time, Veciana was employed in the Banco Financiero, owned by Julio Lobo, the "Sugar King" of Cuba.(10) Veciana himself was well known, however, as president of the professional accountant's association.(11)
Veciana said Bishop introduced himself with a business card which indicated he was with a construction firm headquartered in Belgium.(12) Although Veciana initially assumed he was a new bank customer, Bishop's conversation with him soon focused on the Castro revolution. "He also made me aware of his concern regarding the Cuban Government leaning toward Communism and tried to impress on me the seriousness of the situation," Veciana recalled.(13)
Bishop then invited Veciana to lunch and during that and subsequent lunches convinced Veciana to work against the Castro government. Veciana admittedly did not need much convincing because he himself had concluded only 30 days after the revolution that Castro was a Communist.(14)
Veciana said he did ask Bishop during their first meeting if he worked for the U.S. Governement. "He told me at the time," Veciana testified, "that he was in no position to let me know for whom he was working or for which agency he was doing this."(15) Bishop also said he could not tell Veciana whether or not it was Julio Lobo who suggested he contact him. "Supposedly Julio Lobo had very important contacts with the U.S. Government," Veciana pointed out.(16) Veciana, however, later suspected that it might have been another very close friend, Rufo Lopez-Fresquet, who led Bishop to him.(17) Lopez-Fresquet, although then Castro's Minister of Finance, was a covertanti-Castroite.(18)
Once Veciana agreed to work with Bishop on anti-Castro activity, he was put into a "training program."(19) Veciana described this as a "2 to 3 week" program which consisted of nightly lectures. He was the only one in the program, which was conducted by a man he knew only as "Mr. Melton." The lectures were held in an office in a building, which Veciana could recall as being on El Vedado, a commercial thoroughfare. He also remembered the building housed the offices of a mining company "with an American name" and, on thefirst floor, a branch of the Berlitz School of Languages.(20)
Although Veciana said he was given some training in the use of explosives and sabotage techniques, most of the program consisted of lessons in propaganda and psychological warfare. "Bishop told me several times * * * that psychological warfare could help more than hundreds of soldiers, thousands of soldiers," Veciana testified.(21) Veciana also said: "The main purpose was to train me to be an organizer so I was supposed to initiate a type of action and other people would be the ones who would really carry it out."(22)
Following the training, Veciana worked with Bishop on several very effective psychological warfare operations, including a program that resulted in the destabilization of the Cuban currency and the creation of public distrust in its value.(23) Meanwhile, Veciana also became chief of sabotage for the Movimiento Revolucionario del Pueblo (MRP), an anti-Castro group head by Manuel Rav.(24)
Before the American Embassy in Cuba was closed in January 1961, Bishop suggested to Veciana that he go there and contact certain officials for help in his anti-Castro activity. Veciana said the names suggested by Bishop were "Smith." "Sam Kail," and a CIA employee. Said Veciana: "Maurice Bishop suggested the names of these individuals because we needed specific weapons to carry out the jobs and he told me that these were the people that could help me."(25) Veciana, however, also said that Bishop asked him not to reveal his name to these people.(26)
Veciana has never assumed that Maurice Bishop was a true name. At one of their early meetings in Havana, Veciana noticed a Belgian passport which Bishop had in his open briefcase. Examining it when Bishop left the room briefly, Veciana made a quick note of it on a scrap of paper. Veciana kept that scrap of paper and showed it to Senator Schweiker's investigator. The name on the paper was "Frigault."(27)
A few months after the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961, Bishop called Veciana to a meeting. According to Veciana: "At that time Bishop decided that the only thing left to be done was to have an attempt on Castro's life."(28) Although Veciana himself did not participate in the attempt, he recruited the action men and organized the operation, including renting the apartment from which the shot was to be fired.(29) The day before the actual attempt, however, Veciana escaped from Cuba by boat with his mother-in-law, in whose name the apartment had been rented.(30) His wife and children had left a few months prior. According to Veciana, it was Bishop who urged him to leave because, he said, Castro's agents were becoming suspicious of Veciana's activities.(31)
Shortly after he settled in Miami, Veciana testified, Bishop again contacted him.(32) Veciana said it would have been easy for anyone to locate him in the close-knit Cuban exile community in Miami.(33) The result of their reestablishing contact eventually led to the founding of Alpha 66 which, according to Veciana, was Bishop's brainchild. "Bishop's main thesis was that Cuba had to be liberated by Cubans," Veciana testified.(34) Veciana established himself as the civilian chief and principal fundraiser for Alpha 66 and recruited the former head of the Second National Front of the Escambre(SNFE), Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo, as the military chief.(35) Menoyo had a reputation among Cuban exiles of being socialistic and Bishop had some doubts about his loyalty, but Veciana insisted that Menoyo could be trusted. Besides, he said, "if he did not work out right we could get rid of him."(36) Veciana said that Menoyo was not aware of the existence of Maurice Bishop.
Alpha 66 became one of the most active of the anti-Castro exile groups, buying guns and boats, recruiting and training commandos, and conducting numerous raids on Cuba.(37) At one point, Veciana proclaimed a war chest of $100,000 and announced that all the major exile organizations were backing Alpha 66's efforts. He also said publicly that all the planning was being done by leaders "I don't even know."(38)
According to Veciana, the man behind all of Alpha 66's strategy was Maurice Bishop. Over the 12-year period of their association, Veciana estimated he met with Bishop more than 100 times.(39) Veciana, however, claimed he had no way of getting in touch with Bishop and that all the meetings were instigated by Bishop, a procedure Bishop established early in their relationship.(40) To set up a meeting, Bishop would call Veciana by telephone, or, if Veciana was out of town, call a third person whom Veciana trusted, someone who always knew his location.(41) Veciana said that this third person never met Bishop but "knew that Bishop and I were partners in this fight because this person shared my anti-Communist feelings."(42)
Besides contacts with Bishop in Havana and Miami, Veciana also had meetings with him in Dallas, Washington, Las Vegas, and Puerto Rico and in Caracas, Lima, and La Paz in South America.(43)
Veciana specifically recalled some meetings with Bishop because of their special nature. For instance, shortly after reestablishing contact with him in Miami, Bishop took Veciana to an office in the Pan American Bank Building in the downtown section of the city.(44) Veciana did not recall the exact floor of the building nor if there was any name on the office door.(45) Bishop unlocked the office with a key and, in the presence of two men who were in the office, asked him to sign a piece of paper and take part in a "commitment" ceremony.(46) "It was like a pledge of my loyalty, a secret pledge," Veciana testified. "I think they wanted to impress on me my responsibility and my commitment to the cause." (47) Veciana could not identify the two men who were present with Bishop at this ceremony, nor did he recall if he was introduced to them. "They were like spectators," he said.(48)
From August 1968 until June 1972, Veciana worked in La Pz, Bolivia, as a banking adviser to Bolivia's Central Bank.(49) His contracts were financed by the U.S. Agency for International Development, (50) and his office was located in the passport division of the American Embassy.(51) Veciana believed that Bishop was instrumental in his getting the AID job, because he himself was surprised that the Agency would hire a known "terrorist" and anti-Castro activist.(52) The records indicated that Veciana was hired by the Agency even though his application was never signed.(53)
While supposedly employed as a banking adviser in Bolivia, Veciana actually did very little such work, but instead was engaged mostly in anti-Castro and anti-Communist activities with Bishop.(54) Among the operations instigated by Bishop at the time was an attempt to assassinate Castro in Chile in 1971.(55)
According to Veciana, that aborted assassination attempt eventually led to the dissolution of his relationship with Bishop.(56) Although Bishop directed the operation and provided Veciana with intelligence information,(57) Veciana himself recruited anti-Castro Cuban associates in Caracas to take part in the attempt.(58) Without his knowledge, Veciana said, these associates introduced a new element into the plan, a scheme to blame the assassination on certain Russian agents in Caracas.(59) The associates even produced phony documents and photographs.(60) When Bishop later found out about this un-authorized part of the scheme, he was extremely upset and accused Veciana of being part of it.(61) Although Veciana told Bishop he had no knowledge of it, Bishop apparently did not believe him and eventually suggested that their relationship by terminated.(62)
On July 26, 1973, Bishop arranged for Veciana to meet with him in the parking lot of the Flagler Dog Track in Miami.(63) When Veciana arrived, Bishop was waiting for him with two younger men in an automobile.(64) At that time Bishop gave Veciana a suitcase which, Veciana later ascertained, contained $253,000 in cash.(65) Since, at the beginning of their relationship, Veciana had refused Bishop's offer to pay him for his work with him, the lump sum payment was meant as compensation for his efforts over the years.(66)
The committee's interest in the relationship between Antonio Veciana and Maurice Bishop is of course predicated on Veciana's contention that he saw Bishop with Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas a few months before the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Veciana could not specifically pinpoint the date of that meeting with Bishop. He believed it was in late August 1963.(67) Over the years that he knew Bishop, Veciana had at least five meetings with him in Dallas.(68) The meeting at which Oswald was present took place in the lobby of a large office building in the downtown section of the city, perhaps a bank or an insurance building with a blue facade or lobby.(69) When Veciana arrived for the meeting, Bishop was there talking with Oswald. Veciana does not recall whether he was introduced to Oswald by name, but said he did not have any conversation with him.(70) Oswald remained with Bishop and Veciana only for abrief time as they walked toward a nearby coffee shop. Oswald then departed and Bishop and Veciana continued their meeting alone.(71)
Veciana testified that he recognized the young man with Bishop as Lee Harvey Oswald after seeing photographs of him following the Kennedy assassination.(72) There was absolutely no doubt in his mind that the man was Oswald, not just someone who resembled him. Veciana pointed out that he had been trained to remember the physical characteristics of people and that if it was not Oswald it was his "exact" double.(73)
Veciana's next meeting with Bishop was in Miami about 2 months after the assassination of President Kennedy.(74) Although they discussed the assassination in general, Veciana did not specifically ask him about Oswald. "I was not going to make the mistake of getting myself involved in something that did not concern me," he testified.(75) Also, he said, "That was a very difficult situation because I was afraid. We both understood. I could guess that he knew that I was knowledgeable ot that and I learned that the best way is not to know, not to get to know things that don't concern you, so I respected the rules and I didn't mention that ever."(76)
Bishop himself, however, did suggest to Veciana the possibility of some involvement. At the time there were newspaper reports that Oswald had met with some Cubans during his visit to Mexico. Veciana said that Bishop was aware that he had a relative, Guillermo Ruiz, who was a high-ranking officer in Castro's intelligence service stationed in Mexico City.(77)Bishop told Veciana that if he could get in touch with Ruiz, he would pay Ruiz a large amount of money to say publicly that it was him and his wife who had met with Oswald.(78) Veciana agreed to make the attempt to contact Ruiz because, as he testifies. "I knew that Ruiz would be tempted with money; he liked money."(79)Veciana, however, was never successful in contacting Ruiz, and when he mentioned it to Bishop a couple of months later, Bishop told him to forget it.(80) That was the last time Veciana ever spoke about the Kennedy assassination or Lee Harvey Oswald to Bishop, and, he testified, he never told anyone about seeing Oswald until questioned by Senator Schweiker's investigator.(81)
In assessing Veciana's testimony, the committee made an attempt to evaluate his general credibility and, concurrently, take the necessary steps to determine if there was a Maurice Bishop or someone using that name and, if there was, with whom he was associated.
The timing and cicumstances of that initial interview with Veciana by Senator Schweiker's investigator is a factor in determining his credibility.(82) Two weeks prior to the interview, Veciana had been released from the Federal penitentiary in Atlanta after serving 27 months on a narcotics conspiracy conviction.(83) Veciana, although having served his time, insisted he was innocent, but claimed that the case against him was so well fabricated that the Federal prosecutor actually believed he was guilty.(84) According to Senator Schweiker's investigator, Veciana appeared confused and frightened by the situation in which he found himself, but said he believed that in some way his legal problems were related to his previous association with Bishop, although he did not know exactly how.(85) The investigator speculated that Veciana felt that by revealing his association with Bishop to an official representative of the U.S. Government, he would be providing himself with an element of security.(86) Much later,however, Veciana apparently changed his position and decided that Castro agents, not Bishop, were responsible for his drug arrest.(87) This charge was inconsistent with information provided to the committee by one of Veciana's closest associates, who said that Veciana told him that he thought the CIA framed him because he wanted to go ahead with another plot to kill Castro.(88) This associate, Prof. Rufo Lopez-Fresquet, Castro's former Minister of Finance, however, said he was not aware that Veciana had had any association with anyone like Maurice Bishop and that he, himself, could not identifyBishop.(89)
The committee conducted numerous interviews of other key anti-Castro associates or former associates of Veciana, not only as part of its efforts to locate Bishop but alos to further aid in assessing Veciana' credibility Generally Veciana's reputation for honesty and integrity was excellent. A former associate, who worked with him when Veciana was chief of sabotage for the MRP in Havana, said "Veciana was the straightest, absolutely trustworthy, most honest person I ever met. I would trust him explicitly." (90) Still, not one of his associates--neither those who worked with him in anti-Castro activity in Cuba nor those who were associated with him in Alpha 66 said theywere aware of any American directing Veciana or of anyone who had the characteristics of Maurice Bishop.
Nevertheless, there were many aspects of Veciana's story that the evidence does corroborate. Veciana's claim, for instance, that he was the principal organizer of the attempt on Castro's life in Havana in October 1961, was documented in a Cuban newspaper report at the time.(91) Early in their relationship in Miami, Bishop asked Veciana to monitor the activities of an anti-Castro operation called "Cellula Fantasma."(92) Veciana said he attended a few meetings of the group and described the operation as a leaflet-dropping mission over Cuba which involved known soldier-of-fortune Frank Fiorini Sturgis.(93) Veciana said he did not know why Bishop would have been interested in the operation, but the committee reviewed files which confirmed the existence and mission of the group, and the involvement of Frank Fiorini Sturgis at the time.(94)
While Veciana was still in Cuba, among those at the American Embassy Bishop suggested he contact for aid in anti-Castro operations was a Col. Sam Kail.(95) The committee ascertained that there was a Col. Samuel G. Kail at the American Embassy in Havana in 1960 at the time Veciana said he contacted him. Kail, now retired, was located and interviewed in Dallas.
Colonel Kail served as the U.S. Army attache at the U.S. Embassy in Havana from June 3, 1958, until the day the Embassy closed, January 4, 1961.(96) His primary mission as a military attache was that of intelligence.(97) Later, in February 1962, he was transferred to Miami where he was in charge of the unit that debriefed newly arrived Cuban refugees. Although he reported directly to the Chief of Army Intelligence in Washington, Kail said he assumed his unit was actually functioning for the CIA. "I suspect they paid our bills," he said.(98)
Kail said that prior to the American Embassy closing in Havana, there was a "constant stream" of Cubans coming through his office with anti-Castro schemes, including assassination plans, asking for American assistance in the form of weapons or guarantees of escaping. "We had hordes and hordes of people through there all the time," he said. For that reason, he said, he did not specifically remember Veciana visiting him. "I think it would be a miracle if I could recall him," he said, but does not discount the possibility that he did meet him.(99)
Kail said, however, agents of the CIA would frequently use the names of other Embassy staff personnel in their outside contacts without notifying the staff individual it was being done.(100) It happened "a number of times"' he said that a Cuban would come in and ask to see Colonel Kail and, when introduced to him, tell him that he was not the Colonel Kail he had met outside the Embassy.(101) Kail said he would then have the Cuban point out the CIA agent who had used his name.(102)
Kail said he was not familiar with a Maurice Bishop, nor had he ever heard of anyone using that name.(103)
Another aspect of Veciana's story that the committee examined closely was his alleged involvement in the assassination attempt on Castro in Chile in 1971. In a report given to Senator George McGovern in 1975, Castro provided information detailing the plot and accused "counterrevolutionaries from Alpha 66" as coconspirators.(104) Veciana himself, however, was not specifically mentioned. Nevertheless, the committee probed the anti-Castro Cuban community in Miami and found that Veciana's involvement in the plot was known by many of the active exiles. Max Lesnik, editor and publisher of Replica, the most prominent Spanish-language weekly publication in the commu-nity, said he was aware of Veciana's involvement in the assassination attempt at the time.(105) He said, however, that Veciana told him that it was "his own plan," and did not mention the involvement of a Maurice Bishop.(106) Lesnik could not identify Bishop but said he always did think that Veciana must have had "some high Government contacts, probably CIA."(107)
The committee also attempted to confirm Vecianas' role in the Chile plot by locating two other anti-Castro Cubans allegedly involved with him. They were interviewed in Caracas, Venezuela, but, because they are not U.S. citizens, they could not be subpenaed for sworn statements.
One of those named was Lucilo Pena. A Cuban-born graduate of Auburn University in Georgia. Pena is now a Venezuelan citizen and a sales manager for a large chemical firm. He has lived in Venezuela since 1961.(108)
Although Pena denied any involvement in the Castro assassination plot in Chile, he admitted to knowing Veciana since "1964 or 1965," when he was active in Alpha 66's "Plan Omega," a plot to invade Cuba from a base in the Dominican Republic.(109) He said he first met Veciana through a friend, Secundino Alverez, who was the Caracas chapter leader of Alpha 66.(110) (Alverez was among those named by Veciana as also being involved in the Chile plot.) (111) Pena admitted he had been in contact with Veciana during the period the Chile plot was being planned but, he said, their meetings were onlycasual, usually at boxing matches which Veciana promoted.(112) Pena also admitted that Veciana may have discussed the possibility of assassinating Castro with him during one of these encounters at the boxing matches. "I think he asked some help in raising money."Pena said, "but that's all I know about that." (113) Pena denied any knowledge or involvement in any plot to blame Russian agents for the planned Castro assassination in Chile. "I am not the type to do that kind of counterintelligence work," he said. "I am too open andhonest."(114)
Pena, however, admitted to knowing, perhaps since 1963. Luis Posada, another anti-Castro Cuban in Caracas, who Veciana claims was involved in the plot to kill Castro in Chile.(115)
The committee interviewed Luis Posada in the Venezuelan political prison. Cuartel San Carlos, in Caracas. Posada had been arrested in October 1976, along with well-known anti-Castro Cuban terrorist Orlando Bosch, and indicted for being involved in the bombing of a Cubana Airlines plane in which 73 persons were killed.(116)
Posada had earlier been linked with assassination plots against Cuban officials in Chile, including two who disappeared in August 1976.(117)
Posada's background as a military and intelligence operative is eclectic. He was a member of Brigade 2506, but he did not take part in the Bay of Pigs landing. (118) In 1963, he joined the U.S. Army and was commissioned a first lieutenant. (119) He resigned his commission in 1964.(120) He went to Venezuela in 1967 and shortly afterwards joined the Venezuelan secret police, called DISIP, the Direccion de los Servicios de Intelligencia y Prevencion. (121) From 1971 to 1973, he was chief of operations of the General Division of Security for DISIP, which included counterintelligence.(122) He resigned from DISIP in 1973 and went to Washington, D.C. to take training fromwhat he termed "a private company" in the field of lie detection.(123) He then returned to Caracas to open his own private detective agency.
Posada told committee investigators that he was not involved in the Castro assassination attempt in Chile in 1971.(124) He admitted that he knew Veciana but said he only met him twice, once in Miami and once in Caracas at the boxing matches.(125) He said he did talk to Veciana about the time the Chile plot was being planned, but Veciana never mentioned anything to him about it.(126)
Another aspect of Veciana's allegations that were of interest to the committee was Bishop's suggestion of developing a misinformation scheme involving a Castro intelligence agent and Oswald.(127) Veciana said that Bishop knew that a relative of his was in the Cuban Intelligence service assigned to mexico City at the time of the Kennedy assassination.(128) According to Veciana, a news story was circulating immediately after the assassination that Oswald had met a couple on the Mexican border while on his way to Mexico City prior to the assassination.(129) Bishop, Veciana said, suggested he attempt to get intouch with his relative and offer him a bribe to say that it was he and his wife who met Oswald in Mexico.(130) Veciana said he was never able to get in touch with his relative about it and eventually Bishop told him to forget it.(131)
Veciana's relative, Orestes Guillermo Ruiz Perez, was, in fact, a relative by marriage, the husband of a first cousin to Veciana.(132) Veciana said he first learned of Ruiz's affiliation with Castro's intelligence service shorly after Castro took power. He and Ruiz were walking in a Havana park when they were stopped and searched by Castro's police. Ruiz was found to be carrying a gun and was taken away. Concerned, Veciana immediately placed a call to a close friend inside Castro's government, Minister of Finance Rufo Lopez-Fresquet. Lopez-Fresquet told Veciana not to worry about Ruiz because Ruiz was actually working for the intelligence service.(133)
Although Ruiz was a Castro agent and Communist he warned Veciana that he was being observed visiting the American Embassy in Havana and told him to be careful.(134) That was why Veciana later thought that he might be able to turn Ruiz into an anti-Castro agent. Some time after the Kennedy assassination, Veciana said he was approached by another anti-Castro Cuban named Robert Vale.(135) Vale asked Veciana to attempt to contact Ruiz about possibly becoming an asset for the CIA.(136) Ruiz, at the time, was stationed in Spain, and when Veciana found a friend, Roblejo Lorie, who was traveling toSpain, he asked him to carry a letter to Ruiz. Lorie gave the letter to Ruiz but, according to Veciana, Ruiz tore the letter up infront of Lorie and told him that he did not want to have any contact with Veciana because he knew Veciana "was working for the CIA."(137)
The committee was able to interview Orestes Guillermo Ruiz in Havana.(138) Ruiz acknowledged that he was related to Veciana through marriage.(139) He said that "everyone in Cuba" knows that Veciana is associated with the CIA and was involved in assassination attempts on Castro.(140) He said, however, aside from what he read in the American newspapers, he has no knowledge of Veciana's association with Maurice Bishop or who Maurice Bishop could be.(141) He said he was never contacted by Veciana about Oswald(142) and, in fact, has not seen Veciana since 1959.(143)
Ruiz expressed disdain for Veciana, said he considered him a coward(144) and "a person you cannot believe." He said Veciana had personality problems and was under psychiatric care from the time he was 16 years old until he was 21.(145) Ruiz said that "another counterrevolutionary," a cousin of Veciana's who is a doctor "in Miami or Chicago" and whose name is Jose Veciana, could attest to Veciana's psychiatric problems because he had advised the family about them.(146)
Committee investigators located Dr. Jose Veciana in Martin, Tenn., where he was chief of pathology at Volunteer General Hospital. He confirmed that he is a first cousin to Antonio Veciana and that he had known him when he was a child in Havana.(147) Dr. Veciana said he has never known his cousin to have personality problems or to have ever been under psychiatric care. He said he himself has never provided Veciana any psychiatric advice nor offered it to his family.(148) He said he believed that Veciana must be of sound mental condition because he knows that Veciana had to undergo vigorous tests in his rise in the banking business.(149)
Veciana himself denied Ruiz' allegations that he had had psychiatric problems as a young man. His mother confirmed his denial.(150)
THE SEARCH FOR BISHOP
One of the factors utilized in the committee's efforts to locate Maurice Bishop was the description of him provided by Veciana. When he first met him in 1960, Veciana said, Bishop was about 45 years old, about 6 feet, 2 inches tall, weighed over 200 pounds, and was athletically built. He had gray-blue eyes, light brown hair, and a light complexion.(151) Veciana said, however, that Bishop appeared to spend much time outdoors or in sunny climate because he was usually well tanned and there was some skin discoloration, like sun spots, under his eyes.(152) He appeared to be meticulous about his dress and usually concerned about his weight and diet.(153) In the latter yearsthat Veciana knew him, Bishop began using glasses for reading.(154)
Shortly after he revealed his Bishop relationship to Senator Schweiker's investigator, Veciana aided a professional artist in developing a composite sketch of Bishop. Schweiker's office provided the committee with a copy of the sketch. Veciana told the committee that he considered the artist's composite sketch of Bishop a "pretty good" resemblance.(155)
Prior to the committee's efforts, Senator Schweiker's office, as well as the Senate subcommittee he headed, looked into certain aspects of Veciana's allegations. Schweiker, for instance, requested the Belgian Embassy to conduct a record check for information about a passport issued under the name of "Frigault." The Belgian Embassy said that, without additional identifying information, it could not help.(156) In addition, Schweiker's investigator showed Veciana numerous photographs of individuals who may have used the nameof Bishop, among them Oswald's friend, George de Mohrenschildt, who was then a teacher at Bishop College in Dallas. The results were negative.(157)
It was Senator Schweiker who focused the committee's attention to David Atlee Phillips, former chief of the Western Hemisphere Division of the CIA Deputy Directorate of Operations, as perhaps having knowledge of Maurice Bishop. Immediately after receiving the Bishop sketch, Schweiker concluded that Phillips, who had earlier testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities, bore a strong resemblance to the sketch.
When Veciana was shown a photograph of David Phillips by Schweiker's investigator, he did not provide an absolutely conclusive response.(158) For that reason, it was decided that Veciana be given the opportunity to observe Phillips in person.(159) Schweiker arranged for Veciana to be present at a luncheon meeting of the Association of Retired Intelligence Officers in Reston, Va., on September 17, 1976.(160) Phillips was one of the founders of the association. Veciana was introduced to Phillips prior to the luncheon.(161) He was introduced by name but not by affiliation with Alpha 66 or involvement with anti-Castro activity.(162) According to Schweiker's investigator, there was no indication of recognition on Phillips' part.(163) Following the luncheon, Veciana had the opportunity to speak with Phillips in Spanish.(164) Veciana asked Phillips if he was in Havana in 1960 and if he knew Julio Lobo.(165)Phillips answered both questions affirmatively and then asked Veciana to repeat his name.(166) Veciana did and then asked, "Do you know my name?" Phillips said he did not.(167) Phillips was asked if Veciana was on Schweiker's staff.(168) He was told that he was not, but that Veciana was helping Schweiker in his investigation of the Kennedy assassination.(169) Phillips declined to be interviewed by Senator Schweiker's investigator, but said he would be happy to speak with any Congressman or congressional representative "in Congress."(170)Following the encounter of Veciana and Phillips, Schweiker's investigator asked Veciana if David Phillips was Maurice Bishop.(171) Veciana said he was not.(172)
Schweiker's investigator expressed some doubt about Veciana's credibility on the point, however, because of Veciana's renewed interest incontinuing his anti-Castro operations and his expressed desire to recontact Bishop to help him.(173) In addition, Schweiker's investigator expressed doubt that David Phillips, who was once in charge of Cuban operations for the CIA and whose career was deeply entwined in anti-Castro operations, could not recognize the name of Veciana as being the founder and vociferous public spokesman for one of the largest and most active anti-Castro Cuban groups, Alpha 66.(174)
The committee considered other factors in examining Phillips, including his principal area of expertise and operations until 1963. (175) In 1960, when Veciana said he first met Bishop in Havana, Phillips was serving as a covert operative in Havana.(176) From 1961 to 1963, Phillips was Chief of Covert Action in another relevant country. When Oswald visited the Cuban Consulate in Mexico City in 1963, Phillips was also in charge of Cuban operations for the CIA in same country. Phillips had earlier lived in and had numerous associations in another relevant country.(177) He had also servedas chief of station in several other places of general relevance.(178)
The committee developed other information that further gave support to an interest in Phillips in relation to Bishop. In Miami, its investigators interviewed a former career agent for the CIA, who for present purposes will be called Ron Cross. From September 1960 until November 1962, Cross was a case officer at the CIA's JM/WAVE station, the operational base which coordinated the Agency's activities with the anti-Castro exiles.(179) He handled one of the largest and most active anti-Castro groups.(180) At the time that Cross was at the Miami JM/WAVE station, David Phillips was responsible for certain aspects of the CIA's anti-Castro operations. Cross coordinated these operations with Phillips, who would occasionally visit the JM/WAVE station from Washington.(181) Generally, however, Cross worked with Phillips' direct assistant at the station, who used the cover name of Doug Gupton.
In his book about his role in the Bay of Pigs operation, former CIA officer E. Howard Hunt used a pseudonym when referring to the chief of the operation.(182) The chief of propaganda was David Phillips Hunt called him"Knight."(183)
When asked by the committee if he was familiar with anyone using the cover name of Bishop at the JM/WAVE station, Cross said he was "almost positive" that David Phillips had used the cover name of Maurice Bishop.(184) He said he was "fairly sure" that Hunt himself had used the cover name of Knight.(185) Cross said, however, that the reason he was certain that Phillips used the name of Bishop was because he recalled sometimes discussing field and agent problems with Phillips' assistnat, Doug Gupton, and Gupton often saying,"Well, I guess Mr. Bishop will have to talk with him." Cross said: "And, of course, I knew he was referring to his boss, David Phillips." (186)
The committee ascertained that the cover name of Doug Gupton was used at the JM/WAVE station by a former CIA employee.
The committee staff interviewed Doug Gupton on August 22, 1978, at CIA headquarters.(187) Gupton said he worked for the CIA from December 1951 until his retirement.(188) Gupton confirmed that he was in charge of a special operations staff at the Miami JM/WAVE station and that his immediate superior was David Phillips. Gupton acknowledged that Ron Cross(cover name) was a case officer who worked for him and that he saw Cross on a daily basis.(190) Gupton said he did not recall whether E. Howard Hunt or David Phillips ever used the name of "Knight." (191) He said he does not recall Phillips ever using the name of Maurice Bishop.(192) When told about Cross' recollection of him referring to Phillips as "Mr. Bishop," Gupton said: "Well, maybe I did. I don't remember."(193) He also said, however, that he never heard the name of Bishop while he was stationed in Miami.(194) When shown the sketch of Bishop, he said it did not look like anyone he knew.(195)
Explaining his working relationship with David Phillips, Gupton said he was in contact with him regularly in Washington by telephone and cable, and that Phillips visited Miami "quite often." (196) Gupton said, however, that there were two sets of operations. His set of operations was run out of Miami and he kept Phillips informed of them. Phillips ran another set of operations personally out of Washington and, Gupton said, Phillips did not keep him briefed about them.(197) Gupton also said he knew that Phillips used manyof his old contacts from Havana in his personal operations.(198)
David Altee Phillips testified before the committee in executive session on April 25, 1978. He said he never used the name Maurice Bishop.(199) He said he did not know of anyone in the CIA who used the name Maurice Bishop.(200) He said he had seen Antonio Veciana only twice in his life, the second time the morning of his hearing before the committee when Veciana, who had testified earlier, emerged from the hearing room while he, Phillips, was in the hallway.(201) Phillips said the first time he met Veciana was at a meeting of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers in Reston.(202) He said that Veciana was brought to that meeting by an investigator from Senator Schweiker's office but, said Phillips, Veciana was not introduced to him by name but only as "the driver."(203) He said Veciana asked him some questions in Spanish, but at the time he did not know who Veciana was or why Senator Schweiker's office had sent him to the meeting.(204)
Phillips also testified that he had never used the name Frigault and had never used a Belgain passport.(205)
Phillips was shown the sketch of Maurice Bishop but could not identify it as anyone he knew. He said, however, "It looks like me." (206)
In sworn testimony before the committee in executive session on April 26, 1978, Antonio Veciana said that David Atlee Phillips is no the person he knew as Maurice Bishop.(207) He said, however, that there was a "physical similarity."(208)
On March 2, 1978, the committee requested the CIA to check all its files and index references pertaining to Maurice Bishop.(209) On March 31, 1978, the CIA informed the committee that its Office of the Inspector General, its Office of the General Counsel, its Office of Personnel, and the Deputy Directorate of Operations had no record of a Maurice Bishop.(210)
On August 10, 1978, B. H., a former covert operative of the CIA, was interviewed by the committee in a special closed session. (211) B. H. was a CIA agent from 1952 to 1970.(212) Between 1960 and 1964 he was assigned to Cuban operations.(213) As such, he testified, he was involved in "day-to-day" operations with David Atlee Phillips. He characterized Phillips as "an excellent intelligence officer" and "a personal friend."(214)
When asked if he knew an individual named Maurice Bishop, B. H. said:
"Again, Mr. Bishop was in the organization but I had no personal day-to-day open relationship with him. Phillips, yes; Bishop, no. I knew them both." (215)
Although he couldn't describe Bishop's physical characteristics, B. H. said he had seen him "two or three times"(216) in the "hallways or cafeteria"(217), at CIA headquarters in Langley. B. H. said he thought Bishop worked in the Western Hemisphere Division(218) and that he had a position "higher than me."(219) He could not be more specific. The two or three times he saw Bishop, he said, was between 1960 and 1964 when he himself was in Cuban operations, although, he said, he did not know if Bishop worked in that area also.(220)
Asked how, if he did not personally know Bishop, he knew the person he saw at CIA headquarters was Maurice Bishop, B. H. said: "Someone might have said, 'That is Maurice Bishop,' and it was different from Dave Phillips or Joseph Langosch guys that I know."(221)
When shown the sketch of Maurice Bishop, however, B. H. could not identify it as anyone he recognized.
On August 17, 1978, the committee deposed John A. McCone, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from October 1961 until April 30, 1965.(222)
During the course of the deposition, the following questions and answers were recorded:
Q. Do you know or did you know Maurice Bishop?
Q. Was he an agency employee?
A. I believe so.
Q. Do you know what his duties were in 1963?
Q. For instance, do you know whether Maurice Bishop worked in the Western Hemisphere Division or whether he worked in some other division of the CIA?
A. I do not know. I do not recall. I knew at that time but I do not recall.
Q. Do you know whether Maurice Bishop used any pseudonyms?
A. No; I do not know that. (223)
In view of the information developed in the interviews with B. H. and former Director McCone, the committee asked the CIA to renew its file search for any files or index refferences pertaining to Bishop.(224). It also asked for a written statement from the CIA indicating whether an individual using either the true name or pseudonym of Maurice Bishop has ever been associated in any capacity with the CIA.(225)
A reply was received on September 8, 1978, from the CIA's Office of
Legislative Counsel indicating that all true name files, alias files and
pseudonym files were again checked and, again, proved negative. "No person
with such a name has a connection with CIA," said the reply.(226) Added
the Agency: "Quite frankly, it is our belief from our earlier check, reinforced
by this one-that such a man did not exist, so far as CIA connections are
*On October 19, 1978, the committee's chief counsel received a letter from the principal coordinator in the CIA's Office of Legislative Counsel. The letter said, in part: "This is to advise you that I have interviewed Mr. McCone and a retired employee concerning their recollections about an alleged CIA employee reportedly using the name of Maurice Bishop. * * *"We assembled photographs of the persons with the surname of Bishop who had employment relationships of some type with CIA during the 1960's, to see if either Mr. McCone or the employee would recognize one of them.
"Mr. McCone did not feel it necessary to review those photographs, stating that I should inform you that he had been in error. * * *
"The employee continues to recall a person of whom he knew who was known as Maurice Bishop. He cannot state the organizational connection or responsibilities of the individual, not knowing him personally, and feels that the person in question was pointed out to him by someone, perhaps a secretary. He is unable, however, to recognize any of the photographs mentioned above. * * *
"In summary, Mr. McCone withdraws his statements on this point. The employee continues to recall such a name, but the nature of his recollection is not very clear of precise. We still believe that there is no evidence of the existence of such a person so far as there being a CIA connection. * * *" (J.F.K. Document No. 012722.)
Additional efforts of locate Maurice Bishop were made by the committee in file requests to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (228) and to the Department of Defense. (229) Both proved negative. (230)
Although file reviews of Maurice Bishop proved negative, the committee learned that Army intelligence had an operational interest in Antonio Veciana during one period.
Veciana was registered in the Army Information Source Registry from November 1962 until July 1966.(231)
The nature of the Army's contact with Veciana appeared to be limited to attempting to use him as a source of intelligence information about Alpha 66 activities, with Veciana, in turn, seeking to obtain weapons and funds.(232) Veciana acknowledged and detailed to the committee these contacts with Army intelligence and said that, aside from keeping Bishop informed of them, they had no relationship with his activities with Bishop.(233)
Given the Army's acknowledgement of an interest in Veciana and Alpha 66, the committee made the assumption that the CIA may also have had an interest in Veciana and his Alpha 66 activities as part of its pervasive role in anti-Castro operations during the 1960's.
In a review of its own files on March 15, 1978, the CIA noted that Veciana had contacted the Agency three times-in December 1960; July 1962; and April 1966-for assistance in plots against Castro.(234) According to the CIA: "Officers listened to Veciana, expressed no interest, offered no encouragement and never recontacted him on this matter. There has been no Agency relationship with Veciana."(235)
The committee's own review of the Agency's files basically confirmed the stated conclusions about the meetings with Veciana in 1960 and 1966. A review of the files pertaining to 1962, however, revealed that on July 7, 1962, Veciana received $500 from a wealthy Puerto Rican financier and industrialist with whom the CIA had a longstanding operational relationship.(236) Although the files do not explicitly state whether the money originated with the CIA or the industrialist, and even though during this same period the Agency was using the Puerto Rican, it appears that in Veciana's case the money was provided by the industrialist, and not by the Agency.
Finally, to locate or identify Maurice Bishop, the committee issued a press release on July 30, 1978 and made available to the media the composite sketch of Bishop. The sketch was part of a release of several other items, including two sketches and three photographs. The committee warned that it should not be assumed that the release indicated the committee believes the person in the sketch was involved in the Kennedy assassination, only that information resulting from possible citizen recognition of the sketch might "shed additional light on the assassination." The committee asked that anyone who had information contact the committee by mail, not by telephone.(237)
By November 1, 1978, the committee received from the general public a total of four written responses relating to the Bishop sketch. The three photographs were identified, the two sketches were not.(238)
No definitive conclusion could be reached about the credibility of Antonio
Veciana's allegations regarding his relationship with a Maurice Bishop.
Additionally, no definitive conclusions could be drawn as to the identity
or affiliations of Bishop, if such an individual existed. While no evidence
was found to discredit Veciana's testimony, there was some evidence to
support it, although none of it was conclusive. The available documentary
record was sufficient to indicate that the U.S. Government's intelligence
community had a keen interest in Antonio Veciana during the early 1960's
and that he was willing to receive the financial support he needed for
the military operations of his anti-Castro groups from those sources. From
the files of these agencies, it thus appears reasonable that an association
similar to the alleged Maurice Bishop story actually existed. But whether
Veciana's contact was really named Maurice Bishop, or if he was, whether
he did all of the things Veciana claims, and if so, with which U.S. intelligence
agency he was associated, could not be determined. No corroboration was
found for Veciana's alleged meeting with Lee Harvey Oswald.
GAETON J. FONZI,
(1) Interview of Antonio Veciana Blanch, Mar. 2, 1976, House Select
Committee on Assassinations, p. 1 (J.F.K. Document 012927) (hereinafter
(2) "The Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy: Performance of the Intelligence Agencies, Book V," Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities, 94th Cong., 2nd sess.(Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1975) (Senate Rept. No. 94-755) (hereinafter Intelligence Committee Report, Book V).
(3) Memorandum to Marston, Mar. 3, 1976, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K.Document 012924).
(4) See ref.1, Veciana interview,p.4.
(5) Ibid.,see also pp.1,2,5,6.
(6) Id. at p. 7.
(7) Id. at p. 37.
(8) Letter from Senator Richard S. Schweiker, Dec. 14, 1976, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K.Document 000521).
(9) See ref. 1, Veciana interview,p.4.
(10) "Sugar King a Many-Sided Man," New York Times, July 20, 1958.
(11) Executive session testimony of Antonio Veciana Blanch, Apr.25, 1978, hearing before the House Select Committee on Assassinations,p. 4 (hereinafter Veciana session testimony).
(12) Id. at p.6.
(13) Id. at p.7.
(14) Id. at p.5.
(15) Id. at p.8.
(16) Id. at p.9.
(17) Staff memorandum, Jan. 17, 1977,House Select Committee on Assassination (J.F.K. Document 012922).
(18) "My 14 Months With Castro," Rufo Lopez-Fresquet (World Publishing Co.),p.111.
(19) See ref. 11, Veciana testimony, executive session, p.10.
(20) Id. at p.11.
(21) Id. at p.12.
(23) Id. at p.15.
(24) Id. at p.14.
(25) Id. at p.18.
(26) Id. at p.19.
(27) Immunized testimony of Antonio Veciana Blanch, Apr. 26, 1978, Hearings before the House Select Committee on Assassinations,p.68 (hereinafter Veciana immunized testimony).
(28) See ref.11, Veciana executive session testimony, p.21.
(29) See ref.1, Veciana interview,p.2.
(31) See ref.11, Veciana executive session testimony, pp.21,59.
(32) Id. at p.22.
(33) Id. at p.26.
(34) Id. at p.25.
(35) Id. at p.25.
(36) Id. at p.24.
(37) U.S. News & World Report, Oct. 29, 1962, p.40.
(38) New York Times, Sept. 14, 1962, p.13.
(39) See ref.27, Veciana immunized testimony, p.72.
(40) See ref.11, Veciana executive session testimony, p.27.
(41) See ref.27, Veciana immunized testimony, p.88.
(42) Ibid., p.89.
(43) Outside contact report, Aug. 30, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K.Document 011267).
(44) See ref.11, Veciana executive session testimony, p. 26.
(45) Id. at p.28.
(46) Id. at p.27.
(47) Id. at p.28.
(49) Id. at p.39.
(50) Telegram, Department of State (J.F.K. Document 012920).
(51) Ibid.; see also ref.11, Veciana executive session testimony, pp.38 and 40.
(52) See ref.1, Veciana interview, p.5.
(53) Telegram, Department of State (J.F.K. Document 012920).
(54) See ref. 1, Veciana interview, p.5.
(55) See ref. 11, Veciana executive session testimony, p.41.
(56) See ref. 1, Veciana interview.
(57) See ref. 27, Veciana immunized testimony, p.53.
(58) See ref. 11, Veciana executive session testimony, p.42.
(59) Id. at p.43.
(60) See ref. 1, Veciana interview, p.9.
(62) See interview of Antonio Veciana Blanch.
(63) Ibid. Mar. 11, 1976,House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 012929).
(65) See ref. 25, Veciana immunized testimony, p. 73.
(66) See ref. 62, Veciana interview, p. 3, 54.
(67) Id. at p.4.
(68) See ref. 11, Veciana executive session testimony, p. 19.
(69) Ibid; see ref. 1, Veciana interview, p. 7.
(71) See ref. 11, Veciana executive session testimony, pp. 24, 25.
(72) Id. at p. 21.
(73) See ref. 1, Veciana interview, p. 7.
(74) See ref. 11, Veciana executive session testimony, p. 31.
(75) Id. at pp. 28, 36.
(76) Id. at pp. 29, 30.
(77) Id. at p. 28.
(78) Id. at p. 29.
(80) Id. at p. 37.
(82) See ref. 1, Veciana interview.
(84) Memorandum to Marston, Mar. 4, 1976, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.1 (J.F.K. Document 012923).
(85) See ref. 1, Veciana interview, p.10.
(86) See ref. 84.
(87) See ref. 11, Veciana executive session testimony, p.9.
(88) Staff interview with Lopez-Fresquet, May 19, 1977, House Select Committee on Assassinations,p.13 (J.F.K.Document 001512).
(89) Id. at p.9.
(90) Memorandum, July 27, 1976, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.2 (J.F.K. Document 012919).
(91) "Revolucion," Nov. 7, 1961, p. 1.
(92) See ref. 1, Veciana interview, p. 6.
(94) CIA memorandum to FBI, Sept. 11, 1962 (Rorke pamphlet attachment).
(95) See ref. 11, Veciana executive session testimony, p.18.
(96) Staff memorandum, Kail interview, July 24, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations,p. 1 (J.F.K.Document 010307).
(98) Id. at p. 5.
(99) Id. at p. 2.
(103) Id. at p. 4.
(104) Castro report, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 000593).
(105) Staff memorandum of Max Lesnik interview, May 30, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.4 (J.F.K. Document 008888).
(108) Staff memorandum of Lucilo Pena interview, June 12, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K.Document 009270).
(111) See ref. 27, Veciana immunized testimony, p. 54-55
(112) See ref. 108.
(115) Ibid.; see also ref. 27, Veciana immunized testimony, p. 54.
(116) Miami Herald, Oct. 16, 1976, p. 8.
(117) FBI file No.2-2173, section 6, serials 231.
(118) Staff memorandum on Posada interview, June 17, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p. 1 (J.F.K. Document 009412).
(119) Id. at p. 2.
(125) Id. at p. 1.
(126) Id. at p. 3.
(127) See ref. 11, Veciana Executive Session Testimony, pp.28-30.
(128) See ref. 1, Veciana interview, p.8.
(130) Ibid.; see ref.11, Veciana executive session testimony, p.28.
(132) Staff interview of Orestes Guillermo Ruiz, Aug.23, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations, pp.1,7.
(133) Outside Contact Report, Aug. 30, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations,p. 1 (J.F.K. Document 011267).
(134) Interview notes, Mar. 16, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.5 (J.F.K. Document 012928).
(135) Outside Contact Report, Aug. 30, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.2(J.F.K. Document 011267).
(138) See ref. 132.
(139) Id. at p.7.
(140) Id. at p.12.
(141) Id. at p.13.
(143) Id. at p.7.
(144) Id. at p.9.
(145) Id. at p.11.
(147) Outside Contact Report, Sept. 12, 1978, House Select Committe on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 011465).
(150) Outside contact report, Aug. 30, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p. 1 (J.F.K. Document 011267).
(151) See ref. 27, Veciana Immunized Testimony, pp. 65-66.
(152) See ref. 62, Veciana interview, p. 4.
(155) See ref. 27, Veciana Immunized Testimony, p. 87.
(156) Letter from Senator Richard S. Schweiker, Dec. 14, 1976, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p. 3 (J.F.K. Document 000521). 56
(157) Memorandum, Aug. 6, 1976, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.2 (J.F.K. Document 012921).
(158) Memorandum to Gustavson, Sept. 20, 1976, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 013455).
(161) Id. at p.2.
(164) Id. at p.3.
(173) Id. at p.4.
(174) Id. at p.3.
(175) Veciana executive session testimony.
(177) David Phillips, Nightwatch, Atheneum, 1977, p.5.
(179) Staff interview, Jan. 16, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations, pp.1, 3 (J.F.K. Document 004721).
(180) Id. at p.2.
(181) Id. at p.4.
(182) E. Howard Hunt, Give Us This Day (Popular Library, 1974), p.26.
(184) Memorandum of interview, Feb. 4, 1978, p. 1 (J.F.K. Document 005063).
(185) Id. at p. 2.
(187) Staff interview of Doug Gupton, Aug. 28, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 002101).
(191) Id. at p. 2.
(199) Executive session testimony of David Atlee Phillips (classified), Apr. 25, 1978, hearings before the House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.89.
(201) Id. at p.86.
(203) Ibid. (204) Id. at p. 95.
(205) Id. at p. 88.
(206) Id. at p. 90.
(207) See ref. 27, Veciana immunized testimony, p. 70.
(209) Letter from the chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations to CIA, Office of Legislative Counsel, Mar. 2, 1978.
(210) Outside contact report, Mar. 31, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.4 (J.F.K. Document 006911).
(211) Committee interview of B. H.(top secret closed session), Aug. 10, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations.
(212) Id. at p.6.
(213) Id. at p.8.
(214) Id. at p.29.
(215) Id. at p.30.
(216) Id. at p.31.
(217) Id. at p.33.
(218) Id. at p.31.
(219) Id. at p.32.
(220) Id. at p.35.
(221) Id. at p.33.
(222) Depostion of John A. McCone, Aug. 17, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.4.
(223) Id. at pp.45-56.
(224) Letter from chief counsel, House Select Committee on Assassinations, to CIA principal coordinator, Aug. 16, 1978.
(225) Id. at p.2.
(226) Letter from the CIA principal coordinator to chief counsel, House Select Committee on Assassinations, Sept. 8, 1978.
(228) Letter from chief counsel, House Select Committee on Assassinations, to Attorney General, Justice Department, Mar. 9, 1978.
(229) Letter from chief counsel, House Select Committee on Assassinations, to Secretary of Defense, Mar. 9, 1978.
(230) FBI letter, Mar. 17, 1978 (J.F.K. Document 006622); Outside contact report, April 19, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 007369).
(231) Department of Defense file No. AA 90 49 16; House Select Committee on Assassinations file review (J.F.K. Document 012918).
(233) Interview of Antonio Veciana Blanch, May 10, 1976, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p. 1 (J.F.K. Document 012930).
(234) CIA Directive 188531, Mar. 15, 1978.
(236) CIA Document, IN 24738, July 7, 1962.
(237) Release: House Select Committee on Assassinations, July 30, 1978.
(238) House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Documents 010528, 010508, 010524, 011018).
IV. CUBAN REVOLUTIONARY COUNCIL: A CONCISE HISTORY
The forerunner of the Cuban Revolutionary Council (CRC) was the Frente Revolucionario Democratico (FRD), formed in May 1960.(1) At the head of it were the leaders of five major anti-Castro groups. The proclaimed purpose of the FRD was to establish a democratic government in Cuba through the use of military force.(2)
The FRD set up headquarters initially in Mexico, but recruited most of its proposed invasion force from Miami.(3) The military arm of the FRD was known as Brigade 2506.(4) The Brigade was eventually composed of 1,443 men who were trained by U.S. Army specialists at two sites on the south coast of Guatemala.(5)
The leaders and their organizations that composed the FRD executive committee were: Aureliano Sanchez Arango of the Triple A group;Justo Carrillo of Montecristi; Antonio de Varona of Rescate; Manuel Artime of the Revolutionary Recovery Movement (MRR); and Dr. Jose Ignacio Rasco of the Christian Democratic Movement (MDC).(6) Antonio de Varona served as General Coordinator(7) and the membership was soon expanded to include Dr. Antonio Maceo, a noted Cuban surgeon; former Cuban President Carlos Hevia; andconservative leader Rafael Sardinas.(8)
In March 1961, The State Department pressured FRD leaders to accept the Movimento Revolutionario del Pueblo (MRP), headed by Manuel Ray Rivero, into the FRD.(9) The inclusion of Ray's group into the alliance of Cuban exiles was reportedly also "terribly important to the White House," which wanted to broaden the political base of the FRD.(10) In an effort to attract Ray and his group into the FRD, Antonio de Varona resigned voluntarily and Dr. Jose Miro Cardona was elected its new president.(11) Dr. Miro Cardona was a former Havana jurist who broke with Castro after serving him as his first Prime Minister.(12)
Shortly before the April 17, 1961, Bay of Pigs invasion, the Cuban Revolutionary Council (CRC) was formed to coordinate and direct FRD activities with U.S. Government support.(13) The new organization had direct access to President Kennedy and top White House aides.(14) All the groups within the CRC maintained their separate identities,(15) the leaders expressing publicly their unity, especially during the period prior to the planned invasion. The regrouping included the following Cuban exile leaders: Chairman, Dr. JoseMiro Cardona; Board of Directors-Antonio de Varona, Justo Carillo, Carlos Hevia, Antonio Maceo, Manuel Ray, and Manuel Artime.(16) CRC committees were organized in key cities in the United States and delegations appointed in Latin American countries.(17)
The failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion resulted in Castro capture and imprisonment of over 1,000 of the Brigade's members.(18) The dejected leaders of the CRC, who had been sequestered for security reasons at the start of the invasion,(19) were later taken to the White House for a personal visit with President Kennedy who expressed his regret and assumed responsibility for the invasion failure.(20)
Shortly after the unsuccessful invasion, Manuel Ray withdrew his organizations, the MRP, from the Council,(21) and by October 1961, the CRC had completely absorbed the FRD.(22) Dr. Miro Cardona remained at the helm of the Council, which had been enlarged to include the Revolutionary Action and a faction of the 30th of November Movement.(23) While some unification had been achieved through the FRD and CRC, the Cuban exile groups were plagued by factionalism, personal rivalries for leadership roles, and conflicting programs.(24) Nevertheless, the CRC was still considered the principal unifying organization of the Cuban exile community(25) although no anti-Castro leader emerged who could command broad support of the community.(26)
After the October 1962 missile crisis, the policy of the United States
toward the Castro regime changed drastically. In his book "The Losers,"
Paul Bethel, former press attache at the havana Embassy noted:
There is no doubt that President Kennedy and his brother,the Attorney General, consciously set about the business of stopping all efforts to unhorse Fidel Castro-from outside exile attacks, and from Cuba's internal resistance movement. (27)
When two Cuban exile groups made raids against Russian installations
in Cuba and a Russian freighter in the Cuban port of Caribarien, the Attorney
General dispatched 600 Federal agents to Miami in an effort to prevent
further actions against the Castro regime.(28) A directive was issued that
prohibited key anti-Castro leaders in Miami from leaving the area without
Although individual groups received financial aid from the U.S. Government(30) the effectiveness of the CRC as a unifying organization deteriorated. In April 1963, Jose Miro Cardona resigned his position as president in a clash with the Kennedy administration over Cuban policy.(31) Miro Cardona claimed that Kennedy had promised another invasion would be launched and had instead chosen a course of peaceful coexistence with the Castro regime.(32) The CRC was revamped and Dr. Antonio Maceo elected president,(33) although Antonio de Varona was still a dominating force in the organization.(34) Government funds to the CRC were cut off on May 1, 1963,and could no longer support its Latin American delegates.(35)
The crediblity of the CRC then took a severe blow. In June 1963, the Miami News revealed that a highly publicized commando raid on Cuba, purportedly made on June 21, was actually a hoax.(36) According to the newspaper, "Although Dr. Maceo did not say it, sources related that the proposed landing of up to 3,000 commandos was a fraud that ballooned with the tacit consent of other publicity-minded CRC members."(37) Following the revelations, Dr. Maceo resigned as president of the CRC and was succeeded by Antonio de Varona.(38)
Varona was able to hold the financially pinched CRC together for about
6 months, but he himself had to leave Miami in early 1964 and move to New
york to seek employment, giving up his full-time activities as an anti-Castro
revolutionary leader.(39) The Cuban Revolutionary Council quietly disintegrated.
GAETON J. FONZI,
ELIZABETH J. PALMER
(1) CIA Memo, October 30, 1967.
(2) Executive session testimony of Antonio de Varona, March, 16, 1978. Hearings before the House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.10 (herein-after Varona executive session testimony).
(3) FBI teletype to Director and SAC, New Orleans from SAC, Miami, September 7, 1960, Bureau No. 105-78462-4 (JFK document 012692, item 3).
(4) Mario Lazo, "Dagger in the Heart," (Scranton, Pa.:Funk and Wagnalls, 1968), p.258.
(6) E. Howard Hunt, "Give Us This Day," (New York: Popular Library, 1973), p.44. (hereinafter cited Give Us This Day.)
(7) FBI Airtel to Director from SAC, Dergio Arcacha Smith Black Line file, New Orleans, December 12, 1960, HSCA (JFK document 012691).
(8) See ref. 17, "Give Us This Day," pp.71-72.
(9) Id. at pp. 172-73.
(10) Id. at p. 173.
(11) Id. at p. 154.
(12) Theodore A. Ediger,"Battle of Miami,"Dallas Morning News, July 1, 1962.
(13) CIA Memo, October 30, 1967.
(15) Security File No. 020, CIA Handbook, House Select Committee on Assassinations.
(16) CIA file.
(17) See ref. 7.
(18) "Selected Chronology on Cuba," Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, December 21, 1962 (JFK Document 012743) (hereinafter Selected Cuban Chronology).
(19) See ref. 6, "Give Us This Day," pp.191-192.
(20) See ref. 3, Varona, executive session testimony, p.23.
(21) CIA cable, April 9, 1963.
(22) CIA Memo, October 30, 1967.
(23) See ref. 12.
(24) Staff security file, House Select Committee on Assassinations, FBI Sen-study Document, vol. 37, item 1, Cinal 100-422089, National Security Information-Latin American Activities, October 18,1961 (JFK Document 000092).
(27) Paul D. Bethel, "The Losers," New Rochelle, N.Y.: (Arlington House, 1969), p.398.
(28) Id. at pp.398-399.
(29) Id. at p. 399.
(30) CIA Memo, July 9, 1964; CIA undated document.
(31) See ref. 18, "Select Cuban Chronology."
(32) Ibid. April 15, 1963.
(33) "Maceo Quits as Head of Cuba Group," Dallas Morning News, June 23, 1963.
(34) FBI No. 105-107224-126, report from Miami, June 11, 1963. (JFK Document 012 689, item 4.)
(36) Hal Hendrix, "Raid a Hoax. Cuban Exile Boss Quits," Miami News, June 23, 1963.
(38) See ref. 18, "Selected Cuban Chronology."
(39) "Cuban Anti-Castro Chief by Day Selling Cars in Jersey by Night," New York Times, August 22, 1964.
V. CUBAN REVOLUTIONARY COUNCIL (CRC: NEW ORLEANS CHAPTER)
Nine days after the assassination of the President, the U.S. Secret Service began an investigation into the activities of Lee Harvey Oswald during his residency in New Orleans.(1)
Oswald had been arrested there in August 1963 while distributing Fair Play for Cuba literature. Some of his leaflets had the address 544 Camp Street stamped on them. The Secret Service endeavored to determine if Oswald maintained an office at this address.(2)
During the course of its investigation, the Secret Service ascertainted that the New Orleans chapter of the Cuban Revolutionary Council (CRC) had occupied an office at 544 Camp STreet for about 6 months during 1961-62. At that time, Sergio Arcacha Smith was the official CRC delegate for the New Orleans area. The Secret Service also learned that Arcacha Smith had been fired from his position by the Miami CRC headquarters in early 1962, allegedly because he did not have the confidence of the New Orleans Cuban exile community. Luis Rabel replaced Arcacha Smith and moved the CRC offices to hishome.(3)
At the time of the Secret Service investigation, another Cuban exile, Frank Bartes, headed the new Orleans CRC delegation and maintainted offices in his home in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans.(4)
After an extensive investigation by the FBI and the Secret Service regarding the possiblity that Oswald rented office space at 544 Camp Street, the Warren report concluded there was no evidence that Oswald ever maintained an office at that address.(5)
This material only pertains to the committee's attempt to ascertain if any activities of the CRC had any relationship to Oswald's activities in New Orleans.
The Committee questioned the first New Orleans delegate to the CRC, Sergio Arcacha Smith.(6) He told the committee that he arrived in Miami in August 1960 and, at the request of Antonio de Varona, a director of the CRC, agreed to establish a chapter of this group in New Orleans. Arcacha Smith was initially afforded free office space in the Balter Building; he later rented space at 544 Camp Street.(7)
During his tenure as head of the New Orleans delegation, Arcacha Smith endeavored to raise funds by selling CRC bonds, and was instrumental in organizing several rallies to promote the cause of the Cuban exiles.(8)
Arcacha Smith said he had never seen Oswald in New Orleans and, from what he had read, Oswald was not even in that city at the same time Arcacha Smith lived there.(9) When he was relieved of his official position with the CRC in early 1962, Arcacha left New Orleans.(10)
Arcacha Smith's replacement, Luis Rabel, assumed the delegate duties in January 1962 but, he told the committee, found it necessary to resign by October of that year because his job entailed extensive traveling.(11) During his short tenure, Rabel said he organized several rallies and brought in prominent Miami speakers to inspire the New Orleans Cuban exile community.(12) Other than going to the Camp Street address to remove office materials left there by Arcacha Smith, Rabel said he had no connection with the buildingand never saw Oswald in New Orleans.(13)
Frank Bartes, former president of Consolidated Railroads in Cuba,(14) became the third designated delegate of the New Orleans CRC chapter. He reported the activities of the group regularly to the FBI(15) and was primarily concerned with solicitation of monthly pledges from Cubans for the purchase of arms for their countrymen actively engaged in the fight against Castro.(16) He reported that he had purchased an M-2 rifle with collections and displayed it at an October 1963 meeting for "psychological reasons."(17) Bartes said, however, because of the rate of collections at that time, the group was able to send only enough money to the Miami CRC headquarters topurchase one gun per month.(18)
On November 15, 1963, a CRC meeting was held at Gallier Hall. Antonio de Varona was invited to come to New Orleans to speak to the Cuban exiles and bolster their morale.(19) He stayed at the home of Agustin Guitart,(20) uncle of Silvia Odio.
Bartes told the committee he headed the New Orleans delegation until the CRC was dissolved in 1964.(21) During his tenure, he said, he maintained the CRC office in his home.(22) He could not recall ever having visited the 544 Camp Street office maintained by Arcacha Smith in 1961-62.(23)
After Carlos Bringuier and Oswald had been arrested in a street scuffle, Bartes appeared in court with Bringuier.(24) Although not a CRC member, Bringuier was respected by Bartes and it was as a show of support that Bartes appeared at Bringuier's hearing.(25)
After the hearing, the news media surrounded Oswald for a statement, Bartes said. At this point, Bartes dot into an argument with the media and Oswald because the Cubans were not being given an opportunity to present their views.(26) he also spoke to an FBI agent that day, warning that Oswald was a potentially dangerous man.(27) Bartes declined to identify the agent to the committee, saying only that he had had frequent contact with him during this period of time.(28) Bartes said he had no other contact with Oswald.(29)
The evidence would seem to indicate, therefore, that the New Orleans
chapter of the CRC had no relationship with Oswald other than the brief
encounter with Bartes, and in no way was officially involved in any activities
that touched upon those of Oswald.
GAETON J. FONZI,
ELIZABETH J. PALMER,
(1) Secret Service report, "Lee Harvey Oswald," December 9, 1963, Secret
Service No. CO-2-34, 030 (JFK Document 003759).
(5) "Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy" (Washington, D.C. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1964), p.292 (hereinafter Warren report).
(6) Staff Interview of Sergio Arcacha Smith, July 7, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations (JFK Document 010458).
(7) Id. at pp.12, 45. (8) Deposition of Luis Rabel, May 11, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations, pp.23,47 (JFK Document 009080).
(9) Id. at pp.21-22.
(10) See ref. 1,p.4.
(11) See ref. 8, Rabel deposition, p.45.
(12) Id. at p.41.
(13) Id. at pp.127-128.
(14) FBI report, January 20, 1965 (JFK Document 006305), Item 9).
(15) Ibid., items 1-8.
(16) Ibid., items 3-4.
(17) Ibid., item 4.
(19) Ibid., item 5.
(21) Staff interview of Frank Bartes, March 15, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.2 (JFK Document 007252).
(23) Id. at p.7.
(24) Id. at p. 17.
(28) Id. at p.18.
VI. BRIGADE 2506-MANUEL ARTIME-MOVIMIENTO DE RECUPERACION REVOLUCIONARIA (MRR)
No other anti-Castro Cuban group more naturally attracted the initial attention of the committee than Brigade 2506, the organization formed specifically for the Bay of Pigs invasion and the one that experienced the most dramatic relationship with the Kennedy administration in terms of its hopes and failures.
Following their release from Castro's prisons in December of 1962, the
members of the brigade harbored deep-seated emotional conflicts in their
attitude toward the government. An observer who watched them arrive in
They were earnest, bewildered, still in a state of shock at their sudden liberation, still nursing a bitter sense of betrayal at the manner in which they were sent ashore and abandoned, still torn between trust and cynicism, still in awe at the power of an American Government that could, at will it seemed, pluck them out of the darkest dungeons in Havana and on the Isle of Pines, and deposit them back in Florida with their families by Christmas Eve. (1)
In the perspective of an investigation of the Kennedy assassination,
the members of Brigade 2506 had to be considered of primary interest if
only in terms of motivations and means. As one member, who later became
involved in anti-Castro terrorist activity, explained: "We learned from
them. We use the tactics that we learned from the CIA * because we were
trained to do everything. We were trained to set off a bomb, we were trained
*In fact, U.S. Army Special Forces, not the CIA, trained the brigade.
The formation of what was to become Brigade 2506 can be traced to March 1960 when President Dwight Eisenhower authorized the CIA to organize, train, and equip Cuban refugees for the purpose of eventually overthrowing Castro.(3) To head the group, a young physician was chosed who had organized the Movimiento de Recuperacion Revolucionaria (MRR), the first anti-Castro action group inside Cuba.(4) His name was Manuel Artime; he had fled Cuba the previous December.(5) Castro had appointed him a member of the National Agrarian Reform Institute but when, in October 1959, he heard Castro outline a plan to communize Cuba, Artime publicly resigned his position and denounced Castro.(6)
The group that eventually grew into Brigade 2506 originally consisted of only 28 men.(7) The nucleus was 10 former Cuban military officers whom Artime had recruited.(8) He told them that he had been told by a group of Americans who claimed to have no association with the U.S. Government that they would receive a huge amount of arms, equipment, and funds.(9) The Americans tried to give Artime and his men the impression that an anonymous Cuban millionaire was paying the bills, but the Cubans eventually began referring to their benefactors as as "Uncle Sam."(10)
At secret camps in Florida, in Panama, and eventually in Guatemala, the U.S. Government trained the core of future brigade leaders in guerrilla warfare.(11) By September 1960, this initial cadre was part of a group of 160 men undergoing vigorous military conditioning in the treacherously dense mountain jungles of the Sierra Madre in Guatemala.(12) That month, one of the men, Carlos (Carlyle) Rodriguez Santana, was killed in training.(13) In his honor, the member os the unit decided they would name the brigade after hisserial designation, 2506.(14)
Although Manuel Artime, through his MRR orgnizaiton transplanted in Miami, was the principal recruiting apparatus for brigade personnel, chosen as military leader of the brigade was Jose ("Pepe") Perez San Roman, a graduate of Cuba's military academy who had also undergone U.S. Army officer training at Fort Benning, Ga.(15) He had been freed by Castro from a Batista prison, then later reimprisoned by Castro before escaping from Cuba.(16)
Nevertheless, it was Artime who remained the key figure in the U.S. Government's relationship with the activist exiles and the brigade. When, asthe Cuban exile population in Miami grew and the political squabbling among anti-Castro factions spread to Guatemala and sparked a camp mutiny that almost stopped the training, it was Artime the CIA called upon to help resolve the problem.(17) Artime had been made a director of the Frente Revolucionario Democratico (FRD),(18) a political and propaganda organization involving several anti-Castro groups formed in May 1960.(19) The brigade was to be its military arm.(20) But the political fighting among the groups eventually led to its dissolution and creation of a broaderbased organization, the Cuban Revolutionary Council (CRC), before the Bay of Pigs invasion.(21) Artime also was made a director of that group.(22)
The Bay of Pigs invasion took place in April 1961.(23) More than 1,200
brigade members were taken prisoner by Catro.(24) Before they were released
in December 1962, in an exchange for $53 million in medical supplies,(25)
the members of the brigade suffered not only the humiliation of defeat
and capture by Castro, they also were subject to the agony of false hope
when, within a few months of their imprisonment, they saw Castro's offer
to exchange them for 500 tractors become inextricably bogged in the muck
of partisan U.S. politics.As one historian noted:
The prisoners suffered more from domestic politics than they did at the hands of Castro. * * * Had the political climate in the United States been less inflammatory, it is not at all unlikely that Brigade 2506 could have been released in June of 1961 for $28 million in tractors, cash, and credits. Instead of freedom through tractors, however, the men were doomed to the degradation of a year and a half longer in prison. (26)
The final formation of Brigade 2506 took place at the Orange Bowl Stadium in Miami on December 29, 1962. President Kennedy was there to welcome back the surviving members who had spent almost 20 months in Castro's prison.(27) The crowd of 40,000 friends, families, and relatives cheered in tearful joy as brigade chief Pepe San Roman presented Kennedy with the brigade flag, which had flown over the Bay of Pigs beach for 3 days.(28) The President accepted the flag and declared:"I can assure you that this flag will be returned to this brigade in a free Havana." Mrs. Kennedy spoke in Spanish and called the brigade members "the bravest men in the world."(29) It was a dramatic and emotional scene, but it may have been misleading. Although the event reflected publicly a concordant rapport between the President and the brigade, beneath the surface there ran a vein of bitter resentment among those who felt the event was a display of political hypocrisy. E. Howard Hunt, once assigned liaison duties with the brigade, claimed later that the brigade feeling against Kennedy was so great that the presentation of the flag nearly did not take place.(30)
nevertheless, it is difficult to finalize an assessment of the brigade's collective attitude toward the U.S. Government and the Kennedy administration following the Orange Bowl event. Kennedy's resolution to the Cuban missile crisis, in which he promised Castro that raids against Cuba from the U.S. mainland would be halted, was considered an act of betrayal to their cause by many of the exiles in the anti-Castro communities. yet most of the members of the brigade seemed to maintain a basic confidence in the U.S. Governement's resolve to topple the Castro regime, and, in fact, nearly half of them enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces through a special arrangement madeby President Kennedy himself.(31)
Although Brigade 2506 officially ceased to exist after December 1962,(32) Manuel Artime, who had become known as the CIA's "golden boy,"(33) was soon scouting around Latin America for sites on which to establish guerrilla training camps. By October 1963, he had established four bases,two in Costa Rica and two in Nicaragua.(34) Artime's 300-man force consisted mainly of veterans of the brigade.(35) Artime would later admit that his resources included two large ships, eight small vessels, two speed boats, three planes, and more than 200 tons of weapons and armaments and about $250,000 in electronic equipment. (36) During the year of his operation, Artime was able to conduct four major operations, three of which failed; the mistaken shelling of a Spanish cargo ship (which caused an internationaluproar); an infiltration mission in which all the participants were captured; an unsuccessful assassination attempt on Castro;(37) and finally, a sixman infiltration mission that did succeed.(38)
Although Artime received U.S. Government support, there remained the question of whether President Kennedy was knowledgeable of or approved Artime's anti-Castro operations after the Cuban missile crisis. Following the assassination of both John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, Artime said publicly that both the President and his brother were responsible for his establishing the Latin American bases.(39) He said that after his return from prison in Cuba, he met President Kennedy in West Palm Beach, Fla., and that Kennedy referred him to his brother.(40) Artime said he met Robert Kennedy in Washington and that then Attorney General promised him military aid if he, Artime, could get the bases.(41)
Artime claimed that his anti-Castro operations from the bases ceased "when Bobby Kennedy separated from the Johnson administration."(42) nevertheless, in December 1964, the Costa Rican police ordered the camps shut down when it uncovered a $50,000 contraband whisky operation involving a plan from Artime's group. The camps in Nicaragua were also closed, although Artime kept close personal ties to that country by becoming a beef broker for Nicaraguan President Gen. Anastasio Somoza, the country's largest beef producer.(43)
When Artime was first contacted by the committee, he stated that he
had had direct contact with both President Kennedy and Robert Kennedy and,
through them, was given full support by the CIA for his anti-Castro operations.
He said he felt the death of President Kennedy marked the end of the U.S.
Government's attempts to liberate Cuba.(44) He agreed to be interviewed
by the committee(45) but, before that was possible, he died of cancer at
the age of 45 after a brief illness.(46)
GAETON J. FONZI,
ELIZABETH J. PALMER,
(1) Haynes Johnson, "The Bay of Pigs," Orlando Sentinel Star, June 12,
(3) Haynes Johnson, "The Bay of Pigs,"New York: W. W. Norton & Co.1964), pp.28-29 (hereinafter Johnson,"Bay of Pigs").
(4) Id. at p.24.
(7) Id. at pp.28-29.
(10) Id. at p.37.
(11) Id. at pp.34-42.
(13) Id. at p.47.
(14) Id. at p.56.
(15) Id. at pp.32-39,55.
(16) Id. at p.32.
(17) Id. at pp.60-63.
(18) FBI report No. 105-87912, MRR miscellaneous references (J.F.K. Document 012383).
(19) CIA document, Oct. 30, 1967.
(21) See ref. 3, Johnson, "Bay of Pigs," p.62.
(23) "Selected Chronology on Cuba," Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, April 17, 1961. (J.F.K. Document 013100). 69
(24) Ibid., June 2, 1961.
(25) Ibid., Dec. 21, 1962.
(26) See ref. 3, Johnson, "Bay of Pigs," p.246.
(27) See ref. 23, Selected Urban Chronology, p.31.
(28) Johnson, "Bay of Pigs," p.344.
(29) Id. at pp. 342-346.
(30) E. Howard Hunt, "Give Us This Day,"(New York:"Popular Library Edition, 1973), p.221.
(31) See ref. 3, Johnson,"Bay of Pigs," p.353.
(32) Id. at p. 352.
(33) Helga Silva, "Manuel Artime," profile, Miami News July 2, 1977.
(34) Leonard Novarro, "Artime Had a Little Help From Friends in the CIA," Orlando Sentinel Star, June 12, 1977, p.2C.
(36) See ref. 33, p.1C.
(43) See ref. 34.
(44) HSCA (J.F.K. Document 003175).
(46) Miami Herald, Nov. 8, 1977.
VII. MOVIMIENTO DEMOCRATA CRISTIANO (MDC)
After Castro's assumption of power in 1959, it became evident to many Cubans that political parties were being suppressed and the 26th of July Movement was being infiltrated by Communists. This political atmosphere gave rise to the creation of underground organizations such as the Christian Demoratic Movement of Cuba (MDC).(1) Proclaiming the doctrine of Christianity as its foundation, the MDC published a manifesto in March 1960 (2) denouncing communism and strongly advocating the free enterprise system.(3) One of the founders of the MDC, 35-year-old law professor Dr. Jose Iguacio Rasco, was elected head of the organization(4) and immediately criticized the violence prevalent in the Castro regime.(5) This public criticism produced pressure on him to leave Cuba and he arrived in Miami on April 22, 1960.(6) By June, Rasco had allied himself and the MDC with the Frente Revolucionario Democratico (FRD)(7) and thus became one of the five original exile Cuban leaders brought together by the U.S. Government to the nucleus of a Cuban government-in-exile.(8)
After the Bay of Pigs invasion, the MDC split into factions.(9) Rasco remained head of the largest faction and organized delegations in Miami, New york, Chicago, Venezuela, and Cuba.(10) The clandestine faction operting in Cuba was led by a Cuban who used the alias "Lucas."(11) When this Cuban arrived in the United States in October 1961, he presented his credentials to the Cuban Revolutionary Council(CRC), claiming he was the representative of the MDC movement in Cuba.(12) Council president, Dr. Miro Cardona,accepted him into the CRC hierarchy.(13) The "Lucas" faction remained with the council but its role was ineffectual because the Cuban eventually failed to hold the group together.(14)
The "Rasco" faction of MDC had as its military chief an independently wealthy young Cuban, Laureano Batista Falla.(15) Free spirited and under no financial pressures, Batista Falla organized and partially financed the infiltration attempts of the MDC.(16) It was one of the most active and effective underground groups in Cuba during the early 1960's.(17)
At that time, most underground groups worked together, sharing supplies and information.(18) Nevertheless, the repressive measures of the Castro regime after the April 1961 invasion caused members of the Cuban underground to live in fear of discovery and made intergroup liaison extremely risky.(19) Despite the inherent dangers, the underground movements of the MDC and Movimento Revolucionario del Pueblo (MRP) worked jointly for an all-out sabotage effort in the fall of 1961.(20)
The "Batista" faction of the MDC (so named after the youthful military chief rose to the position of president in 1962)(21) entered into similar cooperative alliances with other exile groups for the purposes of propaganda, sabotage, and supplying the Cuban underground. Many MDC members joined the Cuba Committee in 1962, which was formed to counteract the propaganda of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, a pro-Castro organizations in the United States.(22) The MDC and the Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil (DRE) worked together to formulate plans for an underground organization to infiltrate Oriente province.(23) The active operations between the MDC and other anti-Castro groups peaked in the year 1963. Once involved the MDC, the Movimento Insurreccionial de RecuperacionRevolusionaria (MIRR), and the Movimento Recuperacion Revolucionaria (MRR). In April, Frank Sturgis, Miami-based soldier of fortune, supplied information that Batista Falla, Orlando Bosch Avila, Manuel Artime, and Alexander Rorke were jointely planning an airstrike over Havana on April 25.(24) According to Sturgis, the strike was to originate from an airstrip in Puerto Rico and the target was a sugar refinery.(25) The bombs were homemade, assembled by Batista.(26) Rorke announced publicly that the strike had taken place as scheduled, which took the other planners by surprise.(27) Sturgis claimed the strike was still in the planning stage and financial backing had not been completed.(28) This incident created a stir and resulted in an intensive FBI investigation of Rorke's allegation.(29) Since Radio Havana, contrary to usual policy, made no immediate protest over the bombing,(30) the FBI concluded that Rorke's story was probably untrue(31) and, according to Sturgis, merely a publicity stunt.(32)
In early June 1963, the MDC made a unity pact with Commandos L, in which Commandos L was to provide training and assistance in military intelligence and the MDC was to provide three small boats and a team of men to infiltrate Cuba.(33) The MDC also made a pact with Dr. Carlos Prio Socarras, former President of Cuba, who donated $50,000 to the group for military aid in return for its promise of political support.(34)
Richard Rudolph Davis, a Cuban alien,(35) had a peripheral association with the MDC through his contact with Batista Falla in the summer of 1963. This association was noted in book V, "Final Report of the Senate Select Committee To Study Governmental Operation."(36)
Davis was residing in New Orleans and, although not an MDC member, claimed to have once been a "coordinator" for the group and the New york Police Department.(37) He was a friend of Batista Falla and contacted him because, he said, Batista Falla was in a position to recommend men in the Miami area who needed work.(38) Davis claimed he could provide employment for a small group of Cuban emigrees. He said he had entered into a business deal with geologist David L. Raggio and a wealthy, rightwing New Orleanian, Gus de LaBarre, Forming the Guatemalan Lumber & Mineral Corp.(39) It was their intention to train the Cubans on some land in Lacombe, La., to which De LaBarre had access through his nephew Frank de LaBarre.(40) After a necessary training period, the group was to be sent to Guatemala to cut mahogany trees, he claimed.
A group of about 18 Cubans did arrive in new Orleans in the summer of 1963. Leading them was a well-known Cuban exile, Victor Paneque,(41) who used the military code name of "Commadante Diego."(42) Paneque was closely associated with Batista Falla in the military activities of the MDC.(43) Davis admitted later to the FBI that the men had arrived dressed in khakis(44) and thought that they were to receive military training.(45)
In the latter part of July 1963, the FBI conducted a raid on property near that of the "lumber company" training camp. The Bureau seized a cache of dynamite and other explosives.(46) This raid, according to Davis, unnerved his trainees, and they elected to return to Miami.(47)
A somewhat different version of this episode comes form Gus de LaBarre's nephew and attorney, Frank de LaBarre, who first related his story in 1966 to his former law school classmate, Jim Garrison.(48)
De LaBarre said his "Uncle Gus" had introduced him to Davis, whom De LaBarre described as a "floater." They came to see De LaBarre about drawing up articles of incorporation for the Guatemalan Lumber Co. and that is when he says he learned of their plans to bring unemployed Cubans from Miami to train as lumberjacks. Uncle Gus sent provisions to the exiles on a daily basis and solicited money for food and clothing from friends and relatives.(49)
Although he suspected that military training was being conducted at the camp, Frank de LaBarre said he did not pay much attention to the activities of the group. When he heard on his car radio that the FBI had seized a cache of ammunition at a house in Lacombe, however, he immediately called his uncle. Although receiving assurances that the lumber group was not involved, De LaBarre called the officers of the corporation together and insisted that the Cubans be taken out of there. Davis told him that the Cubans did not want toleave, whereupon De LaBarre said he had to do some real "brainstorming." He rented a Hertz ton-and-a-half truck and instructed Davis to take it to the camp and tell the Cubans "that the invasion is on." Davis complied, and the Cubans loaded their gear, jumped in the truck, and were brought to the Greyhound bus terminal in New Orleans. Each was given a one-way ticket to Miami plus a small amount of cash and told they would get their orders when they reached Miami. Looking as though ready for war, with knapsacks andguns bulging from under their clothes, they boarded the bus. De LaBarre said that was the last he saw of them.
The last he heard of Davis, he said, was in 1964 when one of De LaBarre's friends reported he had gone into business with Davis and was left with a lot of bills.(50)
Other than providing the manpower for the training camp, Batista Falla was not involved in this episode or was the MDC as an organization.
Concurrent with his involvement with leaders of other exile organizations, Batista Falla was dealing with foreign governments in an effort to gain support for his faction of the MDC. After the World Congress of Christian Democrats in Strasbourg, France, two officials of a foreign political party conferred with the MDC in Miami.(51) According to one of the officials, his country, after months of study, had decided to help finance the MDC, not because they were particularly fond of them, but felt once Cuba was liberated the Cubans would have a moral superiority over the rest of Latin America.(52)
Another offer of help came from an official who provided the MDC a base for operations in that country.(53) Another Latin American official allegedly also offered to make a base available for the MDC and provide it with personnel and supplies.(54) Recognizing that these Latin American bases of operation were important to the MDC, Batista Falla nonetheless preferred to work out of the Miami area. Its proximity to Cuba, good facilities for operating boats and the availability of a large number of Cubans to serve as mechanics and do other necessary labor made Miami more desirable than theLatin American facilities.(55) The major drawback in Miami was the presence of U.S. Governement officials determined strictly to enforce the Neutrality Act and other Federal statutes.
U.S. Customs raided MDC headquarters in Miami on April 21, 1964, and confiscated a large cache of arms and ammunition.(56) Undeterred, the MDC simply relocated the military section in separate headquarters, continued to store materials for infiltration and attack missions against Cuba,(57) and conducted study courses in military training and theory.(58) In July, Batista Falla and Victor Paneque infiltered men and equipment into Cuba to form a nucleus of guerrilla bands that, once they got adequate arms and ammunitions, planned to go into the mountains of Cuba.(59)
The MDC eventually suffered the fate of other anti-Castro organizations:
Increasing difficulty in financing infiltration and sabotage missions,
and intensive surveillance by U.S. authorities determined to limit their
activities. The organization's activities gradually declined. Batista Falla
eventually gave up his anti-Castro activities, moved to Washington, D.C.,
and received a doctoral degree in political science.(60) In the spring
of 1970, he moved to Venezuela.
GAETON J. FONZI,
ELIZABETH J. PALMER,
(1) CIA study.
(3) FBI Document No. 105-87909-5, Jan. 30, 1961, item 4, p.2 (J.F.K. Document 009538).
(5) CIA study.
(6) See ref.3.
(8) E. Howard Hunt "Give Us This Day" (New York: Popular Library, 1973), pp.43-44.
(9) CIA Document, Aug. 16, 1962.
(14) Senstudy document, vol. 32, item 1, No.97-4110-72 (J.F.K. Document 000092).
(16) FBI No.97-4623-149, sec. V (J.F.K. Document 009303).
(17) Senstudy document, vol. 37, item 4, No. 105-95461-15, p.4 (J.F.K. Document No. 000092).
(19) Id. at p.2.
(21) FBI Document No. 105-183815, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.8, item 4 (J.F.K. Document 009303).
(22) CIA cable, June 21, 1962.
(23) CIA cable, Mar. 14, 1964.
(24) FBI No.9704623, House Select Committee on Assassinations, sec. 1, p. 1 (J.F.K. Document 009303).
(26) Id. at p.5.
(29) FBI Document No.97-4623, secs. II through VI, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 009303).
(30) Id. at p.3, sec. IV.
(31) Id. at p.2.
(32) Id. at p.2, item 1(9).
(33) CIA report No.3536, Sept. 3, 1963.
(35) J.F.K. Document 012981.
(36) Final report, Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities, Book V (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1975). The group of Cubans connected with the Guatemalan Lumbar Co. project is identified as the same group arrested when the FBI raided and seized dynamite on property in Lacombe, La. It should be noted that the FBI raid occurred on July 31, 1963, at property owned by William J. McLaney, whereas the Guatemalan Lumber Co. trainees were on property owned, according to Frank De LaBarre, by a friend of his. Although De Labarre did not mention the name of the owner, the FBI report from Miami, Bufile No.2-1821, sec. 33, lists the names of the Cubans arrested on McLaney property; Victor Paneque was not among them (Book V,p.12).
(37) J.F.K. Document 012981.
(42) Senstudy vol. 32, item 2, No. 97-4110-123, p.2, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 000092).
(44) FBI report on Richard Rudolph Davis, vol.I, New Orleans, July 3, 1964, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.4 (J.F.K. Document 006716).
(45) Id. at p.2.
(48) Memorandum Sept. 6, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 012981).
(51) CIA report No.4531, Jan. 29, 1964.
(53) CIA report, July 26, 1963.
(54) CIA report, Nov. 14, 1963.
(55) Senstudy document 33, item 1, No. 97-4110-86, p.13, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 000092).
(56) Ibid., vol. 32, item 2, No. 97-4110-123, p. 1.
(58) Ibid., vol. 33, item 2, No. 97-4110-132, p. 2.
(60) FBI Document No. 97-4110-207, report from Miami, Jan. 28, 1970,House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.7, item 3 (J.F.K. Document 009303).
VIII. JUNTA REVOLUCIONARIA CUBANA (JURE)
In a Miami press interview on July 23, 1962, Manuel Ray Rivero announced the formation of the Cuban Revolutionary Junta (JURE), an anti-Castro Cuban exile group designed to unite all the popular splintered factions outside Cuba into an effective working organizations.(1) Other key leaders involved in the new organization included Felipe Pazos, Raul Chibas, Rogelio Cisneros, Ramon Barquin and Justo Carrillo.(2) Although Ray felt the Cuban Revolutionary Council was no longer effective, he attempted to receive financial assistance from it until JURE gained momentum.(3)
As its opening promotional salvo, JURE issued a "Declaration of Principles." It called for free elections, the restoration of human rights and social justice, new economic development programs and agrarian reform, breaking relations with the Soviet bloc, restoration of legitimate property, proscritpion of the Communist Party and release of political prisoners.(4)
Ray's group was considered an "autonomous" anti-Castro Cuban group by the CIA.(5) The concept of autonomous operations was conceived by Walter Rostow, State Department counsel.(6) Rostow proposed a "track two" approach to Cuban operations to parallel regular CIA-controlled Cuban teams.(7) This approach would enable financial aid, advice and guidance to Cuban leaders such as Ray.(8) Autonomous operations were approved June 1963.(9)
The rule under which the operations functioned set forth the following
Operations to be executed exclusively by Cuban nationals dedicated to the idea that the overthrow of the Castro/Communist regime must be accomplished by Cubans inside and outside Cuba working in concert.
If the effort to overthrow the Cuban regime became too costly in human lives, the United States would withdraw financial support and would not consider resumption at any future date.
All operations had to be mounted outside the territory of the United States.
If ever charged with complicity, the U.S. Government would publicly deny any participation in the groups activities.
U.S. presence and direct participation would be kept at an absolute minimum. An experienced liaison officer would be assigned to each group to provide general advice, funds and material support.
No fixed time schedule would be given to these operations.(10)
Possibly because of this loosely structured control over JURE, the day-to-day activities of the group were closely monitored. a JURE member, for instance, was in frequent contact with an individual and supplied him with a variety of confidential information about JURE. This source provided information on Ray's meeting with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in September 1963;(11) Ray's negotiations on behalf of JURE;(12) secret JURE meetings;(13) allegations that the Governor of Puerto Rico was purposely sidetracking an FBI and INS investigation of illegal arms possessed by JURE;(14) JURE animosity toward Manuel Artime and the MRR;(15) and the location of JURE training bases.(16)
manuel Ray himself was personally critical of the CIA and told one JURE associate that he thought CIA agents"...were more dangerous than the Kennedy administration." He maintained that, "The Kennedy administration would end but CIA agents always stayed, and their memory was longer than the memory of elephants and they never forgot or forgave."(17)
During a JURE meeting in Miami in August 1962, Ray claimed that JURE had arsenals in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic; a B-26 airplane, territory available for training in Costa Rica; and support through indirect means from the United States.(18) According to an FBI report, JURE was considered one of the five major exile groups with clandestine assets (19) and the U.S. Government was interested in the group because of its potential.(20)
Because of its size and Ray's dynamic leadership, JURE seemed destined for a role of some importance in the anti-Castro movement.(21) The group set a target date of October 31, 1962 to raise $100,000. The money would be used to recruit new members, begin a propaganda campaign against Castro and purchase arms and supplies.(22) Within a year, JURE had membership delegations in 12 cities in the united States, a chapter in Puerto Rico, and 12 delegations in foreign countries, mostly Latin American.(23)
In August 1963, JURE planned to sabotage a powerplant in Havana (24) and Ray requested that certain high explosives and grenades be cached inside Cuba or San Juan.(25) It was recommended that the request be granted in order to test Ray's capabilities(26) in regard to this plan.(27) Ray acquired a 25-foot boat for infiltration and exfiltration purposes and expressed a desire to purchase another vessel that would enable him to extend operations along the sough coast of Cuba.(28)
Plans were made to deliver military equipment ot JURE that would then be transported into Cuba.(29) The operation, originally scheduled for November 23, 1963, was moved up two days.(30) The cache was completed.(31) The JURE boat failed to make the scheduled pick up,(32) and Ray offered no satisfactory explanation for this failure to perform.(33) Ray claimed the vessel was low on gas, (34) a doubtful explanation, as the vessel arrived at its destination on schedule.(35)
Ray was not physically scheduled to be on the boat during operation(36) because his activities during the latter part of 1963 were political. He was, at this time, conferring with Attorney General Kennedy (37) about the Cuban situation(38) and traveling extensively in Latin America seeking support for JURE.(39)
No documentation has been found to substantiate the success or failure of any of the JURE raids or infiltrations during this period, but by January 1964, the organization had gained enough strength to induce several other Cuban exile organizations to merge with it.(40) The largest of these groups were the Ejercito Libertador de Cuba (ELC) and Cuba Libre.(41) The ELC's union with JURE brought to the organization former veteran rebel army officers in exile and had the potential of giving JURE the best military expertise and support in the entire exile community.(42)
Carlos Zarraga of Cuba Libre became the JURE chief of support (43) and was responsible for acquiring most of the JURE arms and the large supply of explosives which were stored in Miami and Puerto Rico.(44)
manuel Ray again began formulating plans to infiltrate Cuba in March 1964.(45) he planned to accompany two teams of commandos into Oriente Province and, once successfully inside Cuba, initiate continuous bombings of strategic and nonstrategic targets.(46) Ray's plans, however, were delayed and a new target date of May was set.
Ray's seriousness of purpose was open to question at the time because he permitted persons from the media to observe infiltration attempt.(47) Andrew St. George, on assignment with Time-Life magazine, planned to accompany Ray,(48) as did Tom Duncan, then a Life photographer.(49) Rogelio Cisneros received word on May 30, 1964, that the JURE boat to be used by the infiltrators had developed motor trouble.(50) Ray's group was arrested by the British near Cayo Largo and taken to Nassau.(51)
Ray's failure to infiltrate Cuba severely damaged his credibility within the anti-Castro community. Some exiles felt his grand infiltration scheme was a publicity stunt and others considered it a joke.(52) JURE members were confused and undecided over how to defend Ray.(53)
Another episode 3 on May 1964 compounded JURE's problems. Rogelio Cisneros had obligated $50,000 of JURE money to an El Monte, Calif., arms manufacturing company for weapons to be shipped to Florida.(54) The Revenue Division of the Treasure Department considered a raid on the arms company.(55)
At this point, there began a general disintegration of JURE membership.(56) Rogelio Cisneros announced in August 1964 that he was resigning from the organization. He contended Ray was incapable of directing both political and military activities.(57) Then another key leader, Carlos Zarraga, resigned in September.
JURE received $75,000 during the period of October to December 31, 1964. The money was intended to underwrite JURE's relocation of its activities outside the United States.(58) Ray's liaison officer noted at the time:"If Ray is successful in Cuba, he will not need our help; if he is not, our help won't do much good. He is honest and at least he assumes it will be largely spent for the purpose he wants to achieve. Whatever Ray may ever say, he was treated the way he asked to be treated. We have played the game in a manner beyond reproach."(59)
JURE continued in existence until August 1968(60) but was relatively
ineffective in its latter years.(61)
GAETON J. FONZI,
ELIZABETH J. PALMER,
(1) CIA cable, July 25, 1962.
(2) CIA report, September 1962.
(3) CIA dispatch, July 11, 1962.
(4) Junta Revolucionaria Cubana, Declaration of Principles.
(5) CIA memo.
(11) CIA cable, Sept. 11, 1963.
(12) CIA cable, Oct. 11, 1963.
(13) CIA dispatch, Oct. 21, 1963.
(14) CIA cable, Jan. 31, 1964.
(15) CIA cable, Mar. 17, 1964.
(16) CIA cable, Apr. 26, 1964.
(17) CIA dispatch, July 22, 1963.
(18) CIA cable, Aug. 15, 1962.
(19) FBI file No.97-4546, sec. 1 correlation summary, May 30, 1963, House
Select Committee on Assassinations, p.4 (JFK Document 005990).
(20) Ibid., item 2, p.4.
(21) U.S. Army Intelligence Report, item 9, FBI file No. 105-114543-5, JURE, No. 2215 217, Sept. 24, 1962, Subject: "JURE established-classified SECRET," House Select Committee on Assassinations (JFK Document 009974).
(23) FBI file No. 105-114543, vol. 1, serial 46, p.12, House Select Committee on Assassinations (JFK Document 009974).
(24) CIA memo, Aug. 2, 1963.
(26) CIA memo, Aug. 23, 1963.
(27) CIA cable, Dec. 3, 1963.
(29) CIA cable, Sept. 11, 1963.
(30) CIA cable, Nov. 18, 1963.
(31) CIA dispatch, Dec. 13, 1963.
(33) CIA cable, Dec. 3, 1963.
(35) CIA memo, Dec. 13, 1963.
(36) J.F.K. Document 009005, p.7.
(37) CIA cable, Oct. 11, 1963.
(38) CIA cable, Sept. 7, 1963.
(39) CIA cable, Oct. 22, 1963.
(40) FBI file No. 97-4546, sec. 2, pp.3-4, House Select Committee on Assassinations (JFK Document 006468).
(42) CIA memo.
(43) CIA cable, Apr. 21, 1964.
(45) CIA cable, Mar. 28, 1964.
(46) CIA memo, Apr. 13, 1964.
(47) CIA cable, June 6, 1964.
(48) CIA cable, May 20, 1964.
(49) CIA cable, June 3, 1964.
(50) CIA cable, May 30, 1964.
(51) CIA cable, June 3, 1964.
(52) CIA cable, June 6, 1964.
(54) CIA memo, May 20, 1964.
(56) CIA cable, June 6, 1964.
(57) CIA memo, Sept. 1, 1964.
(58) CIA report, Sept. 23, 1964.
(59) CIA document, undated.
(60) CIA memo, Sept. 22, 1964.
(61) CIA cable, Jan. 4, 1969.
IX. DIRECTORIO REVOLUCIONARIO ESTUDIANTIL (DRE)
The Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil (DRE) (1) was the outgrowth of an activist student group in Cuba that originally fought against Batista.(2) In the late spring of 1960,(3) three DRE leaders escaped from Cuba(4) and arrived in Miami.(5) They immediately offered their services to the Democratic Revolutionary Front (FRD) with the intent of organizing an anti-Communist student organization within this group.(6) Nevertheless, it later was decided that the DRE would be an "affiliate," but not a member of the Frente.(7) The leaders of the DRE were kept on a regular monthly retainer by the U.S. Government, as were all members engaged in training for paramilitary operations and propaganda dissemination.(8) They were also supplied with weapons and ammunition on occasion.(9).
The first DRE infiltration team (10) landed in Cuba in November 1960, (11) with the objective of organizing anti-Castro student propaganda and conducting general harassment operations.(12)
By April 1961, 400 guerrillas(13) were operating effectively from the Sierra Maestra mountains.(14) Nevertheless, 74 men were captured (15) concurrently with a failure to receive air-dropped supplies.(16) This capture was a severe setback for the DRE underground prior to the Bay of Pigs.(17)
One leader was also arrested in April 1961, but his true identity was unknown to the authorities and he was released following an interrogation.*18) Escaping again to Miami, he made three daring attempts to reinfiltrate Cuba in 1961. Although he failed, his exploits reportedly made him an underground hero to the students in Cuba.(19)
The DRE chief of military operations,(20) who also infiltrated into Cuba prior to the Bay of Pigs invasion and told the committee that the Cuban underground believed it had the total backing of the United States.(21) By March 1961, however, one leader testified that the underground realized the invasion would be a failure, because the U.S. Government had failed to perform even before the invasion.(22) "It never got us the supplies it promised and never did the things it was supposed to do," he claimed.(23) Another leader was also upset about Agency performance and once wrote to friends threatening to kill CIA personnel if anything ever happened to one person as a result of Agency bumbling.(24) The DRE chief of military operations told the committee he thought the invasion was designed to fail and that it was only conceived to relieve the pressure building in the anti-Castro exile community.(25)
Although DRE members had a deep-lying opposition to U.S. plans and policies,(26) they continued to accept U.S. funding, continue despite evaluation of the group as an "enfant terrible."(27) CIA headquarters received a report that the five top officials of the DRE had established a position for themselves as "oracles," because of their ability to acquire money from the U.S. Government.(28) This support allowed the DRE to play an inordinately influential role in the exile community.(29) According to the DRE chief of military operations, by July 1962, the DRE had taken to soliciting support for proposed propaganda operations but actually using the funding for military operations.(30)
For instance, in early September 1962, the DRE official said he received a call from another leader notifying him of an impending major military operation.(31) The latter told him the DRE had all the weapons, ammunition, and support it needed.(32) The raid turned out to be the attack on the Blanquita Theater in Havana, which received a great deal of publicity.(33) Castro even raved about it, claiming it was an attempt on his life by the CIA.(34) In fact, according to the DRE official, the raiders did not know that Castro was scheduled to be at the theater the night of the shelling.(35) In any event, there was a tremendous uproar when the raiders returned to theUnited States. The DRE leaders were called to Washington to confront U.S. Governement officials, including Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and Cia Operations Chief, Richard Helms,(36) who both told them they were doing a great job but wasting their time in such independent actions.(37)
As a result of the Blanquita raid publicity, the DRE was subsequently able to raise about $200,000 in private funds. That enabled the group to establish an operating base on Catalina Island near the south coast of the Dominican Republic from which it hoped to make a major strike against Cuba.(38) Nevertheless, after the October 1962 missile crisis,(39) the Dominican Republic Government informed the DRE leaders that the United States was putting great pressure on it to shut down the DRE operations and it therefore could no longer permit the group to operate out of its country.(40)
Thus, the DRE was, of all the anti-Castro groups, one of the most bitter toward President Kennedy for his "deal" with the Russians.(41) In a letter dated February 21, 1963 and addressed simply to "sirs," the DRE said it was grateful for the initial support of the United States, but could no longer operate under restricitons of U.S. policy. The DRE demanded that the U.S. Government, ". . . understand that the Cubans cannot continue waiting for the international policies, because those dying of hunger are Cubans, because it is our country that bodily suffers slavery, because it is our blood that runsin Cuba."(42)
Despite such strong sentiment, the DRE continued to accept support although its more militant member had been urged to join Manuel Artime's Movimiento de Recuperacion Revolucionaria (MRR) forces.(43) Whether or not this suggestion was ever taken by any DRE members is not documented, but the top leaders remained a homogeneous group and, by 1964, were soliciting additional financial support outside the U.S. Government. They were successful in receiving some funds from the Bacardi rum family in Miami.(44)
Although the DRE continued its relationship with the U.S. Government until the end of 1966,(45) the group's activities, like those of other anti-Castro organizations, declined in intensity and effectiveness.
Because the DRE was an extremely militant "action" group, the committee was especially interested in DRE operations prior to the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963.
As noted, one of the effects of the Blanquita raid in September 1962, was to garner the DRE a blast of national publicity, which, in turn, gave the leaders of the group the opportunity to solicit additional funding from wealthy individuals who were sympathetic to their anti-Castro cause.(46) Among those who wound up supporting the DRE was Miami multimillionaire William Pawley, a staunch rightwing conservative, former owner of the Havana bus system, and a friend of former CIA Director Allen Dulles.(47) Another supporter of the DRE was a friend of Pawley's, former Ambassador to Italy Clare Boothe Luce,(48) then the wife of Time-Life publishing boss HenryLuce, and later, a Nixon appointee to the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.
In its review of DRE activities, the committee took special interest in a relatively recent series of events involving Clare Boothe Luce. In October 1975, Luce was being interviewed by Vera Glaser, a reporter and columnist for Knight newspapers, when she told Glaser of an alleged incident involving member of the DRE and Lee Harvey Oswald.(49) At the time, Senator Richard Schweiker and Senator Gary Hart were in the midst of their subcommittee investigation of the Kennedy assassination as part of the Senate select committee inquiry into intelligence activity.
According to Glaser's report of the interview, this is basically what Luce told her:
Luce said that after the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion, her friend, William Pawley, persuaded her to help sponsor a fleet of motorboats for a group of anti-Castro Cubans who, Pawley envisioned, would be Cuban "Flying Tigers," flying in and out of Cuba on intelligence-gathering missions. Pawley had helped start Gen. Claire Chennault's original Flying Tigers in World War II. Luce said she agreed to sponsor one boat and its three-man crew. She said she met with this Cuban boat crew about three times in New York and, in 1962, published a story about them in Life magazine. (50)
Following the missile crisis in October 1962, Luce said that the Kennedy administration clamped down on exile activities against Cuba, and the Pawley-sponsored boat raids were discontinued. Luce said she never saw her "young Cubans," as she called them, again.(51)
Then, on the night of Kennedy's assassination, Luce said she received a call from New Orleans from one of the boat crew Cubans. Luce told Glaser she would call him Julio Fernandez. She said the Cuban told her he called because he wanted to tell her about some information he had concerning the President's killer, Lee Harvey Oswald.(52)
Luce told Glaser that, according to "Julio Fernandez," Oswald had approached the anti-Castro group to which Fernandez belonged and offered his services as a potential Castro assassin. The Cubans, however, did not trust Oswald, suspected he was really a Communist, and decided to keep tabs on him. They eventually penetrated Oswald's Communist "cell" and tape recorded his talks, including his bragging that he could shoot anyone, even the Secretary of the Navy.(53)
Then suddenly, Luce said Fernandez told her, Oswald came into some money, went to Mexico City and finally to Dallas. Luce said Fernandez told her he still had the tape recordings of Oswald, as well as photographs of Oswald and samples of handbills Oswald had distributed on the streets of New Orleans. Fernandez, she said, asked her what he should do.(54)
Luce said she advised him to catact the FBI immediately. She then told Glaser that she did not think about the story again until the Garrison investigation hit the Headlines in 1967. Luce said she then contacted the Cuban who had called her. He told her his group had followed her instructions and turned their material over to the FBI. But, he said, they were advised to "keep their mouths shut" until further contact. Further contact was never made, he said.(55)
Luce said that Fernandez then told her that one of the members of his group had since been suddenly deported and that another had been murdered. He himself, he said, wanted nothing further to do with the Kennedy assassination.(56)
After Luce told her this story, Vera Glaser immediately went to Senator Schweiker and told him about the alleged Oswald encounter.(57) Intrigued, Schweiker contacted Luce directly and asked her for information about the Cuban who had called her (58) As a result, Schweiker sent a staff investigator in search of "Julio Fernandez," No such individual was ever found.(59)
During the course of its own investigation into the Luce allegations, the committee reviewed the 1977 CIA Task Force report that dealt with the newspaper reports of the incident.(60) According to the task force report, Luce called then CIA Director William Colby on October 25, 1975, and told him that Schweiker had called her to ask her for details about the allegations. She said she had given Schweiker the name of Justin McCarthy who, along with Pawley, had initially aroused her interest in helping the anti-Castro Cubans. Nevertheless, she said she did not tell Schweiker how to locate him.(61)
Luce told Colby that after she talked to Schweiker, she had contacted McCarthy. he told her that he doubted that anything would come of a congressional probe and suggested instead that she contact Colby. Luce then told Colby that McCarthy gave her the names of three Cubans with whom he had been associated in DRE activities. They were Luis Fernandez Rocha, Jose Antonio Lanusa, and someone he remembered only by his code name, "Chilo."(62)
According to the 1977 task force report, as a result of Luce's call to him. Colby contacted Justin McCarthy and attempted to persuade him to call Senator Schweiker and provide him with any information or evidence he might have. McCarthy said he did not want to get involved because there were too may "political opportunists" in Washington.(63)
With this background of information, the committee decided to conduct its own investigation into the Luce allegations.
Luce told the committee basically the same story given to Vera Glaser.(64) Luce was specifically asked if she was certain the late night call on November 22, 1963, came from New Orleans. She was definite in her answer that it did. The Warren report account of the Bringuier/Oswald association was outlined for her. She responded that it sounded much the same as the type activity in which her "boys" were engaged. Luce also told the Committee she did not recognize the name Jose Antonio Lanusa, mentioned in her conversation with Colby in 1975.(65)
The committee located in Miami three anti-Castro Cubans, who were among the leaders of the DRE in 1963. One of them, Juan Manuel Salvat Roque, was a founder of the group. He was interviewed by committee investigators on February 7, 1978.(66) Although Salvat did not recall Luce's involvement with the DRE, he said he "heard" William Pawley had provided the group some support.(67) He said that, as far as he remembers, the group never received a large amount of money from any single individual, but received small contributions from a great many people.(68) He said that, according to his knowledge, Carlos Bringuier, the New Orleans delegate of the DRE, wasthe only member of the group who ever had any contact with Oswald.(69) Committee records, moreover, indicate that Carlos Bringuier became the New Orleans delegate to the DRE in the summer of 1962.(70) As detailed elsewhere, Bringuier and Oswald had a confrontation on Canal Street in New Orleans in August 1963, when Oswald was distributing "Fair Play for Cuba" leaflets. Both Bringuier and Oswald were arrested, but were later brought together to engage in a radio debate.(71) Further, Bringuier previously had arranged for a friend of his, Carlos Quiroga, to approach Oswald and talk to him on the pretense of being interested in pro-Castro activities.(72)
Isidro "Chilo" Borja, another leader of the DRE, was interviewed by the committee on February 21, 1978.(73) Borja said he knew Luce was supportive of the DRE, but said he did not know the extent of her financial involvement.(74) He also recalled Bringuier's contact with Oswald and the fact that the DRE relayed that information to the CIA at the time.(75) Borja said his responsibilities with the DRE involved only military operations (76) and he suggested that Jose Antonio Lanusa, who handled press and public relations for the group, knew Luce and had been in contact with her.(77)
Jose Antonio Lanusa was interviewed by the committee on April 22, 1978,. Lanusa said that on November 22, 1963, he and a small group of DRE members were at a Miami Beach hotel when they heard the news of the assassination of the President.(78) When Oswald's name was broadcast, Lanusa recalled the name as that of someone who had something to do with one of the DRE delegates, so Lanusa and those who were with him went to the Miami DRE office to search the files to determine if Lanusa's suspicion was right.(79) By late afternoon, they had found delegate Bringuier's report from New Orleansdetailing his encounter with Oswald. Along with it was a sample Fair Play for Cuba (FPCC) leaflet and a tape recording of the radio debate.(80) With this discovery, someone immediately called a CIA contact. This person told them not to do anything or contact anyone else for at least an hour. He said he needed that time to contact Washington headquarters for instructions.(81) Nevertheless, Lanusa said, he was so anxious to release the information that Oswald was associated with a pro-Castro group that he contacted the major news organizations before the hour was up.(82).
When the CIA contact called back, he told then the FBI would contact the group. The next day, Lanusa said, Miami FBI agent James J. O'Conner showed up at DRE headquarters. He was given Bringuier's report, the FPCC leaflet, and the tape recording of the radio debate. Lanusa said O'Conner told them they would get a receipt for the material but, Lanusa said, they never did. Neither, he said, was the material ever returned.(83)
Lanusa also told the committee that soon after the DRE shelling of the Blanquita Hotel in 1962, he was introduced to Clare Boothe Luce by Justin McCarthy, who Lanusa said was the DRE's public relations contact with the New York major media.(84) Lanusa said Luce told them she wanted to publish the Blanquita raid story in Life Magazine and that she would give the DRE the $600 she would receive from the magazine as payment for that story.(85) As far as he knows, Lanusa said, that was the only contact any member of the DRE everhad with Luce.(86) Lanusa also said he strongly doubted Luce or William Pawley ever paid for motorboats for the DRE because, he said, he knew how all of the boats were acquired. Lanusa said he had no knowledge of any DRE member having been deported or murdered.(87) Lanusa said, "I think Clare Boothe Luce shoots from the hip without having her brain engaged."(88)
In investigating her allegations, the committee considered the possiblity that Luce incorrectly identified the source of her information. The source of the documentation of Oswald's contact with the DRE was New Orleans-based Carlos Bringuier. Nevertheless, Bringuier told the committee he never engaged in any paramilitary DRE activities(89) and therefore could not have been one of the crew members of the alleged Luce-sponsored motorboat. Bringuier's New Orleans associate, Celso Hernandez, the secretary of the chapter,(90) also said he never received any paramilitary training and did not know Oswald prior to encountering his passing out pro-Castro literature onCanal Street in New Orleans.(91) Bringuier also told the committee he knew Luce by reputation only, had never contacted her personally, and had never given her any information about his experience with Oswald.(92) He further said he was not aware of the fact that Luce was involved in any Cuban exile activities.(93) Bringuier maintained that no member of his DRE group in New Orleans had any contact with Luce during this period of time.(94)
The investigation of the Warren Commission documented that Oswald was interested in establishing a chapter of the FPCC in New Orleans and had contact with the New York headquarters of this pro-Castro organization during the summer of 1963.(95) Luce raised questions about the nature and extent of involvement the New Orleans chapter of DRE had in monitoring Oswald's activities, and its association with the FBI regarding Oswald's Communist activities.
The evidence indicated that the official DRE delegate in New Orleans was Carlos Bringuier, and that he was aided by two Cubans, Celso Hernandez, and Miguel Aguado. In an attempt to monitor Oswald, Bringuier approved the efforts of his friend, Carlos Quiroga, to call on Oswald to elicit additional information about FPCC activities in New Orleans.
None of the New Orleans individuals associated in these events had any involvement in the paramilitary activities of DRE. The New Orleans chapter engaged solely in propaganda and fundraising activities. No New Orleans DRE member had any association with Luce.
The first report of Oswald's contact with the DRE in New Orleans came
from the group's headquarters in Miami. This information was released to
national news organizations, the CIA, and the FBI shortly after the identification
of Oswald as Kennedy's assassin. The evidence indicates that the Luce allegations,
although related to certain facts, cannot be substantiated in the absence
of corroboration by other individuals.
GAETON J. FONZI,
Elizabeth J. Palmer,
(1) CIA document, Nov. 9, 1967.
(3) Interview with Juan Manuel Salvat Roque, Feb. 2, 1978,House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 00529).
(4) Hal Hendrix, "Red Terrorism Rules at Havana University" Miami News,
(5) See ref.3, Roque interview, note 3.
(6) See ref.4, Hendrix, note 4.
(7) CIA cable to Director from MASH, Sept. 13, 1960.
(8) Interview, Jan. 16, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 004721).
(9) Id. at pp.2-3.
(10) CIA cable to Director from MASH Nov. 4, 1960.
(13) CIA document, Nov. 1, 1961.
(14) FBI Report from San Francisco, May 26, 1964, Warren Commission Document 1085 d 1.
(16) See ref.13.
(17) See ref.14.
(18) CIA cable from JM/WAVE, May 9, 1961.
(20) See ref. 3.
(21) Interview with DRE chief of military operations, Feb. 21, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.2 (J.F.K. Document 005765).
(24) See ref. 13.
(25) See ref. 21.
(26) CIA document, Jan. 4, 1963.
(27) CIA dispatch 12395, Nov. 8, 1963.
(30) See ref. 21, p.2.
(33) Id. at p.3.
(42) CIA letter, Feb. 21, 1963.
(43) CIA dispatch 12395, Nov. 8, 1963; and FBI No. 105-85440-28, correlation summary, Aug. 11, 1967, p.2.
(44) CIA cable, June 13, 1964.
(45) CIA memo, Jan. 3, 1967.
(46) See ref. 21.
(47) Robert K. Brown and Miguel Acoca, "The Bayo-Pawley Affair," Soldier of Fortune, 1975, pp. 18-19.
(48) See ref. 21.
(49) (J.F.K. Document 01305, attachment, p. 1.)
(50) Ibid., attachment, p.9.
(52) Id. at pp.9-10.
(53) Id. at p.10.
(55) Id. at pp.10-11.
(56) Id. at p.11.
(57) Ibid., cover memo.
(60) CIA Task Force Report 1977.
(64) Outside Contact Report, Dec. 13, 1978,House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 013678).
(66) See ref. 3, p. 1.
(67) Id. at p.2.
(70) Deposition of Carlos Bringuier, May 12, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations,p. 13 (J.F.K. Document 009084).
(71) See also, House Select Committee on Assassinations report section on Carlos Bringuier.
(72) Deposition of Carlos Quiroga, May 23, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations, pp.11,12,15 (J.F.K. Document 009394); see also, Warren Commision, vol. X, p. 41.
(73) See ref. 21.
(74) Id. at p. 4.
(76) Id. at p. 3.
(77) Id. at p. 4.
(78) Interview with Jose Antonio Lanusa, Apr. 22, 1978, p. 1, House Select Committee on Assassinations,(J.F.K. Document 007463).
(80) Id. at p. 2.
(84) Id. at p. 3.
(86) Id. at p.4.
(89) See ref. 21, p.23.
(90) Id. at pp. 15-16.
(91) Interview of Celso "Macario" Hernandes, Feb. 14, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 007486).
(92) Contact report, Carlos Bringuier, Dec. 2, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 013420).
(95) See also, Warren Report, pp.407-08, 728-29; Warren Commission, vol.X,
pp.87-90, 94; V.T. Lee Exhibits.
X. MOVIMIENTO INSURRECCIONAL DE RECUPERACION REVOLUCIONARIA (MIRR) AND ORLANDO BOSCH AVILA
When four of Castro's army officers and 100 men deserted and left for the Las Villas Mountains in August 1960, they formed the nucleus of the Movimiento Insurreccional de Recuperacion Revolucionaria (MIRR).(1) Helping lay the groundwork for this organization was the former chief of the 26th of July Movement in Las Villas Province, Dr. Orlando Bosch Avila.(2) Bosch had left Cuba 1 month previously and, from Miami, issued a call for rebel army men to desert.(3) Promoting the defection of army personnel and carryingout sabotage operations throughout Cuba were the early primary activities of the MIRR.(4) In both, it was extremely effective.
Former rebel army officer Victor Paneque assumed military leadership of the group (5) and, within a few months of his escape from Cuba, organized a team of infiltrators to reenter the country to continue MIRR operations.(6)
Orlando Bosch became general coordinator of MIRR, working with individuals and other groups involved in operations against Cuba and securing necessary financial backing.(7)
A pediatrician by profession,(8) Bosch became immersed in his political movement and for 18 years carried out a crusade to overthrow Castro. His efforts at times have been characterized as "bumbling." but he had also been termed "single-mindedly" and "morally committed."(9) Widely viewed in the U.S. press as a Cuban patriot when he first began his anti-Castro activities, Bosch's increased acts of violence gradually changed his image to that of a terrorist.(10) The intensity and violence of his activities, which have always been widely publicized, were a major factor in the committee's decisionto examine Bosch and the MIRR among those Cuban exile organizations considered capable of involvement in an assassination conspiracy.
Bosch was interviewed by the committee in Cuartel San Carlos prison in Venezuela. He is charged with complicity in the October 6, 1975, bombing of a Cubana Airlines plane which resulted in the deaths of 73 people.(11) Although denying involvement in the airplane bombing, Bosch said he approved of it. (12) Claiming terrorism a necessary evil in fighting Castro, Bosch stated, "You have to fight violence with violence. At times you cannot avoid hurting innocent people."(13)
The activities of the MIRR in the early 1960's were carried out by a small group of individuals. There were reportedly never a great deal of members in Miami.(14) In 1966, Bosch claimed to have only 20 men outside Miami, located in various seaport cities in the United States (15) One of the major interests of the MIRR was to blow up vessels trading with Cuba.(16) In this, it was effective, but the MIRR successes in the early 1960's was a result of its association with a number of other anti-Castro organizations and individuals.
Bosch said that in late 1961 he was contacted by Evelio Duque, leader of Ejercito Cubano Anticommunist (ECA), who indicated he might be getting CIA support for his group and wanted Bosch to join him.(17) Together they submitted a plan to the Agency outlining their conditions for CIA support and were informed about a month later the plan had been approved. (18) Acting as the political leader in this alliance, Bosch joined Duque, the military leader, at a camp in Homestead, Fla., and was in touch with a CIA liaison officer.(19)
Bosch soon came to the conclusion that the camp was an exercise in futility. He believed that the CIA had no intention of mounting another invasion or initiating attacks against Cuba. He felt the U.S.-sponsored camps were merely a means of keeping the exiles busy and, privately and unofficially, his CIA contact confirmed his suspicions, Bosch said.(20) After 9 months of frustrating inactivity, he published a pamphlet, "The Tragedy of Cuba," in which he accused the United States of misleading the Cuban exiles. He sent a copy to President Kennedy and then closed down the camp.(21) After this, Bosch said he had no more dealings with the CIA.(22)
Bosch maintained an ongoing relationship, beginning in late 1960, with Frank Sturgis, well-known anti-Castro soldier of fortune; (23) Alexander Rorke, former clerk at the FBI; (24) and William Johnson, an American pilot who, along with Sturgis, provided information to the CIA on Cuban exile activities. (25) Johnson had full control over all MIRR operations.(26) Bosch was concerned with financing raids against Cuba and did not know the nature of the missions until their completion.(27)
According to Johnson, American pilots were placed under contract to fly three airstrikes over Cuba for the MIRR.(28) They were to receive $2,000 per mission.(29) Johnson admitted his own motive was purely mercenary.(30)
Although relatively inactive in 1962,(31) the MIRR engaged in a series of bombing raids over Cuba in 1963 primarily aimed at destroying the production of sugar(32) in an effort to disrupt the economy. It also reportedly conducted airstrikes against a MIG base in Cuba(33) and various other strikes aimed at strategic targets. (34) The raids were effective but not without risk. In several instances, the raiders' planes were shot down and pilots killed.(35)
Concurrent with an association with American adventurers, the MIRR also had associations with other exile organizations. It planned raids against Cuba in cooperation with Commandos L (36) and discussed unity raids with member of RECE.(37) Bosch, at this time, was interested in establishing a base of operations in the Dominican Republic to facilitate long-range planning.(38)
The documentation the committee examined failed to explain how the MIRR was able to finance its extensive operations; further, Bosch did not specify any source. Bosch told the committee that his association with Frank Sturgis alone culminated in 11 airstrikes over Cuba.(39) At that time, he said, they usually rented a plane for $400 plus $60 an hour.(40) Bill Johnson charged $4,000 for pilot fees for each mission.(41) Bosch said he knew the pilots only got $2,000 and Johnson pocketed the rest, but his purpose was to fight Castro whatever it cost.(42) Bosch's commitment to fight Castro extends to the present.(43)
The funds were initially furnished MIRR from a Chicago-based Cuban exile, Paulina A. Sierra, who allegedly collected moneys from gambling interests.(44) Some money came from anti-Castro supporters in Puerto Rico.(45) It is known that the FBI was long interested in the source of finances of the MIRR and in March 1964 authorized a 30-day mail check on it and Bosch in an effort to identify possible sources.(46) During this time, several wealthy Cuban exiles received threatening letters demanding large contributions for the fight against Castro.(47) Bosch was implicated in these extortionattempts,(48) brought to trial, and acquitted.(49) He told the committee that in 1967 he once used the funds he had collected in settlement for a personal injury automobile accident to buy explosives and weapons.(50) Whatever Bosch's methods of raising money, there is no indication he ever used it to enrich himself.(51)
Well financed and totally dedicated, Bosch managed to run a foul of the U.S. Government authorities at least seven times in slightly over a 4-year period. Several of these encounters resulted in his arrest,(52) but he was always acquitted.(53)
In July 1967, Bosch and the MIRR became assimilated into a new movement, known as Cuban Power(54) and the tempo of violent activities increased. On September 16, 1968, Bosch was arrested for firing a bazooka into the hull of a Polish ship anchored in Miami harbor.(55) He was subsequently tried and sentenced to 10 years in a Federal prison.(56) From his prison cell in Atlanta, Ga., Bosch allegedly was making plans to resume bombing Japanese and Spanish ships trading with Cuba as soon as he was released.(57) He was granted parole on November 1, 1972 and immediately begantraveling through Latin America, in violation of that parole.(58) He said his aim in Latin America was to forge alliances with Countries which had powerful Cuban exile communities.(59) So effective was he in making solid political alliances, that in the ensuing years he was able to travel freely, with forged passports, throughout Latin America.(60)
Whether or not Bosch was the principal conspirator in the bombing of the Cuban airliner, it is known that his Cuban Power movement, which merged with other Cuban activists in 1976 (61) to form a Cuban Secret Government(62) engaged in acts of terrorism. (63) This latter group was linked with numerous recent bombing incidents,(64) an assassination attempt against Henry Kissinger.(65) the assassination of Orlando Letelier in Washington, D.C.(66) and the bombing of the Cuban Airlines plane.
Orlando Bosch, a zealot, turned out to be the most aggressive and volatile
of the anti-Castro leaders. That alone could validly raise the question
of possible association with the assassination of President Kennedy. In
addition, the committee was presented with an allegation that specifically
connected him to a conspiracy.(67) but investigation faile to support the
claim that Bosch had been in Dallas in november 1963 in the company of
Lee harvey Oswald. When asked, Bosch told the committee he was at his home
in Miami when he heard President Kennedy had been shot.(68)
GAETON J. FONZI,
ELIZABETH J. PALMER,
(1) FBI No.97-4474, MIRR miscellaneous references, index of anti-Castro
organizations, Feb. 8, 1960, p. 1 (J.F.K.Document 009427).
(4) FBI No.97-4474, MIRR sec. 1, cable to Director from Miami, Nov. 2, 1960, item 1,p.2 (J.F.K. Document 009427).
(5) Id. at p. 1.
(6) CIA cable to Director from MASH, Nov. 2, 1960.
(7) CIA updated report.
(8) Memorandum to staff director, June 15, 1978, re interview with Dr. Orlando Bosch Avila, p. 1 (J.F.K. Document 009362).
(9) Gloria Marina and Arnold Markowitz, "Fiery Bosch Courts Terrorist Label," Miami Herald, Nov. 8, 1976.
(11) See ref. 8.
(12) "Caracas to Charge Bosch, Trio in Bombing of Cuban Airliner," Miami News, Aug. 23, 1978.
(14) FBI No. 97-4474, MIRR sec. 1, report from Miami by George E. Davis, Jan. 18, 1961, item 5, p.3 (J.F.K. Document 009427).
(15) Ibid., item 3, p. 15, FBI No. 9704474, sec. 6, memo to J. Waler Yeagley from Director, June 22, 1966.
(17) See ref. 8.
(23) FBI No. 97-4474, MIRR sec.1, report from Miami, item 3, p.2, Jan. 23,
1961, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 009427).
(24) Ibid., item 2.
(25) Ibid., item 14, p. 6.
(26) Ibid., item 15, p. 6.
(29) See ref. 8, p. 5.
(30) See ref. 4, FBI cable, item 2, p. 12.
(31) Ibid., item 9, p. 5.
(32) Ibid., items 10, 11, 12, p. 5.
(33) Ibid., item 14, p. 6.
(34) Ibid., items 1, 2, 3, p. 8, and items 4, 5, p. 9. 92
(35) Ibid., items 2, 3, p. 11, and item 1, p. 12.
(36) Ibid., item 5, p. 14.
(37) Ibid., item 2.
(38) Ibid., item 8, p. 9.
(39) See ref. 8, p. 2.
(43) See ref. 12.
(44) See ref. 4, item 16, p. 6.
(45) Ibid., item 7, p. 11.
(46) Ibid., item 6, p. 9.
(47) FBI No. 9-42758, Orlando Bosch, secs. 1,2,4,p.5 (J.F.K.Document 013071).
(49) See ref. 9.
(50) See ref. 8, p. 5.
(51) See ref. 9.
(52) See ref. 4, FBI cables, item 6, pp.15, 16, 17.
(53) See ref. 47, FBI document, item 1, p.2, FBI No. 45-10848.
(54) See ref. 4, FBI cable, p.18.
(55) Blake Fleetwood, "I Am Going to Declare War," New Times, May 13, 1977, p.46.
(57) See ref. 47, FBI document, sec.4, p.3, FBI No. 45-10848.
(58) See ref. 55, pp. 46-47.
(59) Id. at p. 47.
(61) Id. at p.48.
(62) See ref. 4, FBI cable, item 3, p.2.
(63) See ref. 47, FBI cable, item 1, pp. 1-2, FBI No. 45-10801.
(65) See ref. 4, FBI cable, item 14, p.5.
(66) See ref. 55, p. 51.
(67) Immunized executive session testimony of Marita Lorenz, May 31, 1978, Hearings before the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Lorenz, who had publicly claimed she was once Castro's mistress (Miami News, June 15, 1976), told the committee she was present at a September 1963 meeting in Orlando Bosch's Miami home during which Lee Harvey Oswald. Frank Sturgis, Pedro Diaz Lanz, and Bosch made plans to go to Dallas (pp.31-34). She further testified that around November 15, 1963, she, Jerry Patrick Hemming, the Novo brothers, Pedro Diaz Lanz, Sturgis, Bosch, and Oswald traveled in a two-car caravan to Dallas and stayed in a motel where they were contacted by Jack Ruby. There were several rifles and scopes in the motel room (pp.43-54). Lorenz said she returned to Miami around November 19 or 20.
All possible individuals involved in this allegation were questioned by the committee with the following results:
--Interviewed on June 16, 1978,Orlando Bosch told the committee he had met Lorenz once in 1962 at which time he was planning an air raid over Cuba with Alexander Rorke. Lorenz later called him and said she wanted to get involved in anti-Castro activities, but Bosch turned her down and never saw her again. He further stated he had never traveled west of New Orleans in his life (JFK Document No. 009363, p .2).
-- In a March 21, 1978,deposition in Miami, Fla., Jerry Patrick Hemming responded negatively to the questions: "Did you ever drive from Miami to Dallas with Marita Lorenz? Or Frank Sturgis? Or a man identifying himself as 'Ozzie'?"(pp. 170-71).
--Immunized testimony was received in Washington, D.C., on April 28, 1978, from Pedro Diaz Lanz, who denied Lorenz' allegation (p. 64), and explained his whereabouts on November 22, 1963 (p. 65).
-- In a March 20, 1978,deposition in Miami, Frank A. Sturgis was asked if he did. ". . . in the company of Marita Lorenz, Leon Oswald and others drive from Miami to Dallas a day or two before the assassination?" Sturgis responded:
Sir, that is an absolute lie. I have never been with Marita Lorenz and Ozzie, as she calls him, or with Pedro Diaz Lanz, or Marcus Diaz Lanz, or Dr. Orlando Bosch or Jerry Patrick, which she claimed all of us besides some other Cubans, were in two automobiles and left Miami, Fla., 2 days before the assassination of the President of the United States. She is a liar. I took a polygraph examination to that effect that I have never been involved in any conspiracy to kill the President of the United States, nor was I with her at any time conspiring to kill the President of the united States, nor was I with her in any automobie with these people or any other people going to Dallas to plot to kill the President of the United States. She is an absolute liar (p. 157).
Sturgis said that on November 22, 1963, he was in his home in Miami, Fla.(p.155).
The committee found no evidence to support Lorenz' allegation.
(68) See ref. 8, p. 1.
XI. JUNTA DEL GOBIERNO DE CUBA EN EL EXILIO
In April 1963, the spirit of the exiled Cubans who hoped to return to a liberated Cuba reached its nadir. The U.S. Governemnt, which had been subsidizing a Cuban anti-Castro organization, the Cuban Revolutionary Council, dropped its extensive backing of this most visible example of American assistance to the Cuban movement.(1) The move came on the heels of an announcement of a tough new policy of the Justice and State Departments. They planned a vigorous enforcement of laws breached by anti-Castro Cuban raiders,who were operating hit-and-run guerrilla attacks from the United States on Cuban and Russian targets.(2) These events resulted in another shuffling of alliances between various Cuban groups, but no bright new hopes.
Despite a common desire to overthrow Castro and return to Cuba, the exiles differed in many ways. They represented the extremes of the political left and right, and everything in between. Many had carried arms against Batista; others were former Batistianos. They differed as to how the counterrevolution could be accomplished. They differed as to what type of government and which leaders would take the place of the ousted government. Unification of these diverse stances seemed doubtful.
Dr. Paulino Sierra martinez, a Cuban exile and lawyer from Chicago, hoped to foster a change. Arriving in Miami in May 1963, Sierra scheduled a series of meetings at a local hotel and invited Cuban exile leaders of all political persuasion to discuss unification for the purpose of military invasion of Cuba.(3)
To many Cubans the idea seemed ridiculously naive.(4) Sierra was hoping to unify elements that had remained splintered throughout most previous efforts, attempting to draw well-known exile leaders when he himself was virtually unknown in the anti-Castro movement.
But Sierra came with some big ideas and big promises. he claimed to represent a group of Americans in Chicago interested in combining their efforts with those of the Cuban exiles to overthrow the Castro regime with or without U.S. Government approval.(5) Sierra told them that American financial interests would participate on condition there was a true unity of the majority of Cubans in exile.(6) For military planning, he claimed he had the assistance of several high-ranking U.S. Navy and Army officers, who would alsohelp arrange for arms and the establishment of training bases in a Latin American country.(7) Most surprisingly, Sierra claimed the Chicago backers were willing to lend assistance to the extent of $30 million,(8) no small sum even for a large-scale government-backed operation. For a private group it was unheard of.
While many Cubans did not immediately join Sierra, by July 1963 he had built a coalition of predominantly rightwing anti-Castro groups and attracted some impressive names from among the exiles to form an organization called the Junta de Gobierno de Cuba en el exilio (JGCE-Junta of the Government of Cuba in Exile.) (9)
Among the groups to join Sierra's junta were the Unidad Revolucionaria faction headed by Juan Medina Vega (10) and the major faction of the 30th of November Group headed by Carlos Rodriguez Quesada.(11) Sierra could also boast the participation of Jose "Pepin" Bosch, president of Bacardi Rum, and Alberto Garrido, a much-admired Cuban entertainer.(12)
In the selection process by which the committee chose those anti-Castro groups to be further investigated, certain factors about the junta discovered in preliminary research indicated a need to carefully examine the purpose and activities of this group.
The junta was active during the critical period of interest to the committee. Sierra surfaced in March 1963(13) and the organization abruptly ceased activity by January 1964.(14) The committee hoped to discover what sparked the group's genesis and what contributed to its final demise.
Its financial backing appeared to be remarkably impressive, and although Sierra claimed the group was to receive funds from American companies whose financial assets in Cuba had been nationalized, it was widely rumored that the money was actually from "gambling interests" of organized crime.(15) There were other rumors that wealthy Texans were behind the group.(16) The committee hoped to determine exactly what means were available to the group and from what source.
Preliminary research also indicated that the Secret Service in Chicago was investigating a "threat to the President" case at the time of President Kennedy's assassination, in which Paulino Sierra was of interest.(17) The committee wished to explore the nature of the allegation and the extent of Sierra's involvement in the case.
The committee obtained considerable information from the contemporaneous investigative reports of the Central Intelligence Agency, the FBI, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding the structure, membership, and activities of the junta. Field interviews and research into reports of the Secret Service probed those questions raised by the alleged threats against the President.
Paulino Sierra Martinez was a tall and dapper lawyer(18) employed in the legal counsel's office of the Union Tank Car Co. in Chicago.(19) Before his immigration to the United States, he had reportedly been employed by Carlos Saladrigas, a minister under Batista.(20) He had also worked with Santiago Alvarez Rodriguez, former senator during Batista's regime.(21) Sierra left Havana in 1960 and settled for a time in Miami where he worked as a judo instructor and translator (Sierra speaks, reads, and writes English, Italian,French, and Spanish).(22) In 1962, he moved to Chicago and was admitted to the Illinois bar under the sponsorship of William Browder, general counsel of Union Tank Car Co., for whom Sierra soon began work.(23)
By early 1963, Sierra had organized a Cuban Lawyer's Association in Chicago and gained somewhat of a reputation as "coordinator" of Cuban activities in the Chicago area.(24) In March 1963, he was mentioned in an article in the Chicago Tribune for his active role in Cuban exile affairs in Chicago.(25) Nevertheless, he still had not made a national name in Cuban exile affairs.
yet, as noted previously, Sierra's meetings with anti-Castro Cuban exiles in Miami in the spring of 1963 produced the official structure of a Cuban government in exile by July.(26) Sierra was named Secretary General, Felipe Rivero Diaz was named Vice Secretary General, Carlos Rodriguez Quesada was appointed head of internal affairs, Juan Medina was to head up finances, Manuel Lozano Pino was named head of external relations, Alberto Garrido was put in charge of propaganda, Reinaldo Pico was given a position in charge of labor issues, and Gilberto Rodriguez was asked to run military operations.(27)
The junta was formed after an organizational meeting in Chicago in June 1963 with Union Tank Car Executive Vice President J. W. Van Gorkum and General Counsel William Browder.(28)Information regarding the meeting is scant. One source who attended said that Van Gorkum and Browder discussed the unity plan only insofar as suggesting that if the group could successfully establish a government in exile, it then might be able to obtain U.S. Government support and financing from other sources.(29)
But evidence exists to suggest that Union Tank Car had a greater role in the junta. The company was reportedly paying for Sierra's personal and travel expenses plus his salary.(30) Browder also told FBI agents in October 1963 that although he did not know the identity of Sierra's backers, he (Browder) kept the group's funds under his control to avoid any possible criticism of misappropriation or mismanagement of funds by Sierra.(31) Browder would not indicate the exact amount under his control other than to say it was "considerable."(32)
There have been several contradictory reports to the CIA and FBI regarding the source of Sierra's funds.
Early reports indicated Sierra's backers were Chicago gamblers. The Miami News headline for an article reporting on Sierra's meetings read "Gamblers Pop Out of Exile Grab Bag."(33) The source of such reports is unclear, although there are indications it may have been Sierra himself.
At Sierra's initial meetings with Cuban groups, he was accompanied by an American named William Trull, (34) who may have been partly responsible for circulation of rumors of the involvement of gambling interests in Sierra's proposals, but whose ultimate relationship to Sierra is obscure.
In an interview with the FBI in June 1963, Sierra said Trull had called him after seeing the March 10 article about Sierra in the Chicago Tribune.(35) Sierra said Trull talked about sponsorship of a unified group of Cuban exiles and vaguely mentioned the owner of the King Ranch and a Mr. "Jarvis," who Trull identified as a millionaire in Texas.(36) Sierra said he was concerned about Trull being involved with "impure" financial sources, and would have nothing further to do with him.(37)
Trull's story is different. A former entertainer from Dallas, Trull said Dierra had first contacted him in March 1963 and proposed that he help Sierra explain Sierra's plan to the Cuban exiles in Miami.(38) Trull said Sierra had wired tickets so that he could join Sierra in Miami for the series of meetings with the exiles.(39) Sierra carefully outlined the proposal Trull was to explain to such Cuban leaders as former Cuban Prime Minister Carlos Prio and Eusebio Mujal, a former Cuban labor leader.(40) Trull reiterated the plan to the Cubans, telling them he represented wealthy American interests who had a business proposition for the Cuban people if they would unify with Carlos Prio as president and Sierra as secretary of a provisional government.(41)
Reports by Cubans who heard Trull lend credence to his tale. Trull was found to be "contradictory" and "vague" about his plan,(42) as might be expected of a person who was just repeating what he had been told.
Trull later told FBI agents that he had dropped names to Sierra such as Cleburg of the King Ranch, but Sierra had told him he did not need Trull's financial influence.(43) Sierra claimed, according to Trull, that representatives of Las Vegas or Cleveland gambling interests had contacted him and offered up to $14 million in exchange for 50-percent interest in gambling concessions in Cuba, provided Sierra was able to organize a successful ouster of Castro.(44)
Trull told the FBI that because he had frequently performed before Cuban audiences, he felt he had been chosen by Sierra and used as an "actor" to sell the Cubans on Sierra's plans.(45)
Sierra had other assistance at his early meetings that disappeared as quickly as Trull. According to a CIA report, one of the promoters for a meeting in May with exiles was George Franci, a Haitian national who had previously been involved in gambling interests in Havana.(46) Franci's name does not show up as involved in any later activities of Sierra, particularly after the stories of gamblers' backing hit the newsstands.
As late as July 1963, Sierra himself was the source of another report that gamblers were backing him. Miguel A. "Cuco" Leon, a colleague of Manuel Artime Buesa, reported that when Sierra visited Nicaragua that month, he told him he represented U.S. gambling concessions in Cuba.(47)
Another possible basis for the stories about Sierra's "gambler's backing" are separate reports of an actual offer to Chicago Cubans in March 1963. Dr. Cesar Blanco of the Chicago-based Cuban Bar Association of Illinois reported a meeting of Cuban exiles on March 11, 1963.(48) He said that a Burt Mold of the American Education League of Los Angeles had asked Blanco how much money the Cubans needed to work out a program to free Cuba.(49) Mold, according to Blanco, the job of head of police in Cuba when the country had been freed.(51)
A CIA report of march 1963 reported that Blanco and Sierra had been approached by gamblers from the West to work with them. (52) It was reported that Sierra spoke about an offer of $10 million in backing for guarantees of gambling concessions in Cuba after Castro was overthrown.(53)
In his public meetings in miami in May, Sierra had publicly named the American Educational League of Los Angeles as being in support of his proposal.(54) When that group challenged Sierra's claims, Sierra backed off, indicating he had received assurances of assistance from other sources.(55) But it is not known whether Mold had made the offer at the behest of the American Educational League or for some other party. His affiliation with the league was just as a member.(56)
If an offer from gambling interests was ever made, it appears that Sierra either backed away from such an offer or began to dress it in legitimate clothing after the adverse publicity.
The backers were identified in public in only the most nebulous terms. Sierra claimed several U.S. companies were behind his plans and these at first were only identified as the Lawyer's Corp. and the American Bankers.(57) Later, he frequently named such large corporations as United Fruit, Esso, Standard Oil, Du Pont, and United States Steel, among others.(58)
The Chicago office of the FBI closed its investigation of Sierra's activities in June 1963, concluding that he was involved in a "con job" rather than any real activities, hoodlum or otherwise.(59)
The FBI's decision to close the investigation may have been justifiable at the time, since there was no indication either through money spent or by actual group-sponsored operations that Sierra had a viable organization.(60) The activities, however, were just beginning.
As soon as the organization was formally set up, Sierra and Felipe Rivero left on a trip to Nicaragua and Colombia to discuss plans for a military base of operations outside the United States.(61) They reportedly spoke with Luis Somoza in Nicaragua and also attempted to obtain the use of the Isle of Andres off of Colombia.(62) It was also reported that Sierra and Rivero traveled to New York, Chicago, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C., to meet with backers and make further arrangements.(63) Later, it was learned that Sierra alone had spent a little over $11,000 on travel expenses by October1963.(64)
The group was also spending money on arms and equipment by late summer 1963. Rich Lauchli, a well-known arms dealer from Collinsville, Ill., was contacted by Sierra in August to purchase a quantity of guns.(65) Soldier-of-fortune and Gerry Patrick Hemming associate, Steve Wilson, was asked by Sierra to deliver the arms to Miami.(66) Sierra also ordered a two-man submarine from California in October 1963,(67) which was transported to miami for storage in the garage of Cuban exile Manuel Aguilar.(68)
The FBI received information that Sierra had been on an arms shopping spree in Detroit accompanied by Jose Cardoso, and purchased $6,000 to $7,000 worth of weapons to be transported to Miami.(69) Dennis Lynn Harber, another Hemming associate, assisted Sierra in the transport of military equipment.(70)
Sierra was also holding discussions with several "action" groups for assistance in a military operation against Cuba.(71) Among those contacted who reportedly signed "pledges" of support were Aldo Vera Serafin of the militant MAPA group (American Patriotic Action Movement);(72) Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo and Antonio Veciana Blanch of the SNFE-Alpha 66 alliance;(73) Santiago Alvarez Rodriguez of Comandos L;(74) Eduardo Mor Ruiz, and independent anti-Castro Cuban fighter;(75) and Orlando Bosch of MIRR.(76)
Reports of funds given to those groups indicate Sierra was advancing modest sums from the alleged $650,000 at his disposal. Aldo Vera Serafin reportedly received $3,500(77) and Tony Cuesta of Comandos L received $1,000.(78) Members of the Junta's board of officers also received contributions from Sierra. Carlos Rodriguez Quesada received $2,800; Felipe Rivero Diaz received $1,890; and Gilberto Rodriguez got $1,500.(79)
There are various descriptions of the military operations allegedly being prepared by the Junta. On October 30, 1963, information was received that the Second National Front of Escambray had plans for an operation from a base in the Dominican Republic.(80) The arrangements were allegedly being made by Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo, head of SNFE, and Abel Camacho in Key West.(81) The plan called for action against a bridge in Oriente Province and had been masterminded by Antonio Veciana and one of the engineers who had designed the bridge.(82) Consistent with this information, it was also reported to the FBI that the Junta offered soldier-of-fortune Joe Garman $11,000 to lead a raid on Oriente Province.(83)
There were other reports that an attack on a Havana oil refinery was planned.(84) Still other reports simply indicated that although all-out war against Castro was the objective, a hit-and-run raid for publicity purposes would be attempted first.(85)
While all these activities were getting underway, Sierra had some conflict with other officers in the Junta. Gilberto Rodriquez Hernandez was replaced as military coordinator in the summer of 1963 because, according to Sierra, Hernandez was feared to be a Castro agent.(86) In turn, Hernandez, who had returned from Cuban prison in April 1963 in the prisoner exchange, called Van Gorkum and Browder at Union Tank Car Co. and complained bitterly about Sierra's lack of leadership.(87)
After Sierra had signed a pact with Alpha 66-SFNE, another member of the Junta, Manuel Lozano Pino, resigned from his position as head of external relations.(88) He objected to the inclusion of such a "left-wing" organization, but also protested Sierra's expenditures.(89)
These complaints may have had something to do with Sierra's summons to Chicago in early November 1963 for a stormy session with Browder.(90) Sierra was blasted for wasting funds, reportedly totaling up to $50,000.(91) According to sources of the CIA and FBI. Sierra was accompanied to the Chicago meeting with Armando Fleites of SNFE, and Browder allegedly ordered Sierra to turn over all moneys and supplies to the SNFE-Alpha 66 alliance.(92) Although several of the Junta officers had asked for Sierra's replacement and had specifically named Jose "Pepin" Bosch as an attractive alternative,(93) Sierra remained in place as the "guiding spirit" for the next 2 months:(94) the remainder of the group's existence.
A CIA memorandum reported on November 20, 1963, of the strange activities
of Sierra and the Junta:
Although he (Sierra) has been some what ubiquitous among Cuban exile leaders in Miami since March 1963,he still remains somewhat of a mystery man in terms of his means of support, and indeed, his long-range objectives. (95)
The report also raised the question of how Sierra managed to remain
in the exile political scene so long. "Perhaps his mysterious backers are
providing him with sufficient funds to keep the pot boiling for the present,"
the writer of the memo conjectured.(96) Indeed, Sierra's activities were
not only continuing, but he also soon found himself the subject of interest
in a Secret Service investigation into a threat against the President.*
GAETON J. FONZI,
PATRICIA M. ORR,
(1) "Chronology of United States-Cuban Relations," Congressional Research
Service, Library of Congress (J.F.K. Document 010426).
(3) Staff summary of FBI file for Paulino Sierra Martinez, House Select Committee on Assassinations, pp.1 and 2 (J.F.K. Document 012887).
(4) Id. at p.2 (ref. to FBI LHM re Santiago Alvarez Rodriguez, June 3, 1963).
(5) Id at p. 1; see also staff summary of CIA file, p. 1 (CIA dispatch 12627, Nov. 20, 1963).
(6) See ref. 3 (CIA report, Apr. 30, 1963, p. 1, CIA report, May 7, 1963, and FBI 105-121010-3, May 5, 1963, teletype to Director from SAC, Chicago, re Paulino Sierra Martinez, p.2 (J.F.K.Document 012887).
(7) Id. at p. 1 (ref. CIA report, Apr. 30, 1963).
(8) Id. at p.2 (ref. to CIA report, May 7, 1963, p.3, FBI 105-121010-3 memo to Attorney General from Director, p.5, FBI 105-121010-35, memo to Director from SAC, Chicago, May 3, 1977).
(9) Staff summary of CIA file, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p. 1 (ref. to dispatch 12627, Nov. 20, 1963, and attachments).
(10) Staff summary of CIA handbook, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Security 020).
(11) Staff summary of FBI file for Carlos Rodriguez Quesada (ref. FBI 94-1-19634, Aug. 28, 1963), House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.2 (J.F.K. Document 012655).
(12) Staff summary of CIA files, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.2 (ref. dispatch 12627, Nov. 20, 1963).
(13) Id. at p. 1; see also staff summary of CIA handbook, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Security 020).
(14) Staff summary of CIA handbook (J.F.K. Security 020);see also ref.3, p.6 (ref. to FBI report, Feb. 25, 1964, from Miami, re Paulino Sierra Martinez) (J.F.K. Document 012887).
(15) Staff summary of CIA handbook, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Security 020).
(16) See ref. 3, p.4 (ref. FBI memo from Chicago, June 26, 1963, re Paulino Sierra Martinez).
(17) U.S. Secret Service report, Nov. 27, 1963, to Chief from SAIS Martineau, Chicago, re Homer S. Echevarria, pp.2 and 3. House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 007601);see also Secret Service Report 1266, file CO-2-34,104, Dec. 19, 1963, from Tucker and Noonan, pp.4 and 5.
*See the agency performance section I D 1 of the committee's report for more information about this threat.
(18) Staff summary of CIA file, House Select Committee on Assassinations
(rough notes) (ref. CIA report, Nov. 17, 1963).
(19) See ref. 3, p. 1 (ref. FBI Report 105-121010 of departure, Jan. 8, 1963).
(20) Id. at p. 2 (ref. CIA report, May 7, 1963).
(21) Id. at p. 3 (ref. FBI memo, June 3, 1963, re Santiago Alvarez Rodriguez).
(22) Id. at p. 4 (ref. FBI memo, June 26, 1963, re Paulino Sierra Martinez.)
(24) Id. at p. 8 (ref. FBI memo, Nov. 2, 1963, from Miami).
(25) News article, Chicago Tribune, Mar. 10, 1963 (J.F.K. Document 013397).
(26) Staff summary of CIA handbook, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Security 020).
(28) See ref. 3, p. 6 (ref. FBI report, Feb. 25, 1964, from Miami, re Paulino Sierra Martinez, information from Gilberto Rodriguez Fernandez).
(30) Summary of CIA files, HOuse Select Committee on Assassinations,P.6, undated report.
(31) Staff summary of FBI file for Carlos Rodriguez Quesada (ref. FBI Rept. 105-1210-31, Jan. 28, 1964, from Chicago, re Paulino Sierra Martinez), House Select Committee on Assassinations, p. 3.
(33) See ref. 3, p. 1 (ref. news article, May 19, 1963, Miami News, Miami).
(34) Id. at p. 2 (ref. CIA report, May 7, 1963).
(35) Id. at p. 4 (ref. FBI memo from Chicago, June 26, 1963, re Paulino Sierra Martinez).
(38) Id. at p. 2 (ref. FBI Rept.105-121010-2, June 14, 1963).
(39) Id. at p. 2 (ref. FBI Rept.105-121010-3, May 25, 1963, teletype to Director from SAC, Chicago, re Paulino Sierra Martinez).
(42) Id. at p. 3 (ref. FBI memo, June 3, 1963, re Santiago Alvarez Rodriguez).
(43) Id. at p. 4 (ref. FBI memo, June 29, 1963, re Paulino Sierra Martinez).
(46) Id. at p. 2 (ref. CIA report, May 7, 1963);see also staff summary of CIA handbook, House Select Committee on Assassinations.
(47) See ref. 3, p. 7 (ref. FBI memo, Sept. 23, 1963,re Paulino Sierra Martinez).
(48) Staff summary of CIA undated report, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p. 6.
(52) Id. at p.3, CIA undated report.
(54) See ref. 3, p.7 (ref. FBI memo to Director from SAC, Miami, Dec. 10, 1963, re Americanism Educational League).
(56) Ibid. (Note: Mold was also listed as a member of "Americans for Freedom" at the same address as the American Educational League. There is no evidence that this group was ever investigated by the FBI. See House Select Committee on Assassinations staff summary of CIA file, p. 6, undated CIA report.)
(57) See ref. 3, p. 1 (ref. CIA report, Apr. 30, 1963).
(58) Id. at p.11 (ref. CIA report, July 5, 1963);see also p.2 (ref.CIA report, May 7, 1963; and staff summary of CIA file, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.6, CIA memorandum, May 9, 1963).
(59) See ref. 3, p.3 (ref. memo to Director from Sa, Chicago, June 26, 1963, re Paulino Sierra martinez).
(60) This conclusion is based on a review of all documents pertaining to Sierra.
(61) See ref. 3, p.10 (ref. CIA report, Nov. 7, 1963), and p.11 (ref. report 406, July 5, 1963).
(62) Staff summary of CIA files, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.10 (ref. CIA report, Nov. 7, 1963).
(63) See ref. 3, p.9 (ref. FBI memo, Nov. 2, 1963, from Miami, re JGCE, p.41).
(64) Id. at p.9 (ref. CIA report, Nov. 14, 1963).
(65) Id. at p.7 (ref. FBI memo, Nov. 14, 1963, from Miami re INTERPEN), p.8(FBI memo, Nov. 2, 1963, from Miami re JGCE, pp.29-30); see also Gerry Patrick Hemming chronology from FBI files.
(66) See ref. 3, p.8 (ref. FBI memo, Nov. 2, 1963, from Miami re JGCE, pp.29-30).(Note: The use of soldiers-of-fortune types such as Wilson and Garman may have been a result of prior contact with Hemming's men by Carlos Rodriguez, Quesada and the MILTN. See FBI notes-Quesada, Hemming chronology).
(67) Id. at p.10 (ref.CIA report, Oct. 16,1963).
(68) Ibid.(Note:Aquilar's group affiliation was unknown. However, he was known to be acquainted with Loran Hall, Lawrence Howard and William Seymour, who spent much time at Aquilar's house. See memo, June 5, 1968, of conversation with Aquilar.See also Nov. 1, 1963 memo re Hemming complaint that Hall stole a rifle and that Hall was staying with Aquilar at that time).
(69) See ref. 3, p.6 (ref. FBI memo, Nov. 1, 1963, from Miami re SNFE).
(70) Id. at p.7 (ref. CIA report, Nov. 22, 1963); see also staff summary, p.2 (ref. CIA report 4039, Nov. 14, 1963).
(71) Id. at p.9 (ref. FBI memo, Nov. 2,1963, from Miami, JGCE, p.43) and p.5 (ref. CIA report, May 17, 1963); see also staff summary of CIA file, House
Select Committee on Assassinations, p. 1 (ref. dispatch 12627, Nov. 20, 1963, with attachment).
(72) Staff summary of CIA file, House Select Committee on Assassinations, pp.1-2 (ref. dispatch 12627, Nov. 20, 1963, with attachment).
(73) Id. at pp.1-2 and p.5 (ref. CIA memo Apr. 18, 1963).
(74) Id. at p.2 (ref. dispatch 12627, Nov. 20, 1963, with attachment).
(75) Ibid.; see also J.F.K. Document 012887 (ref. CIA report, Sept. 27, 1963).
(76) Staff summary of CIA file, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.9 (ref. CIA report, Sept. 14, 1963).
(77) Staff summary of CIA file, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.2 (ref. CIA report, Nov. 14, 1963).
(78) Summary, p.8, note 3 (ref. FBI memo, Nov. 2, 1963 from Miami re JGCE, pp.29-30).
(79) Staff summary of CIA file, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.2 (ref. CIA report, Nov. 14, 1963).
(80) See ref. 3, p.7 (ref. FBI memo, Nov. 1, 1963, from Miami re SNFE).
(83) Id. at p.8(ref. FBI memo, Nov. 2, 1963, from Miami re JGCE, pp.29-30).
(84) Id. at p.10(ref. CIA report, Oct. 15, 1963); see also staff summary of CIA file, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.2 (ref. report, Oct. 15, 1963 extract).
(85) Summary, CIA handbook.
(86) See ref.3, p.9 (ref. FBI memo, Nov. 2, 1963, from Miami re JGCE, p.37).
(87) Id. at pp.10-11(ref. CIA report. Sept. 13, 1963).
(88) Staff summary, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.2 (ref. CIA report, Nov. 14, 1963, extract); see also J.F.K. Document 021887, p.9 (ref. CIA report, Nov. 14, 1963).
(89) Staff summary of CIA file, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.2 (ref. CIA report, Nov. 14, 1963).
(90) See ref. 3, p.8 (ref. CIA report, Dec. 11, 1963).
(91) Ibid.; see also staff summary of CIA file, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.2 (ref. dispatch 12627, Nov. 20, 1963, with attachment). 103
(92) See ref. 3, p.8 (ref. CIA report, Dec. 11, 1963).
(93) Id. at p. 11 (ref. CIA report, Sept. 13, 1963).
(94) Staff summary of CIA file, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p.2 (ref. dispatch 12627, Nov. 20, 1963, with attachment).
XIV. MANUEL RAY RIVERO (MRP-JURE)
When he first came into prominence as a Cuban exile leader, Manuel Ray Rivero was described as "softspoken and unassuming," a person of "highest intellect, sincereity, and conviction"--in other words, a natural leader.(1) In 1947, the 23-year-old Ray was granted a scholarship by the Cuban Ministry of Public Works to study civil engineering at the University of utah.(2) Ray was in the united States for 2 years before returning to his native Cuba in 1949 and obtaining various positions in the engineering field, one of which was project manager for the construction of the havana Hilton Hotel.(3)
Reacting to the excesses of the military rule of Fulgencio Batista, Ray organized the Civic Resistance Movement in 1957 and began supervising sabotage and acts of terrorism against the Government.(4) His political posture and active resistance to Batista was recognized by Fidel Castro who, upon assuming control of the Government of Cuba, appointed Ray his Minister of Public Works in February 1959.(5) Within a few months of his appointment, Ray confided to two anti-Castro Cubans that he had recognized the symptoms of communism in the Castro regime but was not prepared to conspire against "El Lider Maximo."(6)
Ray's tenure in Castro's government was short lived. he was relieved of his official position in November 1959.(7) No definite reason for this sudden move has been documented but, according to one source, Ray did not leave Castro because of ideological or policy discrepancies, but rather because of a personality clash with Castro's Minister of Labor who almost shot Ray after a stormy cabinet meeting.(8) Another theory about his leaving was that he opposed Castro's plan to declare Hubert Matos a traitor and execute the Cuban revolutionary hero with whom Ray had been associated.(9)
For whatever reason, Ray did continue to permit his name to be associated with the Castro regime(10) until May 1960 when he formed the Revolutionary Movement of the people (MRP).(11)
The MRP was an anti-Castro organization that believed that the ideas and aims of the democratic left best suited the needs and aspirations of the Cuban people.(12) It did not wish to reinstate the 1940 Cuban constitution, rather it favored continuation of the laws passed by Castro at the beginning of his regime(13) and advocated the regulation of private investment and nationalization of all utilities.(14) Associated with Ray in this underground organization were Rogelio Cisneros,(15) Rufo Lopez Fresquet, Felipe Pazos, and others.(16)
Organized in each of Cuba's six provinces, the MRP was considered the most important underground group.(17) Working in tightly organized cells, the leadership in one province was unaware of the identities of their counterparts in other provinces.(18) The MDC engaged in acts of sabotage and was supplied with explosives sent by launches from the Florida Keys.(19)
Having waited until May 1960 to organize his resistance group, Ray was criticized as being suspiciously tardy to the anti-Castro movement.(20) Charges of "Fidelism without Fidel" were made against him and the MRP because of their leftist ideologies.(21) Perhaps for these reasons, Ray's background was questioned by some in the State Department(22) and the Miami CIA station (23) when, in the summer of 1960, he was in the process of becoming a member of the Frente Revolucionario Democratico (FRD), a newly formed anti-Castroorganization sponsored by the U.S. Government.(24) The U.S. Government considered him an important political asset(25) and facilitated his entrance into the United States(26) on November 10, 1960.(27)
Nevertheless, there was disagreement within the U.S. Government about Ray's political compatibility with U.S. Government policy. In a memo for record, dated November 21, 1960, one officer declared ". . . Ray did not politically represent anything to cheer about."(28) An officer who met privately with Ray in November 1960 noted that his political posture was "doubtful" as far as U.S. Government acceptance was concerned,(29) and a further assessment portrayed Ray as so far "left in his thinking that he would be as dangerous to U.S. interests as Castro."(30)
Some prominent Cubans also expressed negative opinions about Ray, among them Dr. Jose Miro Cardona, president of the FRD. Miro opposed Ray because he considered his program too Marxist(31) and declared that Ray was bitterly anti-American as well as probably totalitarian in his thinking.(32) Manuel Artime, head of the Movimento Recuperacion Revolucionaria (MRR), noted that Ray's group was opposed to banning the Communist Party and in favor of "nationalizing everything."(33) Although aware of his controversial political philosophy, attempts were continued to recruit Ray to join the FRD(34) because the White House and State Department pushed for his inclusion.(35)
Ray received full operational approval as a "political asset" on February 7, 1961.(36) He resisted joining the newly formed Cuban Revolutionary Council (CRC) just as he had resisted inclusion into the FRD. He said he felt the members of the CRC were too restrained and he did not want to become a part of a situation in which someone else was running the show for the exiles.(37) Three weeks before the Bay of Pigs invasion, however, Ray was persuaded to join the CRC as a show of unity.(38)
In recalling the events of this period, Ray told the committee that he was aware of the fact that certain influential and wealthy Americans, among them former Ambassador William Pawley, were opposed to him and that a lot of heavy propaganda was being circulated accusing him of being a Communist.(39)
Ray withdrew from the CRC shortly after the Bay of Pigs invasion. In a miami news conference on May 28, 1961, he said the major reason for the MRP break with the CRC was that the Council had failed to live up to the written promises given it in March, outlining conditions Ray had insisted upon before joining the organization.(40) The first condition had been that the Council was to give first priority to the underground fighters in Cuba during the Bay of Pigs invasion. Second, Ray had insisted that anyone too closely associated with the Batista regime would not be used in the invasion. In addition, he said, he was to have been allowed prior approval of any appointment of invasion military leaders.(41) Ray told the assembled newsmen that his program to overthrow Castro was based on maximum mobilization of the discontented people inside Cuba, and that he thought the leadership of this underground should come from Cubans who could prove they had access to such a potential force.(42)
Ray sought U.S. Government support for the MRP independent of the Council,(43) claiming that the group had an effective underground organization but needed material and financial support.(44) Ray felt the MRP had to be allowed to plan its own operations and broaden its base of financial support to include sympathetic Latin American governments.(45) He was totally opposed to another large invasion.(46)
A recommendation was made that Ray be given an initial $50,000 for operational expenses.(47) Reaction in the u.S. Government was immediate. Within 24 hours a memorandum was circulated, objecting to the recommendation and claiming that Ray did not ever produce any substantial military actions against Castro.(48) Ray was told to submit a "prospectus" of his plans for the MRP and advised that no financial help would be forthcoming until such a plan was reviewed.(49)
Ray went to Puerto Rico about July 1961, where he received sympathetic support for the MRP from the Governor of that island, Luis Munoz Marin, who personally liked Ray.(50) While Ray was in Puerto Rico, a member of the MRP underground in Cuba reported to the MRP Executive Council that he had been told that no material resources would be available for the group until Manuel Ray was dismissed as general coordinator.(51) Charging the U.S. Government with repeated interference in the affairs of the MRP, Ray resigned so that there would not be any obstacle to the group's cohesion.(52)
In October 1961, the Puerto Rican Planning Board announced that Ray had accepted a $12,000-a-year position as consultant to that Board.(53) Although there was no evidence that the Puerto Rican Government was supporting the MRP, Ray was looked upon with great favor by puerto Rican officials(54) and he endeavored to rebuild the MRP with Cuban exiles residing there.(55)
Although still associated with the national leadership of the MRP in April 1962,(56) Ray began formulating plans for a new anti-Castro organization, Junta Revolucionario Cubana (JURE) (57) which, he said, would be only political in nature.(58) Ray freely admitted that this group, organized in July 1962 (59) would cooperate with the CRC but ultimately hoped to dominate it.(60)
Concurrent with his JURE activities, Ray began giving information to the U.S. Government regarding possible recruitment or defection of Castro officials.(61) Specifically, he discussed plans to approach a Cuban Ambassador.(62) The degree of Ray's success in this area is not documented, but his efforts continued into the summer of 1963.(63) It was noted that Ray's abilities were quite impressive.(64)
In June 1963, the concept of "Autonomous Operations" was inaugurated under which JURE could be financed independently, not through the CRC.(65) Military operations were also initiated (66) with Rogelio Cisneros as JURE military coordinator.(67)
Under his interpretation of the "Rules of Engagement of the Autonomous Operations," Cisneros felt that JURE was not obligated to report its military or political plans to the U.S. Government but that the latter was obligated to finance JURE's purchase of military equipment.(68)
By the fall of 1963, Ray was devoting his full time to JURE,(69) traveling extensively in Latin American countries to gain support which would allow JURE to mount resistance operations inside Cuba.(70) Ray told this committee that he and Cisneros were in Caracas for this purpose on November 22, 1963. He remembered that the assistant to a Venezuelan official came into the JURE meeting shortly after lunch that day and announced that President Kennedy had been shot.(71)
In January 1964, Ray's organization was making plans to move their operations to another area (72) and, at the same time, establish a guerrilla training base.(73) He also began to formulate plans for his own infiltration into Cuba(74) declaring that he would turn the operation of JURE over to Rogelio Cisneros during his absence.(75)
Ray's plan was delayed until May, at which time he quit his job in Puerto Rico and dropped out of sight.(76) His infiltration plans were known throughout the Miami Cuban exile community.(77) Soon the story spread to Cuba where Castro ordered a full-scale military alert and rounded up scores of suspected Ray supporters.(78)
After several days of bad weather and dodging Cuban patrol boats, Ray and his crew of seven,(79) including a reporter-photographer team from Life magazine,(80) landed at the Anguilla Cays, 40 miles off the Cuban coast.(81) There Ray intended to make a final equipment check and a final radio transmission.(82)
Because of their proximity to Cuba, the Anguilla Cays were heavily patrolled by Castro forces and by the British who owned them.(83) The British discovered Ray and his group and their cacheof weapons and explosives, arrested them for illegal entry into the Bahamas and took them to Nassau.(84) The minimal fine of $14 was levied on each member of the group and each was admonished to never trespass again.(85)
Upon his release, Ray said that he was as determined as ever to infiltrate Cuba: "Fidel knows me," he said, "and he knows I'm coming."(86)
Compounding Ray's problem was the revelation by the FBI and U.S. Treasury that Rogelio Cisneros had illegally purchased $50,000 worth of arms for JURE from a California arms manufacturer.(87) It also caused considerable embarrassment.(88) Because of the autonomous nature of its relationship with JURE, no attempt was made to stop Revenue's investigation.(89) Ray was told to move all his operations outside U.S. territory.(90)
In order to shore up his waning credibility within the Cuban exile community, Ray again tried to infiltrate Cuba in July 1964 but, again, his boat developed motor trouble and the plan was aborted.(91) The failure this time led three exile groups to withdraw from JURE.(92)
All these events, from May through July, resulted in a decision to stop financing Ray until he ceased all activities from the U.S. mainland.(93) A final payment was made to the group to facilitate the move,(94) thereby "closing the books" on JURE.(95)
Ray kept his organization together until August 1968(96) although it was relatively ineffective. He personally maintained an interest in anti-Castro activities. In 1969, he called together a congress of Cuban exiles to create a new organization.(97) As late as 1972, he was actively engaged in the formulation of the People's Revolutionary Party, hoping to reinvigorate the anti-Castro movement,(98), but it, too, failed to make an impact.(99)
In 1978, Ray was residing in Puerto Rico and headed his own engineering
consulting firm in San Juan.(100)
GAETON J. FONZI,
ELIZABETH J. PALMER,
(1) CIA Cable to Director from MASH, Nov. 17, 1960.
(2) FBI Manolo Ray references, section 2, p.9, item 8 (J.F.K. Document 006468).
(4) Memo to G. Robert Blakey, June 28, 1978, interview of Manolo Ray Rivero, House Select Committee on Assassinations (J.F.K. Document 009005).
(6) E. Howard Hunt, Give Us This Day (New York: Popular Library Edition, 1963),p. 91 (hereinafter Hunt, Day).
(7) FBI correlation study, Manolo Ray, file No.97-4546, section 1, p. 2 (J.F.K. Document 005990).
(8) CIA memo, July 16, 1962.
(9) CIA report, Mar. 16, 1961.
(10) See ref. 6, Hunt, Day, p.92.
(11) See ref. 4.
(12) CIA document, June 9, 1962.
(13) CIA document, Nov. 17, 1960.
(15) CIA document.
(16) See ref. 6, Hunt, Day, p.92.
(17) Tad Szulc, "Castro Foes Map Multiple Forays," Apr. 10, 1961, New York Times.
(20) See ref.6, Hunt, Day, p.92.
(21) CIA report, Oct. 17, 1960.
(22) CIA memo, Sept. 27, 1960.
(23) CIA cable from MASH, Sept. 29, 1960.
(24) CIA memo, Sept. 7, 1960.
(26) CIA cable to Director from MASH, Nov. 5, 1960.
(27) CIA cable to Director from MASH, Nov. 11, 1960.
(28) CIA memo for the record, Nov. 21, 1960.
(29) CIA cable to Director from MASH, Nov. 17, 1960.
(30) CIA memo for the record, June 2, 1961.
(31) CIA information report, Dec. 22, 1960.
(32) CIA memo, Mar. 16, 1961.
(33) CIA cable from JM/WAVE, Mar. 1, 1961.
(34) CIA cable to Director from MASH, Nov. 17, 1960.
(35) See ref.6, Hunt, Day, pp.172-173.
(36) CIA administrative form.
(37) See ref. 4.
(38) CIA memo for the record, Mar. 27, 1961.
(39) See ref. 4.
(40) Sam Pope Brewer, "One Cuban Group Quits Exile Body," May 28, 1961, New York Times.
(43) CIA memo for the record, June 2, 1961.
(44) CIA cable from JM/WAVE, Apr. 29, 1961.
(47) CIA cable from JM/WAVE, May 4, 1961.
(48) CIA memo, May 5, 1961.
(49) CIA memo, June 2, 1961.
(50) CIA memo, Dec. 19, 1961.
(51) Peter Kihss, "Cuba Exile Group Criticizes CIA," July 17, 1961, New York Times.
(53) CIA memo, Oct. 10, 1961.
(54) CIA cable to Director, July 2, 1962.
(55) CIA memo, Dec. 19, 1961.
(56) CIA document, Apr. 20, 1962.
(57) CIA memo, July 25, 1962.
(58) CIA memo, July 12, 1962.
(59) CIA cable to Director, July 25, 1962.
(60) CIA memo, July 12, 1962.
(61) CIA cable, July 25, 1962.
(63) CIA cable to Director, June 19, 1963.
(64) CIA dispatch, July 2, 1963.
(65) CIA memo, July 9, 1964.
(66) CIA memo, Aug. 23, 1963.
(67) See ref. 4.
(68) CIA cable to Director from JM/WAVE, Sept. 11, 1963.
(69) CIA draft, Oct. 4, 1963.
(70) CIA cable to Chief, Oct. 22, 1963.
(71) See ref. 4.
(72) CIA cable to Director from JM/WAVE, Jan. 14, 1964.
(73) CIA cable, Feb. 4, 1964.
(74) CIA cable to Director from JM/WAVE, Mar. 28, 1964.
(75) CIA memo, Apr. 14, 1964.
(76) "The Hemisphere-Cuba," Time, June 12, 1964, p.48.
(80) CIA cable to Director from JM/WAVE, May 20, 1964; cable to Director from JM/WAVE, June 3, 1964.
(81) See ref. 76.
(87) CIA memo, May 20, 1964.
(90) CIA memo, June 29, 1964.
(91) CIA cable to Director, July 15, 1964.
(92) CIA wire service printout, Miami, Fla., July 24, 1964.
(93) CIA memo, June 29, 1964.
(94) CIA, "Autonomous Operations--Operating Plan."
(95) CIA memo, draft, Sept. 22, 1964.
(96) CIA cable, June 4, 1969.
(98) See ref. 4.
XV. ADDENDUM TO THE JUNTA DEL GOBIERNO DE CUBA EN EL EXILIO:CARLOS RODRIGUEZ QUESADA
Carlos Rodriguez Quesada was general coordinator of the Cuban underground movement known as the 30th of November,(1) named for an anti-Batista uprising on November 30, 1956, led by Frank Pais who was killed in the assault.(2) The organization was made up mainly of labor union members.(3)
Quesada was also a leader of the labor movement among sugar and agricultural workers in the Province of Las Villas and rose to national prominence in the Confederation of Cuban Workers (CTC).(4) Although Quesada had fought Batista with Castro and was elected to Secretary General of the CTC after Castro took power, he grew disgruntled with Castro's Communist leanings.(5)
Likewise, the 30th of November that philosophically leaned toward socialism and nationalization of industry, was totally opposed to Castro and communism.(6) The group began across-the-board anti-Castro activities including guerrilla actions, sabotage, propaganda, and exfiltrations of members from Cuba.(7) The 30th of November was considered to be one of the most effective organizations in the Cuban underground until infiltration by Castro agents and Cuban Government repression following the Bay of Pigs invasion severely crippled its activities.(8)
Quesada and other 30th of November members were forced to seek asylum.(9) Quesada escaped to the United States in March 1961 aboard a fishing boat.(10)
During his last days in the Cuban underground, Quesada had been in contact with U.S. agents in Havana.(11) Nevertheless, after he took asylum, he began to disagree with them about how to utilize the underground members within labor and peasant organizations.(12) But the 30th of November did join the Cuban Revolutionary Council, and was funded by it.(13)
Yet Quesada also had his troubles with the council. One incident occurred when Quesada went to Puerto Rico on a special operation for the council.(14) It was learned that Quesada had been independently courting sympathetic military leaders and Senators who disagreed with what was then State Department policy toward Cuba.(15) At the same time, Quesada was involved in discussions among the leaders of the DRE, MRP, and the 30th of November about forming a new unity group outside the council organization umbrella. (15a)
These activities put Quesada at odds with the council leadership and in March 1962 he was expelled by Antonio de Varona, the council's general coordinator, for "lack of discipline."(16) The actual reason given for Quesada's expulsion was his involvement in organizing a hunger strike in Bayfront Park in Miami at which 152 people were arrested.(17) The strike had been planned as a peaceful demonstration during President kennedy's March 10 visit to Miami.(18) The strikers called for aid for the liberation of Cuba and the resignation of Jose Miro Cardona as head of the council.(19) Other well-known Cuban exile leaders such as Laureano Batista Falla of the MDC had joined Quesad in the protest.(20) The so-called peaceful demonstration, however, deteriorated into a wild melee and the arrests ensued.
A few weeks later, Quesada held a press conference criticizing the council.(21) These actions caused a division among the members of the 30th of November.(22) Part of the group elected to remain with the council while Quesada set up a rival faction named the Movimento Revolucionario de Frank Pais.(23) Because the 30th of November had been so closely identified with Quesada and his followers, Quesada's group continue to be referred to as the 30th of November. Having lost the healthy council subsidy, however, Quesada spent the next few months trying to gain recognition for his group and findways to fund it.(24)
The group soon became known as one of the more outspoken of the anti-Castro organizations. In April 1962 an FBI report noted that the group's leaders no longer trusted the U.S. Government.(25) Quesada revealed that in a February 1962 operation the 30th of November group had given names of the participants in Cuba to the CIA but those individuals had been subsequently arrested.(26)
By 1963, Quesada's attitude toward the U.S. Government showed no signs of softening. In March, he wrote a letter to President Kennedy requesting immediate armed intervention in Cuba to fight communism.(27) "You are either with or against America," Quesada claimed.(28)
Shortly after, Quesada and his followers joined Paulino Sierra's Junta del Gobierno de Cuba en el Exilio.(29) Quesada became the junta's head of internal affairs.(30)
Several reports reviewed by the committee, however, raise questions about Quesada's motivation in joining the junta. One report indicated Quesada wanted respectability to cover illicit dealings.(31) The report also suggested Quesada was living suspiciously high for someone receiving assistance from the Cuban Refugee Center.(32) Other reports were more critical. One called Quesada unreliable and untrustworthy, describing him as a man who surrounds himself with "thieves, homosexuals and drug addicts."(33)
In early 1964, after the junta had ceased activities, Quesada was expelled from his own group, the MRFP.(34) There were reports that Quesada had been misappropriating funds for his own use.(35)
In assessing Quesada's role in the Junta del Gobierno de Cuba and the
effectiveness of the junta itself, Quesada's personal relationship with
the anti-Castro organizations may be significant. Several reports reviewed
by the committee suggest that "opportunists" made up much of the membership
of the junta and contributed to its final demise.(36) Quesada may well
fit into that category of individuals who sought funds from the junta but
made no effort to recruit followers or help unify all the anti-Castro groups
into the junta. In fact, Quesada may have been less a true leader of a
group than one who used his role in the organization for his own ends.
GAETON J. FONZI
PATRICIA M. ORR
(1) Staff summary of the CIA handbook (hereinafter handbook summary);
see also staff summary of CIA file, p. 1(ref. memo, May 19,1962) (hereinafter
(2) See ref. 1, handbook summary.
(3) See ref. 1, CIA-Quesada, p. 1.
(5) Id. at p.3 (ref. Jan. 18, 1961, memo).
(6) See ref. 1, handbook summary.
(8) Ibid., see also staff summary of FBI file for Carlos Rodriguez Quesada, p.5 (ref.105-107224-16, Mar. 15, 1962, Miami) (hereinafter FBI-Quesada).
(9) See ref. 1, CIA-Quesada, p.3 (ref. Jan. 18, 1961, memo).
(10) Id. at p. 1.
(14) See ref. 8, FBI-Quesada, p.7 (ref.105-107224-16, Mar. 15, 1962, Miami).
(15a) Id. at p.6 (ref.109-584-3414, Feb. 14,1963, and 97-4133-60, Apr. 30, 1963).
(16) Id. at p. 7 (ref.105-107224-16, Mar. 15, 1962, Miami); see also ref.1, handbook summary.
(17) Id. at p.4 (ref.105-107224-A., Mar. 19, 1962) and p.8 (ref. 105-92196-24, Mar. 15, 1962).
(18) Id. at p.1 (ref.109-584-3102, Miami, Mar. 15, 1962).
(21) Id. at p.4 (ref. 109-584-3183, May 28, 1963, Miami).
(22) See ref. 1, handbook summary.
(25) See ref. 8, FBI-Quesada, p.8 (ref.105-92196-30, Apr. 16, 1962).
(27) Id. at p.7 (ref.105-92196-70, Apr. 12, 1963).
(29) See ref. 1, handbook summary.
(31) See ref. 1, CIA-Quesada, p. 1.
(33) See re. 1, handbook summary.
(35) See ref. 8, FBI-Quesada, p. 4 (ref.105-137256-4, Apr. 21, 1964).
(36) Staff summary of FBI file for Paulino Sierra Martinez, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p. 7, memo, Feb. 28, 1961, re JGCE.