DOCUMENT  0027-1

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TAPE 1 of 8

7/9 DECEMBER 1995



Smith: Colleagues and guests who have come, not a long way, but who have come from Cuba to be here this morning. Senior Escalante, Carlos Lechuga, Senior Rodriguez, Mirta Nunez, who is one of the best interpreters in the business. A lovely person in addition to that. We really appreciate your coming and sharing information with us. I think that I just violated the rule...that is please, as we are speaking, that this is being interpreted. Moreover, while Mirta is a professional, Adam and Daria are not and interpreting services and equipment and all are very expensive and frankly we simply don't have the money to get into that so we helped Adam and Daria spend a few days in Nassau in return for helping us with interpreting services. This is a very informal gathering. If there are any problems with words, terminology that we get stuck on, Adam, Daria, Mirta or some of us are not certain of, we can simply stop for clarification. One of the problems in Rio was the interpreting was lousy. They were in a booth in the back and there was no way to stop and ask what the devil they meant. On the agenda: I will have, unfortunately the only one I have, doesn't have the change on it. We begin this morning talking about Jack Ruby in Havana. The change is after the break. At 11:00 we will come to Kennedy/Castro contacts in 1963 rather than as now scheduled Oswald/Mexico. We will talk about that at the second session tomorrow. So "Contacts" is the second session this morning and then after a lunch break we will talk about David Atlee Phillips and other CIA figures and I will have copies. Most of you have copies with you. Let me say in the beginning that I see this as the first meeting of the first step. We only have two days; a limited amount of time to go over a large amount of material. Obviously we won't get to everything.

This is a passion with everyone in the room and lots and lots of questions and our Cuban colleagues have for us. So we can't expect to cover everything in two days. There is no reason we can't get together six months from now or a year from now. Moreover, let me say Fabian Escalante and Carlos where in the Cuban government (?) and Arturo now in an Institute and I used to be a member of the State Department. But I certainly could not go back to the US Government and get documents. I have no way to do that and General Escalante can't simply produce documents without a process that he would have to go through. So people can't expect the Cubans to simply hand over all the documents on a given issue. That would be expecting too much. It is all right to record. But if we get to a point where the speakers are uncomfortable with being recorded, say so, and we will stop the recording. The only other thing--dinner. I think you've all signed up for tonight at the Ocean View--7:00 pm. I had thought at first doing a dinner right here amongst ourselves, toast ourselves, the more I thought about it, the less attractive it seemed. (more dinner talk) You've seen the brochures of Gulf Stream Airways. Stop in because Gulf Stream is one of the funders of the conference. Tom Tuper flies frequent charters to Havana. (More sponsor info). We are flying by the seat of our pants and putting a lot of things on American Express Corporate Card. Okay, we are beginning this morning with Jack Ruby. Should I read the questions from the U.S. side?  What about Ruby's trips?

?____________: You were going to do the introductions.

Smith: Right. I'm Wayne Smith.

Issacson: I'm Adam Issacson and I work with Wayne.

Each person says their name: Escalante, Mirta Nunez, Carlos Lechuga, Arturo Rodriguez, John Newman, Alan Rogers, Gaeton Fonzi, Anthony Summers, Jim Lesar, Jeremy Gunn, Russell Swickard, Gordon Winslow, Dick Russell, Noel Twyman, Peter Scott, Andy Kolis, John Judge, Peter Kornbluh, Ed Sherry.

Smith: Essentially Jack Ruby's trip to Havana and so forth.

Escalante: On behalf of myself and my colleagues, I would like to express my pleasure in being here. I would like to state that we are here in an unofficial capacity. I hope with the experience and research that you have done that this will be a very productive meeting. We have participated in a panorama of US/Cuban relations from many different angles. Carlos Lechuga who is a politician and a diplomat, Ms. Nunez, who will be translating today has held has held many positions including the National Assembly. Arturo and myself [Escalante] have participated as State Security. Since 1978, I have been involved in research and investigations that have been done in Cuba. I have participated in research projects regarding to the CIA's role in Cuba. A very sensitive study from 1965-66 AM/Lash. (Nunez: He was responsible for it). Participated in other important investigations. Arturo and I have just finished a book about the Kennedy assassination. For this book we did interviews with 157 Cubans. In selecting that names of the people to interview, we had to rely on much of the research that you have done. I have to say with all honesty that the materials that you produced were most helpful. The principle objective is to demonstrate that the plot against Kennedy was also part of the plot against Cuba. This has been our principle objective of research. During the process of our research, we found many facts and data that where useful in the process of clarifying the Kennedy assassination. However, here today we are not going to be able to clarify exactly who was the assassin or that the (?) president of the United States. If the Kennedy assassination had really been investigated, it could have been solved right away at that time in Dallas. This did not happen. Also I'll clarify another point which seems important. The Cuban government had two different occasions to study the Kennedy assassination. In 1964 at the request of the Warren Commission and in 1978 at the request of the Select Committee. However, Cuba has never done an investigation. One of the problems was to obtain information. [Nunez: The only thing that we did was to give them the information that they requested. We didn't do research. We just gave them the answers to the questions.] It wasn't until 1992-1993 that Arturo and myself began to research the case that we will be talking about. [Nunez: Personal interest.] Unfortunately we don't bring final conclusions. The information that we will offer today we hope will serve to further the debate and form hypotheses, form questions which we can go to our archives and try to answer them. [Nunez: The things that we have there might be new hints that can be discovered by you in your own area or us in our area.] Like Wayne said, we are entering a new road or path together. This said, I would like to start with a very important witness--Jose Verdacia Verdacia (?). He was the captain of immigration in 1959. He was in charge of a camp for undocumented aliens. At this camp Mr. Santos Trafficante was interned with other United States citizens who were involved in the gambling industry.

I can't declassify necessarily but I am going to read some of the documents on Santos Trafficante. June 9, 1959...This document is (?__________ in answer to your letter. I communicate to you that in this  department exists North American citizen Santos Trafficante. He is interned here and I request that this be reported to the General of the Police. There is another document, same day. Here it says as follows: I send this document to the assistant to the Commadante General. This is a copy of an order of police wanting to search for Santos Trafficante, Jr. This information should be sent to every place and try to arrest him. This document was sent by the Minister of Government to the head of the police department. In relation to the arrest of the very well known criminal, North American Santos Trafficante. In accordance to is stated in Penal Code 64 (?) should be sent to the immigration camp to have him registered and detained in such a place until he is sent to the ship and back to the United States as an undesirable alien. Everything (?) we want to congratulate on (?) finally capturing him in search for this person who was accused by Narco-bureau in Washington and Interpol.

Santos Trafficante was arrested in Cuba for two reasons: first they were detaining all the main operators of the gambling casino and also at the request of the Bureau of Narcotics of the United States. He was detained there until August 18 [1959]. He left once because of the marriage of his daughter. But at this moment it is not confirmed that the Interior Minister was an agent of the CIA. AM/LASH was the Vice Minister of the Interior. Cubela was his name and that's why he was given permission to go to the wedding of his daughter. He was under arrest but he was permitted to go to the wedding of his daughter because AM/LASH was the Vice Minister of the Interior.

Rogers: Was a date given for the wedding?

Escalante: No. Probably in the month of July, 1959. Santos Trafficante's lawyer was a Cuban--Rafael Garcia Bango. He was very closely related to Rolando Cubela. He worked in Cuba until 1963. It is pretty much confirmed that he worked for the CIA in Spain in 1963-64. In 1964 he was involved in the Cubela and Artime plot against Fidel Castro. This is significant because in 1959 Garcia Bango worked to obtain Trafficante's brief exit from this camp--which was absolutely prohibited--with Cubela. This demonstrates Cubela's link to Organized Crime since 1959.

?____________: Can we have a spelling of his last name?

Nunez: Bango. B A N G O.

Escalante: There is another element to this lineage of Cubela, Trafficante and Bango. Since the middle of the 1950's there is another person of Italian origin. He was recruited by the CIA in 1959. He had a jewelry store.  He was called Carlos Tepedino. His code name was AM/WIN. He was a good friend of Cubela in 1956. At the same time he was good friends with Santos Trafficante. And after 1960, he played an important role in the recruitment of Cubela by the CIA. He met with Cubela in Italy in 1960, June or July, and in February of 1961 he participated in the recruitment of Cubela in 1961 in Mexico along with a CIA agent. This is a description of this CIA agent. Very interesting. In taking into consideration Cubela's description about the CIA official/agent who had met in Mexico. The Inspector General's report in 1967 and according to this report the fact that the official  had met with Cubela in Havana when he was assigned and a similar contact was planned that could never have taken place, it is probably the identity of this official could be David Phillips. The description of this character: he was a tall man, approximately 40 years old, thin, with a receding hairline, shadows under his eyes, good manners, well dressed, sociable, and speaks fluent Spanish. That's enough. We are not sure if it is Phillips but it is a very similar description.

Newman: As a point of order, we are talking about a meeting in Feb. of '61 in Mexico?

Escalante: Yes.

Scott: And who's description is this? Cubela's?

Nunez: Cubela.

Winslow: And what did you say about his eyes?

Discussion: We were unsure about the word.

Winslow: Were they deep sockets?

Discussion [Nunez]: Circles under his eyes. He looked tired. His eyes were baggy.

?____________: (?) Meetings in March. Who's describing? Cubela?

Issacson: Cubela.

Escalante: I would like to say a little bit more about this episode. That relates Mafia, Trafficante, CIA to the plot against Castro. According to the 1967 CIA Inspector General's report, the end of March 1961, there was a plan for ex-filtration from Cuba. This was planned by the CIA. Two Cubans, Rolando Cubela and Juan Orta. In this moment he was head of the office of Prime Minister (?). He is compelled to deliver some poison pills. This information surprises us because Cubela came back to Cuba from Mexico before departure. How was it then that they could have just taken him from Cuba that very same month? That they also wanted to take him out with Santos Trafficante at the same time? This looks like something that needs to be investigated. Back to Jack Ruby. In 1978 the Select Committee Investigators interviewed Cuban Verdacia. He was head of the immigration camp. He was interviewed by Richard Pryor, Edwin Lopez, Robert Blakey. They met with members of the Cuban Interior Ministry and Foreign Ministry. Blakey, he asked many questions. Reading it afterward, many details standout. There is a rumor (?) that some questions must have had to been asked. It is a wonder that they just weren't asked. They did not ask them. This Cuban guy was scared, terrified. The interviewers, including a woman, wanted to take a picture to prove the interview happened. He said no. This shows up in the records. He was asked, "what are you worried about?" He said I knew Santos Trafficante. He had many relations with him. He was capable of killing him. This is a very important element. In this interview he actually remembered Santos Trafficante. He remembered him because he was a very important person and he had a lot of visitors in the camp. This is something that he could not forget. He also remembered a British journalist that was interned at the camp at the same time as Santos Trafficante, Wilson Hodgeson. But in the interview he did remember having met or known Jack Ruby. (?) He said he did not really remember the people that visited Santos Trafficante in those days. After the interview however, he said he didn't want any declarations with the staff. He did remember a friend, Lewis McWillie, and he was the operator of the Trafficante casino. He was the person that went with Jack Ruby to visit Trafficante. There is no evidence of this. No material proof. The Cuban that ran the camp, he died. It is impossible to get affidavits from them.

Fonzi: I need to get a clarification here. From what I understand during the House Select Committee interview with Verdacia, he did not remember Ruby.

Escalante: No.

Fonzi: But after the staff left, Verdacia remembered?

[Discussions about Lewis McWillie and Ruby]

Escalante: No. He did remember after the Select Committee Commission let that McWillie was there several times to meet Trafficante with someone else that he couldn't he was Jack Ruby.

Fonzi(?)______________: He never remembered Ruby but he did remember McWillie.

Nunez: He said that he was coming with someone else and he assumed that they were together in all the
gambling business...

Summers: Just a finer detail. Is this posted to the memory of Verdacia something which was recorded by the Cuban authorities at the time and written down or is this a verbal memory of somebody that Verdacia spoke to afterwards?

Escalante: Verdacia told this to somebody else and they told this to us.

Summers: Thank you.

Winslow: I have a question sir. Where was the camp located?

Escalante: In a place that's near Havana called Casa Blanca where there was eight big barracks.

Winslow: What was the immigration officer's name?

Escalante: Jose Verdacia Verdacia.

Winslow: Was there a man there by the name of Verdeja?

Escalante: No.

Winslow: Then Verdacia and Verdeja couldn't have gotten mixed up as far as names concerned?

Escalante: Could be. There was a whole group of police there. It might have been somebody else.

Scott: There are a lot of questions. We just want to be sure.

Escalante: I want to comment (?)_____________ . Really we don't know more about this visit. We have the entry card of Jack Ruby in Cuban immigration. There they are [shows file]. That proves he entered. As many of you that investigate Jack Ruby know he was ties to the Mafia.

Winslow: What is the date?

Escalante: August...and one in September.

Winslow: What year? 1959?

Nunez: If you want a photocopy we can do this.

?_____________: We have these in the House Committee files.

Escalante: He was in Cuba. He left from New Orleans the first time and the second time from Miami. What he did in Cuba, we don't know. There are many hypotheses about what he did in Cuba. For instance, did you know he was tied to McWillie? McWillie was related to Trafficante. We suspect that he was there to extract gambling money to bring back to the United States. However, we can't say anything for certainty because we don't know. Trafficante was expelled from Cuba once and for all in January 1960. Apparently, Jack Ruby never came back to Cuba. That's the basic information that we have.

?_____________: Is that quotes?

Discussion: [Note audible]

Smith: Apparently, they don't have any information that Ruby returned to Cuba after January.

Escalante: [Not interpreted]

Newman(?)______________: There are rumors that Trafficante returned to Cuba. That is why the question was asked.

Escalante: Trafficante was let out of camp in August of 1959.

Winslow: How did that process occur? How did he get out?

Escalnte: Let me explain. The Interior Ministry said that there did not exist any order for him to be arrested...from the government of the United States. He was free because the government of the United States said that there was no order for him to be arrested.

Smith: Although there had been an earlier...

Nunez: There had been an earlier...through the Interpol a call for him having been involved in narcotics.

Escalante: So they couldn't have detained illegally. Without that Interpol order he had to be freed.

Summers: Is this attitude of the U.S. reflected in documents, in other words, is there a record of the U.S. this guy let him go?

Escalante: We don't have any American documents but we have documents of our own that say so.

?____________: How about an Interpol document?

Escalante: Yes.

?____________: Who was the final person who made the decision...that signed the final order for Trafficante?

Escalante: The official of the Ministry of the Interior that was in charge of this case. Blanco is his last name. He was the one that signed the order to release Trafficante.

?____________: Is he the one to make the decision?

Nunez: He was at least the one to sign the document. It say Blanco. He is the head of public order in the Ministry of the Interior.

?____________: He had authority to do that? The ultimate authority? He didn't have to go any higher?

Escalante: No. That's what they do everywhere. If the embassy says you don't have to detain them you let them go. Trafficante was in Cuba until January 1960. This doesn't mean that he didn't leave Cuba sometime before.

Nunez: He may have gone out and back in during those days.

Escalante: He may not have left through official means through Immigration. If he had a yacht he may have just up and left. What is certain is that he left in 1960. Cuban authorities did create the expulsion of Santos Trafficante. At that time Santos Trafficante was staying in the Hotel Havana Riviera. Trafficante managed several casinos in Havana that had by that point been closed. He was tied to two Cubans who played a very important role in this--Senior Daniel Hernandez Ortega (?); he was a manager of Trafficante's in a gambling casino in Havana called Sans Souci. During 1960, Santos Trafficante also had a Cuban bodyguard. His name was Herminio Diaz Garcia. We will talk about later. ...Hernandez met and talked with Richard Cain in December of 1960 regarding a plot against the life of Fidel Castro.

Herminio Diaz is one of the people we feel was most definitely involved in the plot against Kennedy. Herminio Diaz died in Cuba in May 1966. He had a confrontation against Cuban forces when he tried to enter Havana illegally. But we are talking about other things now. Turning to Ruby, some information from the United States....(?) Cuba. That Ruby had a coffee business in Cuba in the 1950's. He also engaged in arms trafficking. He is very tied to former president of Cuba Carlos Prio. This is also a CIA agent, very well known, Frank Sturgis. There is a U.S. version of this story that says a Cuban gave a letter to Ruby asking him to sell weapons to Cubans in 1959. We know very little about this incident at this moment. However, we found an ex-officer of our Cuban army who knew of an attempt to sell jeeps on behalf of an American citizen whose name he cannot remember, more or less the same time Ruby was in Havana. That's all we know about this. We would like to know if you guys know anything about this.

Smith: Let's take that as a point of departure because they have sent out some questions, essentially what information... we do we have linking Ruby to Trafficante, Giancana, Roselli; do we have documents establishing such a link and what evidence we may have on this Ruby involvement to sell arms in which others have written about. Peter, why don't we go to you.

Scott: In 1977, I made a film about the Kennedy assassination with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation--CBC. We explored the jeep story, we had heard the same story. We interviewed people in Chicago who were involved in the import/export fields with Cuba . We obtained a partial corroboration with someone who said that yes he saw Ruby had been involved in such a deal. He said this on film but because it was not precise we did not use it. I would like to come back to the visit of the presence of Trafficante in this camp which the House Select Committee calls that an accurate name?

Escalante: Yes.

Scott: Because McWillie was interviewed by the House Committee and confirmed that he had gone out and that maybe Ruby had come with him. But he said that when he went to the camp he saw many people: Jake Lansky, Dino Cellini...Dino Cellini is confirmed involved in the CIA/Mafia plots against Castro and the last person that he talked to...seeing, the primary person was somebody he called Guiseppe and later clarified as Guiseppe de Giorgio. Guiseppe de Giorgio was the major courier in the narco-traffic of the time, and possibly I would say more to you about this in private because it becomes very complicated, that de Giorgio had become involved in the planting of stolen securities. They stole securities from a Canadian bank and they had to be deposited in a Swiss bank. I suspect that Ruby knew about this particular group because a lawyer involved called Louis Knutner in Chicago who definitely could have known Ruby quite well. And so a question to you, have you ever looked at this Guiseppe de Giorgio recently who an alias (?) Conevese?

Escalante: There is no formal registry of information about this man. Apparently the registers were destroyed. These registers were apparently destroyed and I say apparently I want to explain why. About the registers. Not everybody that came in was registered by formal process. In 1961 just after the Bay of Pigs invasion, he was preparing himself for a very large war. At this time as we prepared for war the archives were moved around. They changed their location many times. They destroyed the archives that were non-essential. They saved the things that were most important in order to have them at hand rather than things that were not (?). These documents were kept in boxes and in the following years a lot of these boxes were not of interest or truly necessary were not taken out. Many are still hidden and unopened. Over time these documents have deteriorated, humidity, just plain time, they have broken down and made them unreadable. When we have the resources, which we don't have now unfortunately, we will go over this. Maybe then a few others will emerge but right now there is nothing that will happen. That's why I can't respond to your question.

Summers: To what extent what you've said this morning is reflected in documents or reports or research materials that we can have access to. I don't mean the Ruby immigration records that we have seen already. Is there any papers that we can study?

Escalante: The ones I have mentioned...

Summers: I'm sorry. What I mean is you have talked to us very interestingly for some time about the conversations...something that Verdacia Verdacia had said so and so and the information with the various names of the people that you have gathered together. Has this been set down on paper anywhere?

Escalante: They do exist but we do not have them available. Those are government documents. I have records but I cannot open the files.

Summers: SO they are still retained?

Escalante: Yes.

Nunez: I think that it is worth to say here that to help understand about documents and things like that we don't have a document release system. It doesn't exits in Cuba. Nobody has taken the position to declassify such and such a document. So it is very difficult to get some documents from the files of the government. It doesn't exist in the system.

Smith: Can I clarify something for all of us? Someone mentioned to me six or seven months ago, one of the American researchers, that documents would be coming available because they were released in Cuba five years, seven years ago, but I said at the time that I didn't think that was the case and you're confirming it that there is no system of declassification--certain documents in five years, certain documents in ten. There is no such system.

Summers: I have one more thing to say and then I'll keep quiet. I was interested very early in your address when I thought I understood you to say that you had provided information--that Cuba had provided information--not only to the House Assassination Committee but also to the Warren commission in 1964. I understood that also by something that was said casually to me yesterday. I know of no evidence in Warren Commission publications.

?____________: In the immigration. In the visa application.

Summers: Yes, except for the Ruby thing.

?____________: The Oswald visit to the embassy.

Summers: There was some paper work on that?

?____________: Yes. Visa application...

Escalante: There are various documents. Including documents that were published and given to the Warren Commission. They could do what they wanted to.

Nunez: We could give them to you if you need them.

Summers: I was told recently by a senior Commission lawyer only that during his work he had made a mission that is still secret, he said's not clear where he went, but I understand from one of his colleagues that he may have gone to met a senior Cuban official during his work for the Warren Commission. Do you know of any such contact?

Escalante: No. The only contact we had with the Warren Commission was through the Swiss Embassy. Including a letter that came from the State Department thanking them [Cuba] for their cooperation and helping clarify the question of Ruby in Mexico.

Winslow: This declassification of documents...I have two things I want to ask you about. How did Claudia [Furiati] get those documents released for her book? And the second thing is, right after the three hour documentary that was in November of '94 a French newspaper reported a high Cuban official as saying that all the Kennedy materials are open and that anybody that wants to look at them can come and see them. Do you have any comments on that?

Escalante: Yes, I have a few. First thing, that high Cuban official that you are speaking of--you are speaking to him [Fidel Castro]. [Laughter] Any questions you have you should ask him. I know he was Paris Match, the French magazine. I don't know what documents that he was referring to. Really, you will have to ask him. I don't know which documents the Cuban government declassified.

Winslow: I had somebody go to the Ministry of Interior, a Cuban national and they inquired about photocopying these things and they were told that there was a declassification process that they [the records] had to go through and it had not been started yet, it was not implemented and it would take two to five years to get it. Is this declassification process...I'm using that because you said...I think you said there was none, but, would this be taken care of under the Ministry of Interior?

Escalante: In the first place, I don't have as much information as you. I know that there was a will on the part of the Cuban government in this sense. But in the current circumstances it is not a real priority of the Cuban government. Right now the Cuban government is involved in the questions of its own survival. And such an issue as this would have to be presented before the National Assembly Conference. As far as I know, this certainly has not been presented. I don't even know if this process has begun or set in motion.

Gunn: When President Castro met with the HSCA on assassinations he generously agreed to give the HSCA any records that Cuba had related to the issues that they were concerned in and he made no limitations on the willingness to supply records. My question is: what would be the best way to continue or to renew that offer that he made in 1978?

Escalante: I unfortunately don't know how to do this. There might be complications. Fidel Castro talked to members of the Select Committee. The only thing we did was answer the questions that had been asked of Cuba. These documents were declassified and handed over. And as your (?)____________ indeed know I needed more than that at the time. I will clarify in a little while. I directed the Cuban part of this investigation. I am permitted to answer any questions and make the interviews go more smoothly. (?_____________ in was until 1992-1993 that we started a real investigation on our own. It was easy for me to do then. I had access to these documents [Nunez: Had] In addition to that I had information from your own research which allowed me to look in other directions from which the representatives from the Select Committee never mentioned. For instance, Fidel Castro no doubt was (?__________ remember Select Committee mentioned [mumbled]

?____________: Follow up to that As far as I understood the Cuban government did give to the HSCA what the HSCA asked for. The question would be in light of additional research both by people here and by people in Cuba. Is there a way that previous offer could be renewed and how would be the best way to go about that?

Escalante: As a result of this meeting that it one of the requests that we would like to make and I think it's possible. It's not my decision. I'm not going to commit myself on this. But based upon Fidel Castor's previous speaking on this and the responses in the past, it certainly is possible.

Summers: Senior Lechuga was not in the room when I asked my questions about possible high level contacts between the Warren Commission and the Cuban government during this investigation. Now that he is here I wonder if I could ask you sir as a senior diplomat at that time, were you aware of any mission by or human contact by a senior Warren Commission person with senior Cuban government.

Lechuga: No.

?____________: After President Kennedy's assassination wouldn't the Soviet government and Cuba be exchanging all their previous assassination information on Oswald?

Escalante: One moment. Yes. And information from the Soviet Security Service. From the '70's the era of the Select no the Warren Commission 19060's in this they sent the file that had to do with Oswald. The information about what Oswald was doing while in the Soviet Union. I can read it to you when we get to that point. But I'm not going to talk about that now in order to stay with the theme of the current discussion.

Nunez: We will do that when we are all caught up.

Scott: You say that the person responsible for releasing Trafficante was Cesar Blanco?

Escalante: Yes.

Scott: Is this the same Cesar Blanco who is the Cesar Blanco who is from Teres (?)_____________ who immigrated to the States and became a leader in the counter-revolution there?

Escalante: No.

Scott: Is it Cesar Blanco Gutierrez?

Escalante: I tried to verify that but couldn't get it.

Scott: It would be very interesting. This man became [part] of the 30th of November Movement.

Escalante: Cesar Blanco did sign that order and the order did go...

Scott: I would like to pursue this matter.

Escalante: We'll try to do that.

Winslow: Fabian, I don't know if you overlooked it or not but the first part of my question before: how did Claudia get the documents if there is no process set up?

Escalante: We are talking about Jack Ruby?

Winslow: No, I'm talking about the documents that she published in her book that were Cuban documents.

Nunez: Because she had an authorization from the Cuban government.

Winslow: Oh. How do we get one of those? [Laughter]

Escalante/Nunez: She wrote a letter to Castro.

Winslow: Who? To Fidel?

Escalante: No to me. She didn't just talk to me she talked to different people.

Winslow: Yeah, I understand that but I'm wondering how did she get the authority? What department?  He doesn't know.

Escalante: She wrote a letter to the Cuban government.

Winslow: To the who?

Nunez: To the government.

Escalante: And they just authorized it.

[However it was, Escalante who  authenticated  the documents]

Winslow: Ok... [Laughter]

Smith: I would imagine Claudia went first to the Cuban embassy in Brazil and talked with them and made an approach to the embassy in Brazil. Simple as that.

Nunez: I think she made several approaches.

?____________: Didn't I read somewhere that NSA has created some kind of bridge across to another information center in Cuba?

?____________: Yes, on the Bay of Pigs documents.

?____________: That's right. Just asking.

?____________: Can that channel be expanded? Can a similar channel be created?

Smith: Let's talk about that later on among ourselves. Look...

?____________: Wayne, can I just ask one...this seems like the most obvious question. If Mr. Escalante is probably still a friend of Castro, why doesn't he just ask Castro to release the documents? I mean we don't need all these committees to release this, Castro usually does what he likes.

Escalante: That's what we are trying to do. I would say should remain near here (?). I will reiterate this idea. Cuban today, the Cuban government, this is just not a priority. However, documents are declassified. Telling about a specific event for instance the Cuban Missile Crisis. At the last meeting in Havana they discussed this Cuban Missile Crisis...They declassified a great volume of documents. Right now they are going through a similar process for the Bay of Pigs. From this we can perhaps move on to declassify documents regarding this. In respect, the Kennedy assassination should be the same thing. We are going to propose that this information be declassified.

Smith: Good. I suggest that it behooves us that we make an overture along those lines and perhaps the review board. Why don't we discuss that among ourselves and see how we should proceed. Peter Kornbluh was involved with the Missile Crisis conference process and he is with the Bay of Pigs process and the National Security Archives and thus and I don't see why we don't do the same thing. Why don't we have a crew go to them and ask. We'll have further discussions and try to provide them with information and ask for declassification of documents as we go along. The same way we did with the Missile Crisis process. So the ball is our court.  We've come to 11:15. We could go on talking about Ruby and issues that we've been discussing for the past hour or so but will you prefer. But I think we should take a very short break and then turn to "Contacts." We haven't exhausted the subject by any means. We'll have other opportunities. If someone has questions perhaps we can put them to our Cuban guests over coffee in the hallway. Why don't we take a very quick break and talk about the "Contacts".


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