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TRANSCRIPT of PROCEEDINGS
CUBAN OFFICIALS and JFK HISTORIANS
TAPE 5 of 8
NASSAU BEACH HOTEL
7/9 DECEMBER 1995
NASSAU TAPE #5
Tape picks up in the middle of a sentence
Smith: .....did his release have anything to do with the assassination?
Scott: Is it true that Cuesta was captured first in 1966? Was there a second time?
Escalante: He was in prison the whole time.
Other: On the same raid with Diaz, right?
Scott: He was in prison in 1978 and only gave the interview in `78?
Escalante: No. The file is this high. (holds hand up)
Scott: When is he start talking to you?
Escalante: He started talking from the very beginning. He talked about many things. About ...for
example we know that M________________ was behind the 66 operation. His mission was to infiltrate himself. Organize, according to Cuesta. There were exile pl
Question: When I asked Antonio Veciana about Cuesta, he said he also had been acquainted with
Maurice Bishop. When I asked about Leopoldo and Angel, he suddenly changed the conversation and
asked if I knew what became of Cuesta. He said he was with se
Escalante: Some of the groups he worked with would explain all of the things he was involved with.
His relationships with others......some of the names I cannot recall. Afterwards he spoke about his
relationship with Veciana, all of this.
Question: But he didn't talk about this document? It comes later on.
Scott: I think this is very important. Sum up what you have just said in the various things that Cuesta
has told you.
Escalante: Early 1978, he speaks about this in 1978.
Scott: For 12 years he said nothing.
Escalante: We didn't ask him. He didn't speak about this. I can tell you this from my own experience
at being arrested in the Batista regime. People arrested might speak about something that is well
know by the person who is questioning him. But there are
y dangerous for my security. But I want to tell you this information. But he didn't want to go deeper
than he would tell. I cannot tell you information that I don't want to be questioned about.
Question: So he never said anything about Oswald?
Question: So why was he released?
Escalante: In 1978, a group of exiles from the leftist side, already negotiated the release of several
prisoners and he was one of them.
Question: So he only said that Eladio del Valle and Castillo were in involved in the assassination?
Escalante: Yes and he did not want to say any more.
Scott: Was anyone else picked up at the time?
Escalante: Of course. There were two others and they were part of a team and they were released.
They have declarations but none of them speak about this.
Question: Did you get the idea that Cuesta knew more than he said?
Escalante: Yes, we think he did.
Escalante: He died. He was a member of a group. He was with _______ in the 50's. With Hernandez.
He killed the President of Costa Rica. He was arrested and exiled to Mexico. He killed several
people. A Cuban consulate in Mexico. Hernandez - he killed h
Winslow: Did you say Penio Fernandez?
Escalante: Fernando Ortega. Manager at Sans Souci in Havana. The biggest casino in Havana.
Winslow: Do you know anything about the death of del Valle.
Escalante: Only what was published.
Winslow: Did Cuban intelligence have anything to do with this killing?
Escalante: We really didn't know, at least I didn't. In those days, I had nothing to do with the head of
these services when Eladio del Valle was killed.
Winslow: How was Santiago Ray Perna fit in?
Escalante: That was the same group.
Escalante: No. Who is she? Speak about her?
Winslow: Irma Collazo and Theodoseo Bahadue.
Winslow: They were both indicted for the death of Del Valle. He was dropped from the case for lack
of evidence and she fled to the Dominican Republic via Chicago. And I just got this the other day,
dated 14th of November 1977 and it says that Perna w............................
Escalante: Where is this from?
Winslow: From Lt Charles Black, Supr of Criminal Intelligence, Dade County Police.
Question: Richard Nagell says than in Jan 1963 when he was in Miami, he checked out relationships
between Sergio Arcacha Smith and Eladio del Valle. Do you have any information?
Escalante: No we don't have any. The Prio government - he was consulate at one time.
Scott: I'd like to come back to President Kennedy.
Question: We'd like to finish this first. The consulate.
Escalante: He did the same in New Orleans later on for the Prio group. He was the President of the
Cuban Revolutionary Council there.
Scott: Yesterday you were talking about _______________________ For me this is very important.
You said it was responsible for sabotage in 1963. I interviewed ___________________ for many hours
and would like to exchange information on this.
The HSCA characterized _______________ as a Mafia organization. But this seemed unlikely to me.
Both of them , I seem to believe that Sierra's story that he thought he was working for Robert
Kennedy based on various documentation in Schlesinger's b
Assuming that Sierra was sincere to take all these people , a disposition plan. You had Alpha 66 which
had made many problems for Pres Kennedy in 1963 - specifically between the US and the Soviet
Union because they were attacking Soviet ships. And
Guiterrez, the number 2 man in the junta (Chicago/Miami junta).
Escalante: Guiterrez was the man of this organization but was not related to the terrorists. And that
Robert Kennedy was made to believe that they were involved. Overnight, with all these steps were
given on the plot to kill Kennedy in April and May 1963, the
Scott: I agree that these groups were financed by the junta were very suspicious groups. Americans
(Minutemen) were involved too? What were they doing together? He says he cannot remember this.
The important thing for me is that the purpose was to m
Escalante: What is the relationship? It is not clear.
Scott: Sierra claims that he thought he was working for the US government even though the person
did not identify it. Met with two people with Sierra and all felt it was official - William Browder office.
A year earlier, the first connection with the
Escalante: Can you show him a photograph of him?
Scott: No - I'm not like you , I don't have those resources. I interviewed in 1978 or 1979 and he was
about 78 then, so I doubt he is still alive.
Winslow: Cuesta died.
Escalante: We can send you a photo of him.
Scott: I have many pages of notes. As you may know, H. Johnson said that on the day of the
assassination, there was a phone call in which the words were said: "One of your boys did it." Others
here know the details better than myself. meaning one of _
Maybe later you can answer.
Escalante: I am interested in knowing research and the reasons why the important role played by the
Cuban exiles at this time.
M. LaFontaine: We are going to give to you, two chapters of our book that will help to explain some
of the documentation from the CIA, FBI and Dallas Police files. I think it will explain exactly who
those Cubans were and what they were doing in Dalla
Escalante: Does anyone else have any information about this?
Question I will be here for a few days after the conference to hear anything else.
M. LaFontaine: In a story for the Washington Post, we explain how we came to know about this arms
trafficking in Dallas. The genesis of this story is that LHO spoke about guns in an arrest that had
been made 5 days before the assassination. He identified
Question: Three Cubans and the cover story for their murder or their deaths, for intelligence work.
Other details, about the meeting at the Petroleum Club. The Warren Commission report said that
Forest Sorrels of the FBI changed the route of the motor
Escalante: (Shaking his head at this comment)
Question: For some Watergate interest in connection to exiles. I was given access to a new document
recently - don't think it has been public. It was sealed by the court. At the request of Bernard Barker
and Martinez. Their list of potential witnesses.... Artime, Prio, Ramon Gonzalez, Louis H. Vidana,
Jose Arriola, Pablo Gomez, Oscar Fernandez, Jamie Borela, Hiram Gonzalez.
Martinez and Barker requested that these names be sealed. That's all I know about this document.
Their own potential witnesses.
Winslow: Is this in the archives?
Judge: Yes but it is not public yet. It is part of the ongoing litigation between Liddy and John Dean.
B R E A K
Smith: You've read most of our theories, what about ZR Rifle?
Escalante: The first thing I would like to clear up is that it is theory. I don't even know the theory. It is
government theory. We are the ones who have investigated it. Our object has been to investigate the
Cubans being blamed for this. We did not have, I am not sure what the whole agenda was, or all of the
plots proposed to Cuba but I think one of the agenda was this stuff. Because at this time, Sept, Oct,
Nov, these are _____________. I will remind you that in these operations, there was the est
CIA organized groups of special missions that were commanded by Mombises, (Cuban independence
fighters in the war against Spain). They were a group of about 100 men that were under the direction
of military, director of the Air Force during that ti
Only in the month of May, these groups achieved 11 operations of bombing alone. So we can say that
there were two operations that were happening at the same time. There were various attempts on
Castro at the time. There were articles and an inter
Question Was this an informant or Louis?
Escalante: The informant, because Louis was dead. Another was organized at the baseball stadium in
Havana. This was the last day of the national games. Louis ordered these games so a plan was made
and then it was canceled. It was a big commando. Fortunate
The third project was Tony ________ group, but there was also someone you know Joachim
________________. To be carried on by Cubans Mario S_______________ to shoot Fidel on the 26th
July meeting of the revolutionary council. The guns came to the We
So, during the first semester of 1963, there were many plans to destroy, to make trouble in our
country. There was a big psychological campaign to turn people, in Cuba, Costa Rica and Santo
Domingo. We realized and came to know that there were a bu
LaFontaines: All of the reports say that Oswald visited him for the first time in August. What is your
source that he visited him in May?
Escalante: HSCA - they told us. It was in May. That Oswald offered his services. But I may be wrong
about the date. He tried then to organize the FPCC. In those days, no embassy. He wrote to the
president of FPCC asking for the organization of a delegati
Oswald started to be seen with other Cubans. In a Committee that never existed, he was the only
member. Don't know the reason to go to Mexico except to go to Cuba. We do believe that the person
at the embassy was LHO and we will talk about it this
In New Orleans, LHO's tracks to Mexico and also to Dallas with Maurice Bishop are the same as
others. The object was making him seem like a Castro agent. Especially trying to travel to Cuba.
Discussion with Oswald at the consulate was for this too
But we have an idea. Imagine that LHO, we have nothing written of what he spoke. Someone
destroyed that - that in any police organization would arrest this man and not interrogate him. Those
notes were destroyed on purpose. That is why we think,
We think that when the information filtered out, when the information about the administration was
about to negotiate with Cuba, when the administration took actions against these exile groups,
apparently out of CIA control, these people were the pe
There are many different translations but it is said that it was never asked for. The CIA sent him a
gun. Cubela had a meeting on October 29. What they spoke about there was as Cuba as a country and
a coup against Castro. Cubela wanted to come back..
The gun, the weapon had a __________...... So we must think that he was to be used in a public act, for
Cubela to be there at the official program. An official day in Cuba is December the 7th. And I
understand that these forces in Central America
Blame Cuba for the murder
Provoke campaigns against Cuba
Carry out a military force against Cuba
Participation of American forces against Cuba.
Smith: Ironic that this backfires so obviously against the plans of the conspirators because as we see
the statements of LHO as communist agent and possibly Cuba and Soviet Union connection, that
Lyndon Johnson becomes very concerned. He doesn't want WWI
__________?: You can't rule that out.
Smith: I know. I wouldn't put anything past LBJ. But it is one of the ironies.
_________? Also, it is the motive LBJ used to press Warren into service - the threat of WWIII.
Smith: It is also the motive of taking over from a very attractive president and the last thing he wants
is the country divided over the question of who killed the President. Particularly with the election
Scott: In my book, Deep politics, I tried to reconcile what you laid out and the point laid out by Wayne
Smith that LHO was a lone assassination. I would invite you to consider that within the plot you
described, there was a second a plot which envision
_________?: Johnson, we need to keep in mind that a lot of the figures we talked about have strong
Texas connections. David Phillips from Texas. Johnson from Texas. If a plot was devised in Texas,
you need Texas connections. I just wanted to draw attention
Smith: The appointment of Warren was a masterstroke. And Dulles and Ford too.
_________: Those two viewpoints are not in contradiction. Johnson may have had some measure of
knowledge of what was going to happen but in the midst of the crisis he would have pressures to react
militarily against Cuba or USSR. These pressures would no
_________?: Seems to question that somebody has made up false stories which put Cuban
involvement. In your own assessment of these stories, at least the part hinting at blame of Cuba. Can
you distinguish between exile groups attempting to use the situation
Escalante: We have said here many things. There were too many subjective elements. Plots to Cuba
started at the same time that the plots to kill Kennedy started. When Oswald comes , there somebody
had thought to link him with the Cuban government. And that
_________?: Can you give some example of documents. The Solo document that LHO made threats
to kill JFK in the Mexican embassy. After the assassination. Then the Pedro Charles letters - before
the assassination mailed on November 14th.
Escalante: Somebody else wrote that letter.
_________: It is important to distinguish between actions before and after the event.
Escalante: Anyone that had an idea to cover actions, sabotage, including agents in a hostile territory.
You had to take some measures. Somebody had to watch. Watch to see what a person would do. Kill
Kennedy. There had to be somebody to communicate. There...
_________?: Do you think there is Texas oil money (H L Hunt) involvement?
Escalante: That's why I wanted information. I think it has a potential about it. The information throughEND OF TAPE 5
the exiles says that wanted - after the missile crisis. Now we know that it existed, but it was there. So
somebody got the information so that somebody
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