The Bush family, the Cuban mafia and the Kennedy assassination
One of the most tantalizing nuggets about Nixon's possible inside knowledge of JFK assassination secrets was buried on a White House tape until 2002. On the tape, recorded in May of 1972, Nixon said: "And it was the greatest hoax that has ever been perpetuated," he considered the Warren Commission findings a hoax.
The Bush family, the Cuban mafia and the Kennedy assassination
BY REINALDO TALADRID and LAZARO BAREDO
IN 1959, a young officer and businessman from Texas received directions to cooperate in funding the nascent anti-Castro groups that the CIA decided to create, but it wasn’t until 1960 that he was assigned a more specific and overt mission: to guarantee the security of the process of recruiting Cubans to form an invasion brigade, a key aspect within the grand CIA operation to destroy the Cuban Revolution.
The CIA Texan quickly took a liking to the Cuban assigned to him for his new mission. The system of work, although intense, was simple. Féliz Rodríguez Mendigutía, "El Gato," would propose a candidate to him, who would then be checked out, both in the Agency and among the Miami groups, and finally, the Texan would give the go-ahead.
In that period, Félix Rodríguez already knew quite a few Cubans, like Jorge Mas Canosa (subsequently the leader of various counterrevolutionary organizations and then president of the Cuban-American National Foundation) and had confirmed his loyalty to "the cause" and to the Americans. For that reason he was among the first to be proposed. He passed through the process satisfactorily, and in a meeting in the city of Miami, which the Texan liked to make as formal as possible, Jorge Mas Canosa officially became an agent of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
Jorge Mas didn’t know how to thank Félix for what he had done for him. From that moment he was constantly grateful to him and, at the same time, obedient to his every petition.
But Jorge Mas was far from imagining the significance of this recruitment on the rest of his life. The significance rested on the fact that that Texan officer who undertook his recruitment process, approved it and then notified him at that meeting, was none other than George Herbert Walker Bush, the same man who, later, between 1989 and 1992, was the 41st president of the United States.
Various sources coincide on the foregoing. Paul Kangas, a Californian private investigator, published an article containing part of his investigations in The Realist in 1990, in which he affirms that a newly discovered FBI document places Bush as working with the now famous CIA agent Félix Rodríguez on the recruitment of ultra-right wing exiled Cubans for the invasion of Cuba.
For his part, in his "Report on a Censored Project," Dr. Carl Jensen of Sonoma State College states: "… there is a record in the files of Rodríguez and others involved in the Bay of Pigs invasion, which expounds the role of Bush: the truth is that Bush was a senior CIA official before working with Félix Rodríguez on the invasion of Cuba."
But Kangas is more precise in his quoted article, when he states:
"Traveling from Houston to Miami on a weekly basis, Bush, with Félix Rodríguez, spent 1960 and 1961 recruiting Cubans in Miami for the invasion."
Other publications that have referred to the theme are The Nation magazine, whose August 13, 1988 edition reveals the finding of "a memorandum in that context addressed to FBI chief J. Edward Hoover and signed November 1963, which reads: Mr. George Bush of the CIA;" or the Common Cause magazine that, on March 4, 1990, affirmed: "The CIA put millionaire and agent George Bush in charge of recruiting exiled Cubans for the CIA’s invading army; Bush was working with another Texan oil magnate, Jack Crichton, who helped him in terms of the invasion."
Without knowing it, Jorge Mas had become part of something far more complex than the planned mercenary invasion. The recent recruited CIA agent became one of the participants in what was originally known as Operation 40.
Operation 40 was the first plan of covert operations generated by the CIA to destroy the Cuban Revolution and was drawn up in 1959 on the orders of the administration of President Ike Eisenhower.
In his book Cuba, la Guerra secreta de la CIA (Cuba, the CIA’s Secret War), Divisional General (ret) Fabián Escalante Font, former head of the Cuban Counterintelligence Services, explained what occurred in the early 1960.
"A few days later (end of 1959), Allen Dulles, chief of the CIA, presented to the King (Colonel, chief of the Western Hemisphere Division of the CIA) memorandum to the National Security Council, which approved the suggestion of forming a working group within the agency which, in the short term, would provide ‘alternative solutions to the Cuban problem.’"
The group, Escalante Font relates, was composed of Tracy Barnes as head, and officials Howard Hunt, Frank Bender, Jack Engler and David Atlee Phillips, among others. Those present had one common characteristic: all of them had participated in the fall of the Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala.
General Escalante recounts in his book that, during the first meeting, Barnes spoke at length on the objectives to be achieved. He explained that Vice President Richard Nixon was the Cuban "case officer" and had met with an important group of businessmen headed by George Bush and Jack Crichton, both Texas oil magnates, to collect the necessary funding for the operation.
In a 1986 edition of the Freedom Magazine U.S. journalist L.F. Proury explains that Richard Nixon had long and close links with the Bush family dating back to 1946 when Nixon, responding to a petition by Preston Bush (George’s father) presented himself as a candidate for the U.S. Congress, financed by the old Bush.
The group constituted within the CIA, states Escalante in his book, set up various teams in charge of organizing clandestine operations, psychological warfare actions and exerting economic and diplomatic pressure, which would put paid to the island government. This was compounded by the preparation of an elite group of Cuban agents who, after specialized training, would infiltrate Cuba and deal a mortal rearguard blow to the Revolution, which included the assassination of its principal leaders.
Jorge Mas Canosa gave his recruiters a very positive impression and was immediately assigned to a special mission. "Now things are going to take off," he said enthusiastically.
In the Exito magazine, Mabel Dieppa narrates:
"He was sent to a U.S. Marines training camp close to the Mississippi River, where he was trained to participate in the Bay of Pigs invasion."
But Jorge Mas, as stated, had been attached to a very special group, still within the preparations for the mercenary invasion. The group was composed of 160 men of total confidence and was headed by the traitor and likewise CIA agent Higinio Díaz Ane (Nino). In the abovementioned book, General Escalante explains: "These men were given the mission to attack the town of Baracoa, in the easternmost part of the island, in order to distract the revolutionary forces when the brigade landed at the Bay of Pigs." Once they had taken Baracoa, they were to head for the Guantánamo Naval Base and, simulating Cuban troops, organize a provocation by attacking the installation, thus facilitating a U.S. military response with a formal reason for intervening in the conflict created by the mercenary invasion. That plan was the secret mechanism that the CIA and the Pentagon had up their sleeve, and nobody, not even President Kennedy, knew of it.
On the day of the invasion, the 160 "elite" agency men left in a boat for their destination but, on reaching Baracoa, fear at the movement of Cuban troops in the area won out over the sterling training they had received, and they confined themselves to continue navigating south of the island until they reached the westernmost extreme. From there, they headed for Puerto Rico, arriving there the same day. In Miami, as a joke, this action was christened "Skirting round Cuba."
After the Bay of Pigs defeat in April 1961 the CIA recouped its men. It reiterated its confidence in them and assigned them new missions, maintaining the objectives that gave rise to Operation 40.
In the weekly Política, the author Natacha Herrera explained:
"Along with another 207 agents, Mas went to Fort Benning, Georgia for basic U.S. army training and was selected to take a special intelligence, clandestine communication and propaganda course."
In his extensive work published for the Esquire magazine in January 1993, Gaeton Fonzi affirms that in Fort Benning, Mas Canosa’s friends with whom he was most closely linked in complex covert operations were Félix Rodríguez and Luis Posada Carriles," the latter of whom became notorious for the sabotage of a Cubana Airline passenger plane in full flight over Barbados in 1976.
"After Fort Benning," says the U.S. investigator, "there was some CIA connection in every move or action in Jorge Mas’ career."
Precisely because of the outstanding results obtained in Fort Benning, the Agency later assigned Mas Canosa to another delicate mission. On this occasion, he would have to move to an "ultra-secret" base located a little south of Fort Benning, to join what was known as the "New Orleans group." That group, which took its name from the location of the base on the outskirts of the southern U.S. city, was mainly composed of veterans from the Bay of Pigs and Fort Benning, although some agents of confidence like Antonio Veciana, recently arrived from the island and reportedly very close to Jorge Mas in that period, were incorporated. Their preparation was sui generis. The group took a course on the use of means and methods of combat of the Cuban army.
The content of the mission was disclosed by General Escalante in his book: "Once again, the plot consisted of a self-provocation against the Yankee base (of Guantánamo), via the infiltration of a commando of 150 men who trained in an ultra-secret CIA base on the outskirts of the southern U.S. city of New Orleans."
The mission was cancelled due to the occurrences that gave rise to the Missile Crisis in October 1962, which convinced the organizers of the inevitability of a direct military intervention by the U.S. army without the need of any pretext."
After this new failure, Mas Canosa was full of rage and impotence and acknowledged to the U.S. writer Pat Jordan in an interview that, "the two men he most hated were Fidel Castro and John F. Kennedy."
In the United States, the media has once again picked up on the relationship of the émigré Cubans who worked for the CIA with the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas in 1963.
During a long conversation with the investigator Gaeton Fonzi in Havana, we discovered a story that, given its content, it is worth reproducing. Fonzi is not just any common or garden investigator. He had devoted much of his life to working for various congressional committees, including those responsible for investigations into the covert activities of the CIA and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
A few years ago, and after much effort, Fonzi managed to get a private interview with Antonio Veciana, the same old buddy of Jorge Mas in the "New Orleans group," where the two of them became close friends while fulfilling CIA missions. Veciana had been interrogated by the Grand Jury charged with investigating the assassination of President Kennedy, and years later, had had some drug-related problems; but he vehemently affirmed to Fonzi that these difficulties were nothing more than a "trap" set up by somebody.
"I have a lot of information, but I am keeping that to myself because it is my life insurance," Veciana told Fonzi."
Antonio Veciana Blanch was a public accountant who worked for the Cuban sugar magnate Julio Lobo. He rapidly opposed the Cuban Revolution and, in 1960 was recruited by the CIA in Havana. He received his initial training in an English Language Academy supervised by the U.S. embassy in the Cuban capital. In October 1961, after the failure of a plot he devised to assassination Prime Minister Fidel Castro with a bazooka during an event at the former Presidential Palace, Veciana fled Cuba.
In the interview that he gave to Fonzi he related that, once in Miami, he was looked after by a CIA official who used the pseudonym of Maurice Bishop. Among other tasks, this "Bishop" ordered Veciana to promote the creation of the ALPHA 66 organization.
"Bishop" had frequent contact with Veciana from 1962-1963 in the city of Dallas. Veciana recalled that, at one of those meetings in a public building, he saw Lee Harvey Oswald.
Fonzi noted that various acts of disinformation were organized as part of the operation that cost the life of President Kennedy: one in Dallas, another in Miami and a third in Mexico City. The objective of the disinformation was to manufacture the image of a "revolutionary" Oswald, a "defender of the Cuban Revolution."
Hence the ex-marine was filmed in acts of solidarity with Cuba, demonstrating in a very aggressive manner. But the most daring act of disinformation was effected in Mexico City. There, Lee Harvey Oswald turned up at the Cuban embassy to ask for an entry visa to the island. All of that was filmed from a surveillance post that the CIA had opposite the Cuban embassy, so that it would be documented.
The strange thing is, as Veciana told Fonzi, in one of his contacts with "Bishop" in early 1963, the latter said that he knew that he (Veciana) had a cousin in Cuban Intelligence, who was located at the Cuban embassy in Mexico. "Bishop" stated that if it suited his cousin to work for them in a very specific action, he would pay him whatever he wanted. Veciana commented to Fonzi that he had never spoken of this cousin to "Bishop" and also, at that time, "Bishop" was assigned to the U.S. embassy in Mexico City and even went directly from the Mexican capital to some contacts in Dallas.
In fact Veciana was the cousin of the wife of the then Cuban consul in Mexico City, Guillermo Ruiz, and in the days following the assassination of Kennedy, that woman was the victim of a recruitment attempt in the same city, with the clear proposition that, once in the United States, she would testify as to Oswald’s "complicity" with the Cuban secret services.
Questioned by Fonzi as to the existence of renewed contacts with "Bishop" after the Dallas homicide, Veciana answered that there had been, particularly in 1971, when he received an order to leave for Bolivia and work in the U.S. embassy in that country, where he would appear as an official for the Agency for International Development (USAID) and should wait for a visit from a known person. Fonzi checked the USAID archives in Washington and found an application form to enter the USAID in the name of Antonio Veciana, handwritten in letters distinct from those of Veciana and unsigned.
The "known person" who contacted him in Bolivia was "Bishop," at that time located in the U.S. embassy in Chile. "Bishop" immediately incorporated him into a team plotting an attempt on the life of President Fidel Castro, who was to visit the South American country.
Fonzi told us that he interviewed Antonio Veciana again, but this time accompanied by a specialist with the aim of composing a photofit of "Maurice Bishop" so as to determine his real identity.
Veciana gave a detailed description and the photofit was made. Fonzi spent weeks trying to identify the character, and one Sunday, suddenly received a call at home from a Republican senator for Pennsylvania for whom he was working at the time, and whom he had consulted on the identity of the man in the drawing.
The senator assured him that the he was absolutely sure that the man using the pseudonym of Maurice Bishop was none other than David Atlee Phillips. He was a veteran CIA officer who was in Havana on a working visit in 1958 as a specialist in psychological warfare, participated in the creation of Operation 40 and later, as part of the same, organized the Radio Swann transmitter. With time, Phillips would become head of the Western Hemisphere Division of the Agency.
However, at the end of 1993, in the documentary ¿Caso cerrado? (Case Closed?), the former chief of Cuban Security , Divisional General (ret) Fabián Escalante, revealed a secret report from one of his agents, which spoke of a meeting between Antonio Veciana and David Phillips in a hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the early 70s.
"Veciana told me," said the Cuban agent, "that he was a CIA agent and it was the CIA that assassinated Kennedy and that senior CIA officials including David Phillips, the official attending to him, were behind it all. Veciana never wanted to give me any details of that affirmation, but recently, I have been able to confirm it, because once when I was in a hotel with Veciana, I heard a conversation that he had with his officer, David Phillips, in which Veciana swore that he would never talk about what happened in Dallas in 1963."
General Escalante guarantees that the source has direct access to Veciana, and was in his total confidence:
"I believe," Escalante affirmed, "that that is very important information because I have to say that, in 1973, when Antonio Veciana was liquidated by the CIA; in other words, when the CIA took him off their books, he received a compensation payment of $300,000."
But there is more. According to Cuban State Security investigations disclosed by General Escalante in the abovementioned documentary, various witnesses quoted by the Warren Commission described two Cubans, one of them black, leaving the Daley Plaza Book Deposit in Dallas, a few minutes after the assassination was effected. In parallel, through secret information and public testimony (the statement by Marita Lorenz, ex-CIA agent to a congressional committee), Cuban Security knew that two days before the assassination various Cubans were in Dallas with weapons and telescopic sights, including Eladio del Valle and Herminio Díaz, two paid killers and expert sharpshooters linked to the Mafia and Batista politics. The physical characteristics of Del Valle and Herminio Díaz matched the descriptions that various witnesses gave to the Warren Commission of the two Cubans seen leaving the building seconds after the president had been assassinated.
The really curious fact is the final fate of both of them: Eladio del Valle was brutally murdered in Miami when Jim Garrison, the New Orleans district attorney initiated his investigation into the Kennedy assassination; Del Valle was chopped into pieces with a machete. Even more interesting was the end of Herminio Díaz, who died near the Havana coast in 1965, when he collided with a patrol boat while trying to infiltrate the island with the mission of assassinating Osvaldo Dortícos and submachine gunning the Riviera Hotel
In order to fulfill the mission on which he was sent, Díaz had to infiltrate the island right in the capital via Monte Barreto in Miramar (where a number of hotels are currently going up) at a time when, because of an incident at the Guantánamo naval base, the Cuban army was on combat alert, and aerial and coastal vigilance was been reinforced to the maximum. In the eyes of experts, and the Cuban Security, the operation was a veritable suicide mission.
The financial organizer and planner of such "a strange mission" was none other than Jorge Mas Canosa.
But the history of the CIA’s links with its Cuban agents and the Kennedy assassination has not only been explored by Fonzi. Many other authors and investigators, and even the film studios that gave origin to the U.S. movies Executive Action and JFK, have covered the subject.
In an article published in The Realist magazine, the investigator Paul Kangas affirms:
"Among other members of the CIA recruited by George Bush for the (Bay of Pigs) invasion) were Frank Sturgis, Howard Hunt, Bernard Baker and Rafael Quintero… On the day that JFK was assassinated, Hunt and some of the subsequent Watergate team were photographed in Dallas, as well as a group of Cubans, one of them with an opened umbrella as a signal, alongside the president’s limousine, right where Kennedy was shot… Hunt and Sturgis fired on JFK from a grassy knoll. They were photographed and seen by 15 witnesses."
On May 7, 1990, in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Frank Sturgis acknowledged:
"…the reason why we robbed in Watergate was because (Richard) Nixon was interested in stopping the news leaks related to the photos of our role in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy."
Another of Bush’s recruits for the Bay of Pigs invasion, Rafael Quintero, who was also part of this underworld of organizations and conspiracies against Cuba, stated:
"If I was to tell what I know about Dallas and the Bay of Pigs, it would be the greatest scandal that has ever rocked to nation."
Up to here are certain details of one of the existing theories on the above-mentioned event but, will the whole truth come out some day? Will Antonio Veciana, former member of the "New Orleans group," decide to reveal his "life insurance" or Rafael Quintero, to tell what he knows and thus, "rock the nation?" •
NB Quotes in English retranslated from the Spanish.