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John Simkin

Raphael (Chi Chi) Quintero

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Are you sure that is not Rafael Caro-Quintero?

I am sure you are right. The caption with the picture comes from Jonathan Kwitny's The Crimes of the Patriots. I suspect the mistake came from Wide World Photos who supplied the picture.

It is a great book that has a lot of useful information on the CIA and illegal dealings in drugs and arms. However, he made the mistake of looking at the connection between Ted Shackley, Tom Clines, Edwin Wilson, Michael Hand, Bernie Houghton, Paul Helliwell, Chi Chi Quintero and George Bush and died before his time in 1997.

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I have just discovered that Chi Chi Quintero died earlier this month. I have been trying to get Quintero to answer my questions for some time (via Don Bohning). It was hoped that he would be persuaded to talk to the BBC about Gene Wheaton's accusations that he was involved in the assassination of JFK.

His obituary in The Independent had this to say about Quintero:

After the assassination of JFK, when it emerged that Lee Harvey Oswald was pro-Castro and had attempted to get to Cuba, the group known as Operation 40, and notably the name Rafael Quintero, were mentioned in several of the conspiracy theories that spread over the years. The Cubans, one theory went, never forgave JFK for with-holding air support during the Bay of Pigs, effectively condemning them to defeat and, in many cases, execution.

If Quintero had any such secrets, he took them with him to his grave. But he was once quoted as saying: “If I were ever granted immunity, and compelled to testify about past actions, about Dallas and the Bay of Pigs, it would be the biggest scandal ever to rock the United States.”

http://news.independent.co.uk/people/obitu...icle1919493.ece

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Here is the report that appeared in the New York Times on 19th October. Interestingly, his death was kept secret for 17 days:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/19/obituari...6b5&ei=5070

Rafael Quintero, a daring secret agent in the most dangerous American covert operations against Fidel Castro, died Oct. 1 in Baltimore. He was 66.

His death, after a history of kidney failure, was kept almost as secret as his life as a spy, until last night. It was confirmed at a memorial service in Miami by Felix Rodriguez, a fellow veteran of the Bay of Pigs and the Central Intelligence Agency.

In 1960, Mr. Quintero, not yet 21, signed up with the C.I.A. He worked against Cuba side by side with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in the days when the United States tried to kill Mr. Castro. Years later, Mr. Quintero conspired with Lt. Col. Oliver L. North against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua.

But, as with millions of his fellow Cubans, the central event of Mr. Quintero’s life was the Bay of Pigs invasion of April 1961.

He helped build the camps in Guatemala where the C.I.A. trained the rebels who were hoping to overthrow Mr. Castro. When the battle was joined, Mr. Quintero had been in Cuba for months, part of the small rebel force that infiltrated the island in advance of the invasion.

After almost every member of the C.I.A. strike force of 1,500 exiles was killed or imprisoned, Mr. Quintero went on the run inside Cuba. He and his allies were in shock, he said at a 1996 conference of Bay of Pigs veterans, recorded in the book “Politics of Illusion: The Bay of Pigs Invasion Reexamined.”

“We thought the Americans worked the way John Wayne worked in his movies,” Mr. Quintero said. “The Americans hated communism and, like John Wayne, they never lost — ever.” But he said 9 of every 10 Cubans decided to go with the winner after the Bay of Pigs.

He made his way out of Cuba and wound up in Washington. He worked closely with Attorney General Kennedy on the anti-Castro movement.

“Kennedy was obsessed,” he said at the 1996 conference, “that the Kennedy family had lost a big battle against a guy like Castro. He really wanted to get even with him.”

Mr. Quintero continued working on operations against Mr. Castro, including assassination plots, according to declassified government documents. After President John F. Kennedy was killed in 1963, direct American support for most anti-Castro operations began to die down.

By 1965, the White House had turned off the missions aimed at killing Mr. Castro. What Mr. Quintero did for the next decade is still secret. In 1977, he reported to the C.I.A. that one of its former officers had offered him $1 million to kill a Libyan dissident in Egypt.

During the Reagan administration, as he testified at Colonel North’s criminal trial, Mr. Quintero was being paid $4,000 a month to make sure clandestine arms shipments got to the contras, the American-backed forces trying to overthrow Nicaragua, despite a Congressional ban on direct American support for them.

Rafael Quintero Ibarbia, whose friends called him Chi Chi, was born in Camagüey, in the center of Cuba, on Sept. 16, 1940. His friends remember him as a short, smart man with a sharp, bitter sense of humor. His survivors include his wife, Dolores, and their children Alejandro, Marie and Rafael.

As a teenager in the 1950’s, Mr. Quintero joined the underground resistance against Fulgencio Batista, the corrupt right-wing dictator of Cuba. After Mr. Castro’s rebels won power in January 1959, Mr. Quintero said, he was expelled from the vanguard of the revolution for refusing to join the Communist Party. He joined the anti-Castro Movement to Recover the Revolution and became part of the C.I.A.’s grand scheme to overthrow his government.

The agency had assumed that the invasion would lead to an uprising. Few Americans understood that “there was a resistance long before the United States government decided to overthrow Fidel Castro,” Mr. Quintero reflected. “The resistance came first and then later the United States destroyed it.”

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I am amazed by member's lack of interest in this highly significant event.

One possibility why Quintero's death was kept secret for so long was that the CIA did not want photographs to be taken of his funeral. I wonder if Carl E. Jenkins attended?

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I am amazed by member's lack of interest in this highly significant event.

One possibility why Quintero's death was kept secret for so long was that the CIA did not want photographs to be taken of his funeral. I wonder if Carl E. Jenkins attended?

John,

I have been moving house so sorry about the non reply.

There is another man still alive who knew Quintero and Jenkins very well. Dick Beal was Agency and also in a position to know what was going on at the time of the assassination. Back in December of 1961, Operation Pepe was launched with Quintero at the helm. He was using the name Roberto Quesada. Beal was prime mover for that endeavor and ended up a principal in the AMWORLD operation.

Days after the assassination, coded memos were being sent to Hecksher asking where ex Op Pepe principals were currently located. No one seemed to know until weeks later when Artime and his team under the AMWORLD banner were moving people into Nicaragua for training exercises. Good way to hide any possible Dealey Plaza participants.

I have Beal's contact address if you want to make an approach.

FWIW.

James

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I am amazed by member's lack of interest in this highly significant event.

One possibility why Quintero's death was kept secret for so long was that the CIA did not want photographs to be taken of his funeral. I wonder if Carl E. Jenkins attended?

_________________________________

Excellent insight, John.

--Thomas

_________________________________

Edited by Thomas Graves

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A close friend of Quintero has given me some further information about his death. He died from pneumonia but this was related to his kidney problems. For several years he had been on dialysis three hours a day, three days a week. An earlier kidney transplant had been unsuccessful. A second transplant took place in May in Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Medical Center. He returned to Miami but the second kidney transplant was also unsuccessful and in July he returned to Baltimore where he died on 1st October.

Quintero’s death was not announced until 15th October when a paid obituary notice appeared in the Miami Herald. According to my source, it was the decision of the family to keep his death secret for 14 days.

The obituary in the New York Times was written by Tim Weiner. His wife works for the National Security Archive. I also know that his main source for the information in the obituary was Don Bohning.

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There is another man still alive who knew Quintero and Jenkins very well. Dick Beal was Agency and also in a position to know what was going on at the time of the assassination. Back in December of 1961, Operation Pepe was launched with Quintero at the helm. He was using the name Roberto Quesada. Beal was prime mover for that endeavor and ended up a principal in the AMWORLD operation.

Days after the assassination, coded memos were being sent to Hecksher asking where ex Op Pepe principals were currently located. No one seemed to know until weeks later when Artime and his team under the AMWORLD banner were moving people into Nicaragua for training exercises. Good way to hide any possible Dealey Plaza participants.

I have Beal's contact address if you want to make an approach.

I would be interested in contacting Dick Beal. However, I suspect he will not be willing to talk to me. Brian Latrell, a former senior officer in the CIA, is the man who currently looks after the anti-Castro Cuban CIA assets. I was given his contact details but he has refused to talk to me.

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I have discovered that Quintero was working with a journalist on his autobiography at the time of his death. I am told by the journalist that there is not enough material to enable a book to be published.

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I have discovered that Quintero was working with a journalist on his autobiography at the time of his death. I am told by the journalist that there is not enough material to enable a book to be published.

Quintero from a couple of years ago. Sorry about the poor quality.

James

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Boy, really would love to see a photo or list of who came to the funeral.

One of my CIA contacts admitted he attended the memorial service (the funeral took place before the news of his death was announced). He claims “neither the Cia nor Carl Jenkins attended the memorial service, unless you call Felix Rodriguez a representative of the CIA… virtually all the 100 or so in attendance, except my wife and I, were older Cuban-Americans.”

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