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Manuel Artime


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Manuel Artime Buesa was born in Cuba on 29th January, 1932. He became involved in politics and was a founder member of the Radical Liberal Party. He went into the Sierra Maestra to join Fidel Castro just 72 hours before the triumph of the revolution.

In 1959 Artime emerged as a leading anti-Communist. He worked closely with the Catholic University Association (CUA). Later that year he moved to the Manzanillo region where he joined up with Carlos Prio and Tony Varona. Along with Huber Matos they planned a counter-revolution. According to Fabian Escalante (CIA Covert Operations: 1959-62) this rebellion was organized by Frank Sturgis and the CIA.

On 21st October, 1959, Artime arranged for Sturgis, flying a CIA plane, to drop thousands of leaflets over Havana, calling for the population to rise up against the revolution. When this did not happen, Artime fled from the country with a "hundred thousand pesos of funds under his control".

Artime moved to the United States and with Tony Varona, Aureliano Arango and Jose Cardona established the Movement for the Recovery of the Revolution (MRR Party). In 1960 Artime met John F. Kennedy at the Democratic National Convention. Later he became a close friend of Robert Kennedy.

Artime took part in the Bay of Pigs as one of the leaders of Brigade 2506. He was captured and held prisoner until his ransom was paid by personal friends. Over the next few months he worked with E. Howard Hunt on several plots to kill Fidel Castro. However, Gaeton Fonzi has argued that Artime might have been working as a double agent for Castro.

In 1963 Artime obtained funds from the CIA and after moving to Nicaragua he formed a 300 man army. He also covertly acquired arms, supplies and boats for an invasion of Cuba.

On the day JFK was assassinated RFK phoned Artime (via Haynes Johnson) to discover if any of his people had been responsible.

Artime was also involved in delivering hush money payments to the Watergate burglars.

Manuel Artime Buesa died of cancer in Miami on 18th November, 1977. Artime was due to appear before the House Select Committee on Assassinations and Gaeton Fonzi claims: "There are some what I call mysterious deaths. Artime fits into that category - he got cancer awfully fast."

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John wrote:

On the day JFK was assassinated RFK phoned Artime (via Haynes Johnson) to discover if any of his people had been responsible.

John, you have this slightly wrong. Haynes Johnson was with Harry Ruiz Williams, an associate of Artime (and friend of Bobby's). Bobby did not call to ASK if one of Artime's group was involved. Rather, according to the literature, Bobby STATED flatly: "One of your guys did it."

The question is why RFK made this as a statement rather than an inquiry. Gerry Hemming has the answer. He believes that RFK had SEEN Oswald with a group of anti-Castro Cubans when he (RFK) used a helicopter to inspect one of their camps. And, as I am sure you recall, according to Hemming, one of the people who visited Silvia Odio with Lee Oswald was Angel Murgado, a close friend of the Kennedys who in fact changed his name to Angel Kennedy some time after the assassination of RFK.

So RFK was shocked when he saw a photo of Oswald on the news because he had seen the man with his Cuban friends.

Hemming has also suggested whether RFK may have even had a file on Oswald, depending on exactly what Oswald was doing for the CIA.

Of course, at that time it had not yet dawned on RFK that LHO was "just a patsy".

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The "one of your guys did it" line was almost positively a rushed and tortured statement by Bobby upon learning of Oswald's pro-Castro Cuban background. Bobby's inititial instincts seem to have been that the CIA and anti-Castro Cubans were behind the assassination, and it seems he suspected Oswald's role in the FPCC was as an agent-provocateur. The speculation that Bobby recognized Oswald from some camp is ludicrous. I mean, would you recognize someone as white bread as Oswald if you'd seen him at a grocery store six months ago? No way, Jose.

While it's pretty clear that Artime's army was penetrated by one of Castro's men, the speculation that Artime himself was working for Castro is equally ludicrous. The man was one of the leaders of Brigade 2506. He fought at the Bay of Pigs. He was captured in the swamps. He was imprisoned. A lot of the "Castro did it" theories can be linked back to disinformation created by men surrounding him, quite possible under the direction of Phillips and/or Hunt. He's about as likely a Castro agent as Tim Gratz.

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Pat, as I am sure you recall, Hemminmg also claims that Oswald was "hanging with" Angel Murgardo, who was a close friend of the Kennedys. (According to Hemming, Murgardo had worked on JFK's senatorial campaign.) So there is probably more to it than RFK having recognized a non-hispanic he had seen with Cuban exiles. Russo states that Murgardo was with Artime when Artime went to the WH in January of 1963 for a personal meeting with the President.

This scenario explains why RFK stated to Williams as a matter of fact (and not as a question): "One of your men did it."

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John, you have this slightly wrong.  Haynes Johnson was with Harry Ruiz Williams, an associate of Artime (and friend of Bobby's).  Bobby did not call to ASK if one of Artime's group was involved.  Rather, according to the literature, Bobby STATED flatly: "One of your guys did it."

The question is why RFK made this as a statement rather than an inquiry.  Gerry Hemming has the answer.  He believes that RFK had SEEN Oswald with a group of anti-Castro Cubans when he (RFK) used a helicopter to inspect one of their camps.  And, as I am sure you recall, according to Hemming, one of the people who visited Silvia Odio with Lee Oswald was Angel Murgado, a close friend of the Kennedys who in fact changed his name to Angel Kennedy some time after the assassination of RFK.

In fact, according to Haynes Johnson (The Washington Post, 20th November, 1983), we both have it wrong. According to the article, Johnson, who worked for the Washington Star at the time, phoned Robert Kennedy. It was during this discussion that RFK said to Johnson “One of your guys did it”. It has to be remembered that RFK had said something similar to John McCone, Director of the CIA, a couple of hours earlier. It is possible he said the same thing to Hoover and LBJ. He was obviously on a fishing expedition. The important point is that RFK thought that JFK had been killed as part of a domestic conspiracy.

An interesting side-note to this. Harry Ruiz Williams was being run by two CIA officers: E. Howard Hunt and James McCord (page 171 Deadly Secrets). Another one of these strange links between the assassination and Watergate.

Haynes Johnson is still alive. He might be worth interviewing. I have been told that he now believes that JFK was murdered by anti-Castro Cubans.

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Great post, John.

I do think, however, that the record indicates that RFK once was quoted that he ASKED McCone if the CIA had killed his brother in a way that (per RFK) he knew McCone would not be able to lie to him.

But he did STATE to Johnson (presumably intending it for Williams) "One of your guys did it."

The distinction between the declaration by RFK to Johnson and his questions to others may be significant, for the reasons I suggested above.

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If as your post suggests Johnson felt the anti-Castro Cubans attributed primary responsibility for the Bay of Pigs fiasco to the CIA and not to JFK, why would anti-Castro Cubans kill JFK (unless they mistook him for Richard Bissell)?

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If as your post suggests Johnson felt the anti-Castro Cubans attributed primary responsibility for the Bay of Pigs fiasco to the CIA and not to JFK, why would anti-Castro Cubans kill JFK (unless they mistook him for Richard Bissell)?

The anti-Castro Cubans were not of course a group of people who agreed about every issue (this is a common mistake you make - hence your comments about "communists"). There was a group associated with RFK who were fairly happy about what JFK was doing about Cuba in the early part of 1963. Manuel Artime falls into this category. However, there were others, linked to David Morales and Rip Robertson, who did not share these attitudes. Especially when they were told that JFK was double-crossing them by carrying out secret peace negotiations with Castro. It was then that they decided to take part in the plot to assassinate JFK.

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John, of course I recognize the point that there was a wide divergence in political philosophy and opinions among the Cuban exiles. But it must be understood that the Cuban exiles formed many organizations each of which could perhaps be considered a "party".

I think you are incorrect about Communists. I understand there were Trotskyites etc but it was my understanding that Communists were expected to adhere to the "party line" and that there was a fairly rigid party disclipine to ensure this happened. I don't think that many Communists would object to this characterization. There is even some truth to this within American political parties or at least within a presidential administration: that there will be internal debate but once an issue is decided internally all are expected to support it (or to resign if they cannot support the decision that has been made).

According to Gus Russo's "The Outfit" the Chicago mafia ("the Outfit") took a vote whether to support Kennedy and the vote was pro-Kennedy. Thereafter, a leading Chicago mafioso named Humphreys who had opposed the Kennedy "endorsement" nevertheless actively campaigned for him because that was the position the organization had adopted.

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In another section of this Forum, Mr. Dalibor Svoboda, who grew up under Communism, wrote:

But the inconvenient reality came nearer and nearer. On one hand we were waiving red flags and portraits of Marx, Lenin and our own domestic leaders on communist holidays, on the other hand there have been growing shortages of common goods, fear of secrete police and unwillingness to talk about matters which debaters thought could harm them if listened to by informers.

John, people who grew up under Communism, such as Mr. Svoboda, or who were once Party members themselves, such as the late Mr. Weyl, understood what it was.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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  • 10 months later...

Christopher Barger, memorandum to Jeremy Gunn (18th May, 1995)

I interviewed former US Army captain and CIA employee Bradley Ayers on May 12, 1995, at Ayers' home in Woodbury, Minnesota. The interview lasted from 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. The following is a summary and report of the interview...

Q. Did Morales ever try and pass himself off as Cuban?

A. Not to Ayers' knowledge, but "he could easily pass for Cuban." Morales was allegedly a very good actor, and "could pull off lots of roles." Here the conversation drifted into a discussion of David Morales and his emotional makeup. Ayers charged that Morales was a "mean" man who "paraded around the station like a tyrant." Everyone was apparently afraid of him. Morales hung with what Ayers called the "circle" - Morales, Roselli, Tony Sforza, Manuel Artime and Rip Robertson. The four were drinking buddies and of like mind on politics. Ayers said they were vicious, too. "If anyone put together a sniper team to hit the President, Morales, Rip, Rosselli and Sforza would have done it." Ayers noted that Artime, Robertson, Rosselli and Sforza all died just as the HSCA began investigating. He suggests checking for Morales' whereabouts during the late seventies, especially on the times these men were killed.

Ayers is right that these men all died in the 1970s: Rip Robertson (1970), John Roselli (July 1976), Manuel Artime (November, 1977) and Tony Sforza (December, 1978). However, David Morales could not have killed all these men as he himself died six months before Tony Sforza (May, 1978).

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  • 6 months later...
  • 9 months later...

Manuel Artime Buesa died of cancer in Miami on 18th November, 1977. Artime was due to appear before the House Select Committee on Assassinations and Gaeton Fonzi claims: "There are some what I call mysterious deaths. Artime fits into that category - he got cancer awfully fast." (From John Simkin's biography of Artime)

The photo below was snapped 7 months before Artime's death.

James

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