John Simkin Posted June 24, 2005 Share Posted June 24, 2005 During his seminar at Canterbury last week Larry Hancock suggested that Félix Ismael Rodríguez is an interesting figure that needs to be investigated. Over the last few days I have been doing some research into Rodríguez. He born into a wealthy, landowning family, in Cuba, in 1941. His uncle, José Antonio Mendigutia Silvera, was minister of public works and close collaborator of Fulgencio Batista. Rodriguez fled the country soon after Fidel Castro gained power in 1959. Most of his family, including his father and two of his brothers, were either executed or disappeared within the first months of Castro's regime. Rodriguez went to live in the United States. He attended college in Pennsylvania and hoped to become an engineer. However, he soon became involved in anti-Castro activities. At a meeting on 18th January, 1960, a group of CIA officials, including David Atlee Phillips, E. Howard Hunt, Jack Esterline, and Frank Bender, established Operation 40. It obtained this name because originally there were 40 agents involved in the operation. Rodriguez was one of the Cubans who joined this group. One member, Frank Sturgis claimed: "this assassination group (Operation 40) would upon orders, naturally, assassinate either members of the military or the political parties of the foreign country that you were going to infiltrate, and if necessary some of your own members who were suspected of being foreign agents... We were concentrating strictly in Cuba at that particular time." Rodriguez also joined the CIA-backed Brigade 2506 and volunteered to assassinate Fidel Castro. He was smuggled into Cuba a few weeks before the Bay of Pigs invasion but his mission was unsuccessful. After the failed invasion of Cuba Manuel Artime and the MRP established four bases in Costa Rica and Nicaragua in preparation for another exile military campaign against Castro. The operation was given support by Ted Shackley, the head of the JM/WAVE station in Florida. Rodriguez became the project's communications chief. During this period Rodriguez was involved in a large number of covert anti-Castro operations in an attempt to prepare the way to a second invasion. During the Cuban Missile Crisis Rodriguez volunteered to parachute into Cuba in order to identify Russian missile sites. The operation was called off when John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev negotiated an end to the dispute. In 1967 David Morales recruited him to train and head a team that would attempt to catch Che Guevara in Bolivia. Guevara was attempting to persuade the tin-miners living in poverty to join his revolutionary army. When Guevara was captured, it was Rodriguez who interrogated him before he ordered his execution. Rodriguez still possesses Guevara’s Rolex watch that he took as a trophy. Rodriguez became an U.S. citizen in 1969. Soon afterwards he enlisted in the US Army. During the Vietnam War he flew over 300 helicopter sorties and was shot down five times. In 1971 Rodriguez helped train Provincial Reconnaissance Units for Operation Phoenix. Rodriguez won the Intelligence Star for Valor from the CIA and nine Crosses for Gallantry from the Republic of South Vietnam. In the 1980s Rodriguez ran the Contra supply depot in El Salvador, and served as the bagman in the CIA's deal with Medellin. He met regularly with Oliver North and at the height of the Contra operations met Ronald Reagan and George Bush at the White House. He flew over 100 combat missions in Central America, and captured the Cuban backed military commander Nidia Diaz. In 1987 he testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism and Narcotics. During one session John Kerry accused him of a soliciting a $10 million donation from the Colombian cocaine cartel. The story had originally come Ramon Milian Rodriguez, a convicted money launderer for Columbia. Rodriguez published his autobiography, Shadow Warrior: The CIA Hero of a Hundred Unknown Battles (co-authored with John Weisman) in 1989. In the book he writes about his relationship with the CIA and the anti-Castro resistance. He also describes his adventures in Bolivia, Vietnam, El Salvador and Nicaragua. After his retirement Rodriguez became a leader in the Cuban American community in Florida and is currently president of the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association. During the 2004 presidential election Rodriguez campaigned strongly for George Bush. He admitted his main motivation was “to get the real word out about John Kerry.” Others accused him of seeking revenge against Kerry for what happened in 1987. There is an interesting article in Granma International by Jean-Guy Allard that links Rodriguez to both the JFK assassination and George H. W. Bush. http://www.granma.cu/ingles/33alo/30george-i.html There is another online article (CBS news) that claims that Rodriguez was involved with Mike Tolliver in drug smuggling. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKroderiguez.htm http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKoperation40.htm Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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