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Rolando Cubela

John Simkin

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We have had several threads on this subject but I think it deserves its own thread.

Rolando Cubela was born in Cuba. He trained as a doctor but as a student he became very involved in politics. A strong opponent of Fulgencio Batista, Cubela joined the Directo Revolucionario. In 1956 he assassinated Antonio Blanci Rico, the head of Batista's security forces.

Cubela joined the rebellion led by Fidel Castro and was involved in capturing the Presidential Palace in Havana. At first, Cubela and the Directo Revolucionario refused to surrender the building to Che Guevara but eventually it was turned over to the new revolutionary government.

Cubela was given the highest rank in the Cuban Army. Later he became an official in Castro's government and was leader of Cuba's International Federation of Students.

In March 1961 Cubela approached the Central Intelligence Agency about defecting to the United States. He was persuaded to work for them as an uncover agent in Cuba. He was given the code name AM/LASH and reported to JM/WAVE. However, Joseph Langosch, of the Special Affairs Staff, suspected that Cubela was a "dangle" (a double agent recruited by Castro to penetrate the American plots against him". This idea was reinforced when Cubela refused to take a lie-detector test.

In September, 1963, Cubela had a meeting with the CIA in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was suggested that Cubela should assassinate Fidel Castro. According to a CIA report Cubela asked for a meeting with Robert Kennedy: "for assurances of U.S. moral support for any activity Cubela under took in Cuba." This was not possible but the Chief of the Cuban Task Force, agreed to meet Cubela. Ted Shackley was opposed to the idea as he was now convinced that Cubela was a double-agent.

FitzGerald and Nestor Sanchez met Cubela met in Paris on 29th October, 1963. Cubela requested a "high-powered, silenced rifle with an effective range of hundreds of thousands of yards" in order to kill Fidel Castro. The CIA refused and instead insisted on Cubela used poison. On 22nd November, 1963, FitzGerald handed over a pen/syringe. He was told to use Black Leaf 40 (a deadly poison) to kill Castro. As Cubela was leaving the meeting, he was informed that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.

Cubela was now put in touch with Manuel Artime. They met for the first time on 27th December, 1964. At the Madrid meeting Cubela again asked for a FAL rifle and silencer. A CIA report suggests that a "Belgian FAL rifle with silencer" was given to Cubela on 11th February, 1965.

On 23rd June, 1965, the CIA sent out a cable to all stations directing termination of all contact with Cubela and his associates. It stated that there was "convincing proof that entire AMLASH group insecure and that further contact with key members of group constitutes menace to CIA operations against Cuba as well as to the security of CIA staff personnel in western Europe." The CIA had been informed that one of Cubela's associates was having secret meetings with Cuba intelligence.

Eladio del Valle had also told the CIA that Cubela was secretly in league with Santo Trafficante. It is claimed that Desmond FitzGerald came to the conclusion that Trafficante was feeding back information to Fidel Castro in the hope of recovering his gambling dynasty.

Cubela and Major Ramon Guin were arrested by the Cuban security police on 1st March, 1966. The trial of Cubela took place on 8th March. It was claimed that Cubela and his associates confessed to having planned the assassination of Fidel Castro.

The chief witness was Juan Feliafel. A member of Cuban intelligence he had been instructed in 1963 to go to Miami, pose as an exile, and infiltrate the anti-Castro movement. This was successful and he was sent on seventeen missions to Cuba. On the eighteenth mission Feliafel stayed in Cuba and provided evidence about Cubela's plans to assassinate Castro. Cubela was sentenced to death but this was never carried out. It was reported that Fidel Castro used to send books to Cubela while he was in prison.

Rolando Cubela was eventually allowed to leave Cuba and now lives in Spain.


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Extract from the article by Dick Russell, JFK and the Cuban Connection (March, 1996):


In September 1963, just two months before the assassination, Cuban UN Ambassador Lechuga was contacted by one of Kennedy's trusted UN delegates, William Attwood. "He told me this was a private interview," Lechuga recalls. "We spoke on three occasions, trying to break the ice between our countries. Attwood said we should begin a dialogue. He said the idea came from Kennedy, but that we should keep the conversations secret because if the Republicans found out there would be a huge scandal in Congress."

Lechuga says he was surprised by the American approach, because exile raids and efforts to destabilize Cuba were continuing. Adds Escalante: "There was a double track happening. One path was continued sabotage and isolation of Cuba, to force us to sit down at the negotiating table under very disadvantageous conditions. So the Cuban government took its time to deeply study Attwood's proposal. In our view, one strategy was coming from the Administration and another from the CIA, the exiles and the Mafia." The Cubans are convinced that word about the secret talks leaked out, and sparked a conspiracy to kill the American President and invade Cuba.

In September 1963, Rolando Cubela travelled to Brazil to meet with CIA contacts about killing Castro. Simultaneously, an American journalist, Daniel Harker, interviewed Castro at a gathering inside Havana's Brazilian Embassy. Harker's article quoted Castro saying: "United States leaders should think that if they assist in terrorist plans to eliminate Cuban leaders, they themselves will not be safe." The story, widely disseminated in the US press, would be used by right-wing elements as evidence that Cuba was behind the assassination.

But Escalante says the article was a distortion. He says what Castro really stated was: "American leaders should be careful because [the anti-Castro operations] were something nobody could control." He was not threatening JFK, but warning him.

In late September that year, Oswald left New Orleans for Mexico City. On the way, he showed up in Dallas at the door of Cuban exile Silvia Odio, in the company of two Latins who identified themselves as "Angel" and "Leopoldo," who told Odio they were soliciting funds for the Revolutionary Junta (JURE), Odio's exile organization. After the visit, according to Odio, "Leopoldo" telephoned her and described their US companion as "kind of loco. He could go either way. He could do anything - like getting underground in Cuba, like killing Castro. He says we should have shot President Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs."

The Cuban hypothesis is that the Odio incident had a dual design. JURE was run by Manuel Ray, a moderate exile leader opposed by the CIA but in close touch with the Kennedy Administration. But the Cubans say "Angel" and "Leopoldo" were agents from the right-wing exile group Revolutionary Student Directorate (DRE), which operated under the CIA's direction. It was the DRE's propagandists who actively sought to tie Oswald to Cuba immediately after the assassination. Escalante offered a possible identification of "Angel" as DRE leader Isidro Borja, who closely resembled a man seen standing behind Oswald in a famous photo, helping him pass out "Fair Play for Cuba" leaflets in New Orleans.

Then on September 27, 1963, Oswald showed up three times at the Cuban consulate in Mexico City, seeking an immediate visa to visit the island. He also visited the Soviet embassy on the same day. (Some researchers believe this could have been an imposter "Oswald", but the Cubans say it was the real Oswald.) Oswald's request was turned down. He angrily stormed out, and shortly returned to Dallas. Says Escalante: "We believe Oswald was acting according to plan - to travel to Cuba for a few days, in order to appear as a Cuban agent after the assassination. Escalante further claims that when that plan failed, the CIA's David Phillips arranged to have letters addressed to Oswald from Havana. On the final day of the 1995 Nassau conference, a slide-show depicted five letters addressed to Oswald from Cuba; two dated before the assassination, three immediately after. One of these letters, intercepted by Cuban authorities, was dated November 14, 1963 and addressed to "Lee Harvey Oswald, Royalton Hotel, Miami" (where Oswald never, in fact, stayed). It was signed "Jorge". According to Arturo Rodriguez, "The text was of a conspiratorial character. It was written on the same kind of typewriter as the two others, which the FBI has concluded were composed on the same machine. We think all these letters were written by the same person--as part of a plan to blame our country for the assassination."

Felipe Vidal Santiago told Cuban intelligence that on the weekend before the assassination, he was invited to a meeting in Dallas by the CIA's Colonel William Bishop. "It was supposed to be a meeting with a few wealthy people to talk about financing anti-Castro operations," says Escalante. Bishop left on his own "for interviews" numerous times during their stay in Dallas. After approximately four days they returned to Miami.

Not long before his death in 1993, Col. Bishop confirmed to this writer that he had knowledge of the JFK plot. The Cubans indicate that the Vidal-Bishop Dallas trip concerned plans for re-taking the island once Castro's people had been implicated in the assassination. Escalante surmises: "Oswald was an intelligence agent of the US-CIA, FBI, military, or all of these, we don't know. He was manipulated, told he was penetrating a group of Cuban agents that wanted to kill Kennedy. But from the very beginning, he was to be the element to blame Cuba."

"Not less than 15 persons took part in the assassination," Escalante theorizes. "At the same time, knowing a little about CIA operations, we see how they used the principle of decentralized operations - independent parties with a specific role, to guarantee compartmentalization and to keep it simple."

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Namebase entry for Rolando Cubela:


Cuba 1956-1978 France 1963

Anson,R. They've Killed the President! 1975 (256)

Blumenthal,S. Yazijian,H. Government by Gunplay. 1976 (119)

CIA. Report on Plots to Assassinate Fidel Castro 1967-04-25 (78-111)

Corn,D. Blond Ghost. 1994 (105-6, 113, 116)

DiEugenio,J. Destiny Betrayed. 1992 (235-6)

Duffy,J. Ricci,V. The Assassination of John F. Kennedy. 1992 (139-40)

Furiati,C. ZR Rifle. 1994 (60-4, 66, 117-8, 148)

Garwood,D. Under Cover. 1985 (166-8)

Giancana,S.& C. Double Cross. 1992 (300)

Groden,R. Livingstone,H. High Treason. 1990 (288, 321-2)

Hersh,S. The Dark Side of Camelot. 1997 (440, 447-8)

Hinckle,W. Turner,W. The Fish is Red. 1981 (191-3, 219, 239-41, 297)

Hougan,J. Secret Agenda. 1984 (49)

Lasky,V. It Didn't Start With Watergate. 1978 (100-1)

Maheu,R. Next to Hughes. 1993 (161)

Marrs,J. Crossfire. 1990 (187)

Martin,D. Wilderness of Mirrors. 1981 (151)

Minnick,W. Spies and Provocateurs. 1992 (47)

Morrow,R. First Hand Knowledge. 1992 (221-2, 230-2, 253)

NIS (Havana). The CIA's War Against Cuba. 1988 (76)

Powers,T. The Man Who Kept the Secrets. 1981 (191-2)

Ridenour,R. Back Fire. 1991 (87)

Riebling,M. Wedge. 1994 (168-71, 238)

Russell,D. The Man Who Knew Too Much. 1992 (432-6, 491-2, 534-6)

Schorr,D. Clearing the Air. 1978 (166-70, 311)

Scott,P.D. Crime and Coverup. 1977 (3, 10, 17)

Scott,P.D. Deep Politics. 1993 (196)

Scott,P.D... The Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond. 1976 (362-3, 384-5)

Summers,A. Conspiracy. 1981 (349-51, 436)

Syrokomsky,V. International Terrorism and the CIA. 1983 (91)

Thomas,E. The Very Best Men. 1996 (299-303, 305-7, 310, 331)

Trento,J. The Secret History of the CIA. 2001 (212-3, 251-2, 262, 268)

Turner,W. Rearview Mirror. 2001 (66, 147-8, 215-6)

Vankin,J. Whalen,J. The 60 Greatest Conspiracies. 1998 (18-9)

Volkman,E. Baggett,B. Secret Intelligence. 1989 (134)

Weissman,S. Big Brother and the Holding Company. 1974 (113)

West,N. Games of Intelligence. 1990 (39)

Wise,D. The American Police State. 1978 (406)

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