January 18, 2006
New Film Resurrects Castro Connection

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

I despise conspiracy theories, but sometimes one has to surrender to the evidence. With abundant proof at hand, German documentary filmmaker Wilfried Huismann has attributed to Fidel Castro the responsibility for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963.

Shown for the first time on German public TV, the documentary, Rendezvous with Death: Castro and Kennedy, contributes several documents and some testimony that are newsworthy. But its most convincing element is a report from Mexican intelligence that states that in September 1963 Lee Harvey Oswald received in Mexico $6,500 from the Cuban secret services to help him carry out the planned crime.

Oscar Marino -- a former officer in Cuba's state security apparatus, now elderly and in exile -- corroborated the research done by the German filmmaker: ''He offered to kill Kennedy, and we used him,'' he told Huismann.

This is not the first time that this theory is put forward. Jackie Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, two of the people closest to the late president, believed it firmly but withheld their certainty to avoid provoking another incident with the Soviet Union. Had they revealed their well-founded suspicions at that time, and given the indignation that filled U.S. society, an invasion of Cuba to punish the guilty would have been inevitable. But the shaken White House did not wish another dangerous confrontation with the Kremlin similar to the one in October 1962 that brought the planet to the brink of nuclear war.

Bobby Kennedy, then U.S. attorney general, surely shared the same suspicion, but it wasn't to his advantage to accuse Castro. In the end, it seems that the Cuban dictator -- as he told the Brazilian ambassador in Havana a few days before the crime -- was responding in that manner to the assassination attempts organized by the president's brother, with the help of the Mafia.

Beyond this reprehensible concealment of information from the American people, strategies were developed in Washington and Havana to manipulate public opinion. In Washington, FBI investigators were braked and diverted from the right leads, especially those from Mexican sources; and the Warren Commission was created to persuade the world that president's death had been the isolated and solitary work of a peculiar, out-of-control madman.

In Havana, Fabián Escalante, the intelligence officer who traveled to Dallas on the day of Kennedy's assassination (to monitor the operation?) and today is a general and former chief of intelligence, elaborated the theory -- to cover his own tracks -- that other gunmen fired at Kennedy.

Escalante blamed Herminio Díaz, an exile with a record of violence and a former comrade of Castro in the Insurrectional Cuban Union in the late 1940s. Díaz was allegedly aided in the assassination by Eladio del Valle, another exile with troubling antecedents.

Naturally, by the time Escalante's alibi came to light, both Díaz and del Valle had been conveniently liquidated by the Cuban security services, so they couldn't defend themselves.

Left untied, however, is the string that leads to Jack Ruby, Oswald's murderer. Why would a person with the moral turpitude of Ruby, who was neither a fanatic nor a patriot but appeared to be a disciplined Mafioso, sacrifice himself and execute Oswald on national television?

To answer that, we must pose the classic police question: Who benefited directly from Oswald's death? Undoubtedly, the Mafiosi, Bobby Kennedy and Castro -- people who would have run into serious problems if their dark machinations had become public.

In any case, what's extraordinarily shameful is that:

• The Bush administration, in view of the new evidence brought forth by the Germans, has not reopened the investigation to give U.S. society the definitive truth -- something that has been covered up for so many years.

• Sen. Ted Kennedy and the rest of that powerful family haven't told everything they know, believe or suspect about the death of John, the most illustrious member of the family and the most admired U.S. president of the late 20th century.

2006 Firmas Press

Carlos Alberto Montaner

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