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Rafael Villaverde


John Simkin
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Any members got any information on Rafael Villaverde? In June, 2002, his brother, Jorge Villaverde, was murdered. Here is a report that appeared in the The Miami Herald (12th June, 2002):

Anti-Castro activist murdered

He is gunned down outside home

By David Green And Tere Figueras.

Longtime anti-Castro activist Jorge Villaverde was convinced someone was trying to kill him. On Tuesday morning his hunch proved grimly correct.

Villaverde was gunned down as he took out the trash from his Redland house. He died with a 9mm pistol tucked into the back of his pants -- a gun he never had time to draw.

''This was obviously an ambush,'' said Miami-Dade police Detective Lupo Jimenez. "That's what we're looking at.''

The member of a fiercely anti-Castro family, Villaverde spent years in Cuban political prisons before making it to the United States. His brother, Rafael, was a member of the ill-fated brigade that invaded Cuba's Bay of Pigs in 1961.

News of Villaverde's apparent execution drew some members of Miami's Cuban exile community to the crime scene. They stood in the drizzle on this rural lane, huddling in grim clusters as they speculated on his life and death.

''I knew him well,'' said Roberto Martín Pérez, whose wife is the prominent radio commentator Ninoska Pérez Castellón. "We spent 20 years in political prisons together [in Cuba]. We engaged in strong anti-Communist activities.''

The murder occurred about 8 a.m., police said. Villaverde, 67, had just walked out through the electronic gate in front of his ranch-style compound in the 20400 block of Southwest 198 Avenue when he was hit with a hail of bullets.

A neighbor's housekeeper told police she watched it happen.

''She saw two guys in a white car,'' said Joseph Pratt, who employs the housekeeper. "The passenger tilted the seat back, and the driver leaned across and shot him.''

Villaverde's maintenance man was inside the gate when he heard four or five shots. He ran outside and found his boss lying on his back beside the trash can -- under the wooden sign over his driveway carved with the words, "La Tranquilidad.''

''He had blood in his mouth,'' Armando Alonso said.

Those who knew Villaverde, who was retired, said he had been attacked a few times during the past month.

About 10 days ago, he was tending his horses behind his house -- which sits on a 2.5-acre lot -- when someone fired a burst of shots from beyond his property line.

''That time I heard the shots,'' neighbor Pratt said. "I ran over to see what happened. . . . He told me they tried to kill him.''

Another neighbor recalled Villaverde saying two weeks ago that someone had hit him in the back of the head with a weight.

'He used to ride his horse on the street, and when I saw him, I said, 'I haven't seen you on your horse recently,' '' said Suzanne Miller. "He said someone had hit him in the head with a dumbbell. He had a big mark there.''

Villaverde's roots in Miami's anti-Castro world ran deep. He served decades in Cuban prisons, and at one time said he was a CIA operative trained as a "terrorist.''

He and brother Rafael -- who once ran the Little Havana Activities Center -- were indicted in the early 1980s in a notorious drug smuggling ring dubbed ''Operation Tick-Talks.'' They and 51 others were accused of running a multimillion-dollar cocaine smuggling operation.

Rafael Villaverde, known as ''the weather vane of anti-Castro activities,'' vanished on a fishing trip after bonding out after his arrest. He has never been found.

The intrigue following his disappearance was typical Miami: Rafael did not die, the rumors held, but instead fled to Martinique or even Cuba.

The case against him and his brother, Jorge, later disintegrated.

Named because Miami police planted a recording device inside a clock, a judge ruled that police had gathered evidence in the Tick-Talks investigation illegally.

It was not Jorge Villaverde's last brush with the law.

In 1995, federal prosecutors charged him and a man living in his house with possession of a machine gun and possession of unregistered silencers.

He spent two years in prison.

The bust occurred after someone tipped police that Villaverde was stashing drugs at his house, said one attorney on the case.

Federal agents raided Villaverde's Redland ranch, but instead of drugs, they found a large cache of weapons.

''He had a ton of weapons,'' said Ricardo L. Sanchez, who represented the second defendant, Alberto Bayolo.

''Jorge had two reasons for the guns: He always believed he was being watched by pro-Castro forces; and he had the weapons because he was one day he was going to put together a revolution and liberate Cuba,'' the lawyer said. "That's how Jorge lived.''

In the wake of last week's vandalisms outside the headquarters of paramilitary group Alpha 66 and the Cuban American National Foundation -- where assailants tossed ignited, gasoline-filled beer cans -- Miami's exile community was awash in speculation about Villaverde's death.

Many felt Castro was ''settling scores.'' But few said that publicly.

''This was a true crime, an assassination,'' said Andrés Nazario Sargén, leader of Alpha 66, adding that Villaverde was not affiliated with his group.

"It could have been a neighbor he had problems with, or someone else, but there is the political question. It needs to be investigated.''

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Namebase entry for Rafael Villaverde:

http://www.namebase.org/main4/Rafael-Villaverde.html

Christic Institute. Sheehan Affidavit. 1987-01-31 (25, 30, 33)

Cockburn,L. Out of Control. 1987 (99)

Fonzi,G. The Last Investigation. 1993 (357)

Goulden,J. The Death Merchant. 1985 (107-9)

Lernoux,P. In Banks We Trust. 1984 (149)

Maas,P. Manhunt. 1986 (67-8, 77-81, 86, 98, 100)

Parade Magazine 1983-09-18 (22)

Parapolitics/USA 1982-03-31 (28)

Parapolitics/USA 1983-03-01 (25)

Trento,J. Prelude to Terror. 2005 (91-3)

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John,

Rafael Villaverde was also one of the original Op 40 guys and he went through Fort Benning in 1963 with the likes of Luis Posada Carriles, Jorge Mas Canosa, Felix Rodriguez and Jose Varona.

He was also allegedly mixed up with Frank Castro and other BOP veterans in a drug smuggling operation that was bringing cocaine out of Bolivia.

If you can track down a guy by the name of Diosdado C. Diaz, he might have some very interesting information on Villaverde. Diaz worked for the Miami Police Department's terrorism squad and was monitoring the Cuban exiles.

FWIW.

James

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John,

Rafael Villaverde was also one of the original Op 40 guys and he went through Fort Benning in 1963 with the likes of Luis Posada Carriles, Jorge Mas Canosa, Felix Rodriguez and Jose Varona.

He was also allegedly mixed up with Frank Castro and other BOP veterans in a drug smuggling operation that was bringing cocaine out of Bolivia.

If you can track down a guy by the name of Diosdado C. Diaz, he might have some very interesting information on Villaverde. Diaz worked for the Miami Police Department's terrorism squad and was monitoring the Cuban exiles.

Thanks James. He seems to have been involved in some interesting operations. He was also in Laos with Ted Shackley, Thomas G. Clines, Carl E. Jenkins, David Sanchez Morales, Rafael Quintero, Felix I. Rodriguez and Edwin Wilson as part of Operation Phoenix.

According to Joel Bainerman (Crimes of a President) it was at this point that Shackley and his "Secret Team" became involved in the drug trade. They did this via General Vang Pao, the leader of the anti-communist forces in Laos. Vang Pao was a major figure in the opium trade in Laos. To help him Shackley used his CIA officials and assets to sabotage the competitors. Eventually Vang Pao had a monopoly over the heroin trade in Laos. In 1967 Shackley and Clines helped Vang Pao to obtain financial backing to form his own airline, Zieng Khouang Air Transport Company, to transport opium and heroin between Long Tieng and Vientiane.

Edwin Wilson later claimed that during the 1970s Villaverde Became a "hit man for the CIA in South America working under cover of Gulf & Western Company."

In 1976 Rafael Quintero was recruited by CIA agent, Edwin Wilson, to kill a Libyan dissident in Egypt. Quintero selected Raoul and Rafael Villaverde, to carry out the killing. Four days before the assassination of Orlando Letelier, the Villaverde brothers returned to the United States. On 21st September, the day that Letelier was killed, Wilson phoned Quintero in Miami to call of the operation.

Rafael Villaverde and his brother Jorge ran the Little Havana Activities Center. They were both arrested and charged with being part of a drug smuggling ring dubbed ''Operation Tick-Talks. The Villaverde brothers and 51 others were accused of running a multimillion-dollar cocaine smuggling operation. In an interview with Jim Hougan, CIA agent Frank Terpil claimed that Ted Shackley, Thomas G. Clines and Richard Secord were all involved in this drug operation.

Rafael Villaverde vanished on a fishing trip after bonding out after his arrest in 1982. His body has never been found. According to Edward Jay Epstein (Edwin Wilson: The CIA's Great Gatsby, Parade Magazine, 18th September, 1983): "Within a year, three witnesses in an investigation (Operation Tick-Talks) died. Rafael Villaverde, a Cuban refugee, disappeared at sea after his speedboat exploded off the coast of Florida; Kevin Mulcahy. an electronics expert. was found dead in an isolated motel in the Shenandoah Valley-apparently a victim of exposure; and Waldo Dubberstein, an archaeologist and expert on the Middle East, died of a shotgun blast to his head-a presumed suicide." The FBI later dropped its investigation into Operation Tick-Talks.

I think it is clear that the CIA agents involved in the assassination of JFK are also closely linked to the drug trade. This pre-dates 1963. Some like Paul Helliwell and E.Howard Hunt became part of this trade in South-East Asia when they were members of the OSS during the war.

You might find this link interesting:

http://www.cuban-exile.com/doc_051-075/doc0051.html

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Thanks for the link, John. Ricardo Morales is certainly an interesting character.

I think the Jenkins/Quintero/Villaverde connection and their subsequent association with David Morales is something that if exposed will reveal one of the paths to Dallas. In my opinion of course.

James

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He was also allegedly mixed up with Frank Castro and other BOP veterans in a drug smuggling operation that was bringing cocaine out of Bolivia.

According to Peter Dale Scott (Cocaine Politics) On Dec. 16, 1980, Cuban-American intelligence operative Ricardo Morales told a Florida prosecutor that he had become an informer in Operation Tick-Talks, a Miami-based investigation that implicated Frank Castro and other Bay of Pigs veterans in a conspiracy to import cocaine from the new military rulers of Bolivia.

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