Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
John Simkin

Sergio Arcacha-Smith

12 posts in this topic

Sergio Arcacha-Smith was born in Havana, Cuba, on 22nd January, 1923. He moved to the United States in 1945 and attended college in Texas. He served as Cuba's counsul in India under Fulgencio Batista. After marrying Shelia Duarte he left the diplomatic service and became Assistant Manager of the Lago Hotel in Caracas, Venezuela (1954-57).

Arcacha-Smith returned to Cuba but after Fidel Castro gained power Arcacha-Smith went into exile. While living in New Orleans he joined with David Ferrie to establish the Cuban Democratic Liberation Front. Arcacha-Smith was also an associate of Guy Banister. Richard Case Nagell told Dick Russell that Arcacha-Smith was "strictly right-wing, into everything so-called anti-Castro".

According to a FBI report Carlos Marcello offered Arcacha-Smith money in return for gambling concessions in post-invasion Cuba. In October, 1961, Arcacha-Smith introduced David Ferrie to Carlos Bringuier.

In January, 1962, Arcacha-Smith was expelled from the Cuban Democratic Liberation Front after being accused of misappropriating funds. Later that year he made a secret trip to Mexico.

Arcacha-Smith moved to Miami in October, 1962. The following month he settled in Tampa. The following year he moved on to Houston where he sold air conditioners. Later he becomes Assistant Manager of the America Hotel in Houston. While in Texas he became friends with Edwin Walker and Haroldson L. Hunt.

Some researchers have suggested that Arcacha-Smith was in Dallas when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. However, according to Calvin Clausel: "On the day, at the hour and moment President Kennedy was killed in Dallas, Mr. Arcacha was with me in my office at Suite 107,3100 Audley Street, Houston, Texas. This fact can also be corroborated by Mrs. Art Magee, formerly Mrs. Rima Bredelhoeft, who at that time was my secretary."

In 1967 Jim Garrison was unsuccessful in having Arcacha-Smith extradited from Texas for questioning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I recall it was also Rose Cheramie, who identified one of the men she had overheard discussing the assassination prior to Nov 22, 1963. Apparently this same group of men drugged her etc.

Perhaps some other Forum members recall this matter in more detail.

Edited by Antti Hynonen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A bit of background on Arcacha, excerpted from my forthcoming book:

(Tony) Varona's choice for the position of New Orleans Delegate of the FRD was a dapper man named Sergio Vicente Arcacha Smith. Born in Havana on January 22, 1923, Arcacha was already familiar with the United States and spoke English well. In April 1945 he came to the U.S. to attend college in Texas. In 1951 he returned to Cuba and secured employment with the Cuban diplomatic service. His first assignment took him to Bombay, India, where he met and married Sheila Duarte, a native of Pakistan. By 1954, Arcacha had left the diplomatic service and was working as the assistant manager of the Lago Hotel in Caracas, Venezuela. Over the next few years he lived in New York City and Miami, Florida before returning to Cuba. On August 23, 1960 Arcacha left Cuba for good, traveling first to New York, stopping in New Orleans, and arriving in Miami in late October. It was on November 11 that, in Sheila's words, Varona "sent Sergio to New Orleans as a Delegate of the Front without a penny."

Arcacha spent much of December 1960 getting set-up as the FRD delegate in New Orleans. Arcacha established his communications with the FRD Executive Committee through a post office box in Coral Gables, Florida, not far from the CIA's JMWAVE station. Deciding that it would be wise to keep the FBI in the loop about his activities, Arcacha and his assistant Manuel Eleuterio Quesada Castillo made contact with Special Agent Warren C. DeBrueys through another exile, Rolando Zubizarreta, and visited the New Orleans FBI office on December 5.

Arcacha announced his presence on December 6, 1960 as the New Orleans Delegate of the Frente Revolucionario Democratico. Arcacha stated the objective of the FRD as the overthrow of Castro, but added that the purpose of the New Orleans branch was simply to inform the public about “exactly what is happening in Cuba”. On December 21, the new FRD office was opened in Room 207 of the second floor of the Balter Building at 403 Camp Street, apparently acquired rent-free. Joining Arcacha in the office were Quesada and Francisco J. Uriate.

After hearing Arcacha's tame description of the planned activities of the FRD, FBI Special Agent DeBrueys was startled to learn that he contacted International Export Packers in New Orleans on December 23 and indicated that "the FRD was interested in obtaining bazookas and a small boat."

Arcacha also felt that the FRD would need the assistance of an experienced public relations firm to present the right image for the organization, and he chose Martin L. McAuliffe Jr. for the task. One of McAuliffe's first accomplishments was to start a regular series of FRD press releases to the New Orleans media.

To help mobilize community support for the Frente Revolucionario Democratico, PR man McAuliffe arranged for Arcacha to visit with and address a series of civic groups. On January 5, 1961, the Cuban delegate spoke before the New Orleans Junior Chamber of Commerce, declaring that “Cubans will launch an invasion sometime in 1961 to overthrow the regime of Fidel Castro…Cuban citizens are being recruited by the Frente in this country and sent elsewhere to train for the invasion.” Arcacha estimated that complete victory would come after six months of fighting. Joining him in the presentation were Oscar Higgenbotham, former General Manager of the Central Espana Sugar Mills in central Cuba, and Carlos Marquez Diaz, former Cuban consul who was “removed when Castro came to power.” Marquez said that Castro has destroyed everything that represents decency and honesty in Cuba.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

why would Varona choose a Batistiano to hold such a post when guys like Senator Masferrer were hold up (Varona too) until the mission was over? Varona must have known that there was a (RFK?) "no Batistianos" policy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As I recall it was also Rose Cheramie, who identified one of the men she had overheard discussing the assassination prior to Nov 22, 1963. Apparently this same group of men drugged her etc. 

Perhaps some other Forum members recall this matter in more detail.

Hi Antti,

I am going on memory here so if I get anything wrong, hopefully a forum member can correct me.

A Lt. Fruge was investigating the Cheramie claims and interviewed Mac Manual, the bar owner of an establishment called the Silver Slipper. Fruge showed Manual some photographs of which he picked out Arcacha-Smith and Emilio Santana who accompanied Rose that evening.

I'm not sure if any solid connections between these men has ever been established.

Santana below.

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

James is absolutely right, we just got some new Customs documents on Rose from the period immediately following the assassination and as it turns out because Fritz of DPD was unresponsive to her JFK information literally nobody questioned her in any detail about the JFK lead, only about her drug information.

There is a bit of a mystery in that some of the memos reflect communication with the Secret Service but the related SS documents appear to be missing....how strange...not.

As it turns out given the information available it seems very unlikely that Rose actually heard anymore than some general gossip that was running through certain networks out of Miami. Its unlikely the two men with here had anything to do with the conspiracy and very unlikely that they were Arcacha Smith or Santana. I've added an appendix dealing with this to the forthcoming second edition of my book and it will reference the new documents. Its possible to make a speculative but reasonable case that several of the pre-assassination leaks were coming from one small group of folks in Miami...but the gossip spread as far as Chicago and New Orleans.

-- Larry

As I recall it was also Rose Cheramie, who identified one of the men she had overheard discussing the assassination prior to Nov 22, 1963. Apparently this same group of men drugged her etc. 

Perhaps some other Forum members recall this matter in more detail.

Hi Antti,

I am going on memory here so if I get anything wrong, hopefully a forum member can correct me.

A Lt. Fruge was investigating the Cheramie claims and interviewed Mac Manual, the bar owner of an establishment called the Silver Slipper. Fruge showed Manual some photographs of which he picked out Arcacha-Smith and Emilio Santana who accompanied Rose that evening.

I'm not sure if any solid connections between these men has ever been established.

Santana below.

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Larry and James,

Thanks for clarifying that. I knew I didn't have it quite accurately.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
why would Varona choose a Batistiano to hold such a post when guys like Senator Masferrer were hold up (Varona too) until the mission was over?  Varona must have known that there was a (RFK?) "no Batistianos" policy.

As noted, Varona chose Arcacha in November 1960, in the closing days of the Eisenhower administration, when Batisitanos were not in such disfavor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few questions about Sergio Aracha-Smith:

James DiEugenio describes the manager of The Silver Slipper Lounge in Eucnice, Louisiana, Mac Manual, as being quite certain that the two men who were with

Rose Cheramie were Sergio Arcacha Smith and Emilio Santana:

This is the point at which the Cheramie strory grows into genuine legal significance. The two photos manual picked out of the stack

were of Sergio Arcacha Smith and Emilio Santana. Manual's identification of the two Cuban exiles is reliable because, as Fruge told

BLackmer, the two had been there before (emphasis DiEugenio). In other words, Manual was not relying on a one-

sighting. How many times Manual had seen the pair is not certain, and Manual died before the HSCA geared up. But it was probably

several times since Fruge strongly impliess that Manual's bar was a stopover point for not just a drug ring but a prostitution ring from

Miami. The two Cubans were a part of both apparently. (p. 230, The Assassinations)

Larry Hanckcock describes Manuel's identification of Smith and Santana as less conclusive:

After his first interview, Fruge obtained a stack of photos from Garrison's office and went back to show them to Manual.

But Fruge had no idea who was in the photos, and manual picked two men from the stack (Fruge does not say how certain

Manual was about those identifations of how close the resemblance might have been (467-8, SWHT, 2ND ED.)

Larry Hancock says it is unlikely that Sergio Arcacha Smith would have been involved in such a drug and prostituion ring? Is this related to his suggestion that there may have been someone impersonating Smith, as suggested by the Garrison investigation "probably Louis Breto" (p. 468, SWHT 2ND ED.)

Any other evidence that Luis Breto may have been impersonating Sergio Arcacha Smith? Larry writes that Breto closely resembled Smith.

DiEugenio mentions that,earlier, when working for the Batista Regime, Smith werved as Cuban Sconsul " In Madrid, Rome, Meico City" in addition to Bombay

Do we have any dates on when he was working in Rome and Mexico City?

Also, Larry mentions that Smith was working on fundraising and recruiting activities for the CRC "until January 1962, when he was fired for

mismanagement and possible misappropriation of funds. reportedly wome New Orelans eiles suspect him of being a Castro agent; the same

suspicion circulated about Quiroa. (p. 469) Do we have any sources on this rumor?

Finally, DiEugenio claims that Smith was quite open about the inevitability of an attack on Cuba in the early part of 1961. " And there can be no

doubt that Smith plugged into the actual Bay of Pigs operation at a high level. He predicted the invasion three months in advance in a talk

before the Junior chamger of Commerce (New Orleans Times-Picayune 1/15/61)....A week before the invasion Smith informed the new Orleans

press that "prepartaions are almost complete for an anti-Castro Cuban invasion" (p. 232, The Assassination). This at a time when Kennedy was

asking the NYT to hold off on articles describing the plans? Doesn't this seem a little UNcovert of Sergio? Does this support the theory that the

invasion was planned as a failure that was designed to force the hand of Kennedy and have him commit US troops?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nathaniel, a couple of observations on your questions:

First off, Mac Manual commented that he was very familiar with the two men as they had been routinely transporting prostitutes on the Miami

to Texas route for an extended period of time; his terms suggest for at least a year if not longer. Arcacha's movements are fairly well

known during the latter part of 62 and into 63 as he first moved to Tampa and then to Galveston and on to Dallas. One of the reasons they

are fairly well known is that he borrowed a car to go to Florida, did not return it in time and the car owner brought charges against him.

Regardless of that, he had been employed in Texas for several months in air conditioning sales and unless that was a cover for transporting

prostitutes then it seems unlikely that he is a fit for one of Manual's two men.

Beyond that, Smith looked similar enough in appearance to have been misidentified by other individuals during the Garrison investigation so it seems

at least reasonable that Manuel simply picked his photo because Arcacha looked similar to the Odio incident individual.

Beyond that, I've found nothing in Arcacha's history (which is pretty detailed as a lot of people have looked into him) that suggests he would

have been a small time gangster transporting prostitutes for an extended period in 1963.

As to being plugged into the BOP affair, certainly he was very involved with exile activities at that time but we need to be a little cautions. With

newspaper stories running routinely about the training camps and exile training a great number of people knew that someting

was in the works weeks and months ahead of the invasion. Literally hundreds if not thousands of people on both sides knew it was coming,

the only question was exactly where and when. Bottom line is that its awfully hard to recruit and train a "deniable" force of volunteers and equip

a brigade level sea invasion force - over an extended period of time - and keep it secret in front of an open, peace time press. (no matter how many

friendly Miami press contacts the CIA had managed to establish).

-- Larry

A few questions about Sergio Aracha-Smith:

James DiEugenio describes the manager of The Silver Slipper Lounge in Eucnice, Louisiana, Mac Manual, as being quite certain that the two men who were with

Rose Cheramie were Sergio Arcacha Smith and Emilio Santana:

This is the point at which the Cheramie strory grows into genuine legal significance. The two photos manual picked out of the stack

were of Sergio Arcacha Smith and Emilio Santana. Manual's identification of the two Cuban exiles is reliable because, as Fruge told

BLackmer, the two had been there before (emphasis DiEugenio). In other words, Manual was not relying on a one-

sighting. How many times Manual had seen the pair is not certain, and Manual died before the HSCA geared up. But it was probably

several times since Fruge strongly impliess that Manual's bar was a stopover point for not just a drug ring but a prostitution ring from

Miami. The two Cubans were a part of both apparently. (p. 230, The Assassinations)

Larry Hanckcock describes Manuel's identification of Smith and Santana as less conclusive:

After his first interview, Fruge obtained a stack of photos from Garrison's office and went back to show them to Manual.

But Fruge had no idea who was in the photos, and manual picked two men from the stack (Fruge does not say how certain

Manual was about those identifations of how close the resemblance might have been (467-8, SWHT, 2ND ED.)

Larry Hancock says it is unlikely that Sergio Arcacha Smith would have been involved in such a drug and prostituion ring? Is this related to his suggestion that there may have been someone impersonating Smith, as suggested by the Garrison investigation "probably Louis Breto" (p. 468, SWHT 2ND ED.)

Any other evidence that Luis Breto may have been impersonating Sergio Arcacha Smith? Larry writes that Breto closely resembled Smith.

DiEugenio mentions that,earlier, when working for the Batista Regime, Smith werved as Cuban Sconsul " In Madrid, Rome, Meico City" in addition to Bombay

Do we have any dates on when he was working in Rome and Mexico City?

Also, Larry mentions that Smith was working on fundraising and recruiting activities for the CRC "until January 1962, when he was fired for

mismanagement and possible misappropriation of funds. reportedly wome New Orelans eiles suspect him of being a Castro agent; the same

suspicion circulated about Quiroa. (p. 469) Do we have any sources on this rumor?

Finally, DiEugenio claims that Smith was quite open about the inevitability of an attack on Cuba in the early part of 1961. " And there can be no

doubt that Smith plugged into the actual Bay of Pigs operation at a high level. He predicted the invasion three months in advance in a talk

before the Junior chamger of Commerce (New Orleans Times-Picayune 1/15/61)....A week before the invasion Smith informed the new Orleans

press that "prepartaions are almost complete for an anti-Castro Cuban invasion" (p. 232, The Assassination). This at a time when Kennedy was

asking the NYT to hold off on articles describing the plans? Doesn't this seem a little UNcovert of Sergio? Does this support the theory that the

invasion was planned as a failure that was designed to force the hand of Kennedy and have him commit US troops?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The points you have raised are succinct and very deserving of attention. First, I completely agree with you r premise regarding Lt Fruge's interview with the owner of the Silver Slipper and the ID'ing of S.A. Smith and Emilio Santana, furthermore if I recall correctly Emilio Santana actually claimed to have fired at JFK in Dealey Plaza in the Garrison Era, but this is a hard call s to whether he was acting as a member of the disinformation cadre, that so benevolently "helped" Garrison. or not, still his claim is on the record, while in reality he was supposed to have been in Houston on 11/22/63......

Additionally when Merchants Bank teller Sue Blake, [who was "preferred" by Jack Ruby at Merchants State Bank,] moved out of the Lake Gardens apartment, her residence was taken up by none other than Sergio Aracha Smith!

See

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...sult&id=485

So it was no small wonder that Garrison was compelled by Smith and eventually wanted to extradite Smith to New Orleans, but Sergio seemingly found newfound friends in the Dallas Police Department and Governor John Connally, who refused to honor extradition requests for Smith, in the same manner that Gov. Reagan denied to extradite Eugene Bradley.

The same allegation of non-extradition was claimed of Gov. Ray Rhodes of Ohio over Gordon Novel's participation in the Houma burglary, but in actuality Garrison did not file the papers in time to extradite Gordon Novel. Contrary to popular belief Govenor Rhodes of Ohio did reluctantly agree to extradite Novel, but Garrison as mentioned, did not file the papers within the allotted 60 days.

Additionally, while both Sergio Aracha Smith and Emilio Santana seemed like the last people that would be entrusted as assassins, at least on an official basis, both had reputations for not being of high morals, there is a JMWAVE Document which mentions that "Emilio Santana is probably identifiable as EMILIO SANTANA GALINDO who was recruited by JMWAVE in December 1960 as a guide for an infiltration team."

See

INFORMATION ON EMILIO SANTANA

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...bsPageId=380775

What is undoubtedly a new piece of information is that "Information on an immigration card reflects that ARACHA traveled to Venezuela at an unspecified date. His address in Venezuela was HOTEL TIUNA, Caracas."

See

TRACES ON SERGIO ARACHA SMITH

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...amp;relPageId=1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0