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The Education Forum

Important Witnesses as Historical Sources

John Simkin

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The Forum is currently interviewing two important figures in history: Manuel Ray and Douglas Caddy. Both men have been reluctant to talk about their role in important events. However, they have been impressed by the way we have handled other witnesses and have volunteered to tell their stories on the Forum.

Manuel Ray was born in Cuba in 1924. In 1947 the Cuban Ministry of Public Works granted him a scholarship to study civil engineering at the University of Utah. Ray returned to Cuba in 1949 and became project manager for the construction of the Hilton Hotel in Havana.

Ray was opposed to the military rule of Fulgencio Batista and in 1957 he established the Civic Resistance Movement. Over the next two years Ray organized a series of sabotage and acts of terrorism against the Batista government. Fidel Castro recognised the important role Ray played in the overthrow of Batista and appointed him as his Minister of Public Works (February, 1959).

Ray clashed with Castro over certain issues. This included Castro's decision to execute Hubert Matos. In November, 1959, Ray left Castro's government. In May 1960 Ray formed the Revolutionary Movement of the People (MRP) and joined the underground resistance to Castro. The MRP was a left of centre political organization that's policies included regulation of private investment and the nationalization of all utilities.

The Central Intelligence Agency considered Ray an important political asset and in November, 1960, arranged for him to escape to the United States. However, the CIA was not in complete agreement about Ray. For example, E. Howard Hunt saw Ray as too left-wing and described him as a supporter of "Fidelism without Fidel".

Despite these fears, Kennedy insisted that Ray should become part of the Frente Revolucionario Democratico (FRD). This upset its leader, Jose Miro Cardona, who considered Ray to be a dangerous radical. William Pawley, who believed that Ray was a communist, also objected to him becoming a member of FRD.

Kennedy also wanted Ray to join the Cuban Revolutionary Council (CRC). Ray agreed to do this three weeks before the Bay of Pigs operation. Ray became Chief of Sabotage and Internal Affairs. Other members of this government in exile included Tony Varona (Secretary of War), Manuel Artime (Head of the Army), Antonio Maceo (Secretary of Health) and Justo Carrillo (Economic Administrator).

Ray withdrew the MRP from the CRC soon after the failed invasion of Cuba. He gave a news conference on 28th May, 1961, where he criticised the Bay of Pigs operation. He claimed that CRC had broken a pledge to ensure that anyone closely associated with Fulgencio Batista would not be used in the invasion. Ray also argued that Castro should be overthrown by the Cuban people and was totally opposed to CIA backed invasions.

Kennedy now cut off funds for the MRP. As a result, party members persuaded Ray to resign as leader of the MRP. Ray now moved to Puerto Rico. In October 1961 he became a member of the Puerto Rican Planning Board.

In April 1962, Ray formed a new anti-Castro organization called the Junta Revolucionario Cubana (JURE). This organization became part of the CRC. Ray also began providing information to the CIA about the possible defection of Castro's officials. Ray made a tour of Latin American countries in an attempt to raise funds in order that JURE could mount resistance operations inside Cuba.

Silvia Odio was one of Ray's supporters. On 25th September, 1963, Odio had a visit from three men who claimed they were from New Orleans. Two of the men, Leopoldo and Angelo, said they were members of the JURE. The third man, Leon, was introduced as an American sympathizer who was willing to take part in the assassination of Fidel Castro. After she told them that she was unwilling to get involved in any criminal activity, the three men left.

Odio became convinced that after the assassination of Kennedy that Leon was Lee Harvey Oswald. Odio gave evidence to the Warren Commission and one of its lawyers commented: "Silvia Odio was checked out thoroughly... The evidence is unanimously favorable... Odio is the most significant witness linking Oswald to the anti-Castro Cubans."

On 20th May, 1964, Ray and a crew of seven, including a reporter-photographer team from Life Magazine, landed at the Angguilla Cays, 40 miles off the Cuban coast. However, the British authorities discovered Ray and his group and their cache of weapons and explosives, arrested them for illegal entry into the Bahamas and took them to Nassau. After being fined Ray was deported to the United States.

The FBI now carried out an investigation into Ray's activities and discovered that he had illegally purchased $50,000 worth of arms for JURE from a California arms manufacturer. As a result Ray was told to move all his operations outside of United States territory. Attempts were also made to stop people in the United States from financing Ray's activities.

Ray continued to get involved in anti-Castro activities and in 1972 he formed the People's Revolutionary Party, but it failed to make an impact.

In 1978 Ray moved to Puerto Rico when he headed his own engineering consulting firm in San Juan.


Douglas Caddy was born in 1938. He was educated at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (B.S. degree) and New York University School of Law (J.D. degree).

While a student he developed right-wing opinions and in 1960 he established the "Youth for Goldwater" organization.

In September, 1960, Caddy, Marvin Liebman and William F. Buckley established the far right group, Young Americans for Freedom (YAF). The first meeting was held at Buckley's home in Sharon, Connecticut. Caddy became YAF's first president. Its first national council included eleven members of the John Birch Society. The main mission of the YAF was to “prepare young people for the struggle ahead with Liberalism, Socialism and Communism”.

After graduating from New York University School of Law in 1966 Caddy went to work for General Foods Corporation in White Plains, New York. In 1969 Caddy was transferred to corporate headquarters in Washington. According to Caddy: "The corporate plan was to open an office for Washington representation a year later. Meanwhile, I was ordered as an employee to work out of the public affairs firm of Robert Mullen and Co., which General Foods had retained for decades." Caddy met E. Howard Hunt after he joined the staff of Robert Mullen, being recommended by Richard Helms, then director of the CIA.

Caddy left General Foods and joined the Washington Law firm of Gall, Lane, Powell and Kilcullen. In 1970 E. Howard Hunt became a client of the company. When Charles Colson invited Hunt to join the White House staff in 1971, Caddy provided him with a character reference.

Caddy, who was an active member of the Republican Party, did volunteer legal work for Richard Nixon. In March 1972 he had a meeting with John Dean. Over the next four months he performed a number of legal tasks connected with Nixon presidential campaign assigned to him by Dean's office. Caddy also did work for G. Gordon Liddy, the counsel for the finance committee of the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP).

On the 17th June, 1972, Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker and James W. McCord were arrested while in the Democratic Party headquarters in Watergate. Soon afterwards, E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy contacted Caddy for help. Caddy arranged for another attorney, Joseph Rafferty, to meet him in the next morning in the courtroom. Later that day Caddy and Rafferty arranged to represent Sturgis, Gonzalez, Martinez, Barker, McCord, Hunt and Liddy.

Eleven days later Caddy was instructed to appear before the Grand Jury. Caddy answered some of the questions but refused to reply to those he claimed "involved the attorney-client, which protects confidential and legitimate communications between an attorney and his client."

On 10th July, 1972, Earl J. Silbert filed a "motion to Compel Testimony of Grand Jury Witness Michael Douglas Caddy. At issue were 38 key questions that Caddy refused to answer. According to Caddy, these "38 questions was to attempt through my lips as their defense attorney to implicate and incriminate Hunt and Liddy in the break-in." On 13th July, Caddy once again refused to answer these questions and therefore John J. Sirica sent him to prison.

Caddy was soon released and on 19th July, 1972, Caddy appeared before the Grand Jury and answered all the questions he was asked. He was surprised that he was never questioned about his relationship with John Dean, G. Gordon Liddy, E. Howard Hunt and the White House before the Watergate break-in.

He was never asked to testify before Sam Ervin and the Senate Watergate Committee. However, when Herbert W. Kalmbach was interviewed it was discovered that Caddy had rejected attempts by Anthony Ulasewicz to pay "hush money" to his clients.

In 1984 Caddy became a lawyer for Billie Sol Estes. On 9th August, 1984, Caddy wrote to Stephen S. Trott at the U.S. Department of Justice. In the letter Caddy claimed that Estes, Lyndon B. Johnson, Mac Wallace and Cliff Carter had been involved in the murders of Henry Marshall, George Krutilek, Harold Orr, Ike Rogers, Coleman Wade, Josefa Johnson, John Kinser and John F. Kennedy. Caddy added: "Mr. Estes is willing to testify that LBJ ordered these killings, and that he transmitted his orders through Cliff Carter to Mac Wallace, who executed the murders."

In recent years Douglas Caddy has moved to the left. He describes himself as a "progressive-liberal" who supported Al Gore for President in 2000 and Howard Dean for President in 2004 and belongs to People for the American Way (ACLU).


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John, I congratulate you on attracting Mr. Ray and Mr. Caddy to the Forum. Each has certainly already posted some very interesting information. Although I know his views are controversial, Gerry Hemming was certainly a "player" in the hotbed of anti-Castro activities in the early sixties and I think you also deserve commendation for his participation.

Of course you also deserve credit for the variety of respected writers who have participated.

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