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MAY 1959

[REFERENCE: County Intelligence File "Cuban Revolution File", 1959, #18335-A]

DATE: May 27, 1959

TO:  Thomas J. Kelly, Metropolitan Sheriff

FROM: Frank Kappel, Supervisor, Criminal Intelligence


On May 7, 1959, Agent A.L. TARABOCHIA, while on a routine tour of the International Airport observed two W/M's that appeared suspicious due to the fact that they were loitering in an area not open to the general public.  When asked to identify themselves, one of them produced a U.S. Immigration Parole form and stated that his name was FELIPE SARRAIN and that he and his companion, who identified himself as RICARDO PEREZ, were looking for a suitcase that was to be shipped from Cuba.

SARRAIN gave his address as 704 N.W. 24th Street, Miami.  The subject stated that he had just fled Cuba on a small boat and had landed in Key West the previous Sunday, May 3, 1959.  He also stated that he had been the private secretary of the Mayor of Havana, during the Batista regime and at the time of his departure was actively sought by the Revolutionary Police.  He believed that if caught he would be tried and executed since his persecutors had already burned his home.

SARRAIN stated that a great part of the Cuban population lives in a state of terror of the police and t he victim of any accusation is sometimes held incommunicado by the police for days or weeks until tried or freed.  The outcome of most trials is usually the death sentence.

The subject also mentioned that the Communist party is gaining strength in Cuba because in most key positions the power has been seized by Communists.  Foremost was DAVID SALVADOR, head of all the Trade Unions in Cuba.  SALVADOR, according to SARRAIN had invited members of the Trade Unions of the U.S.S.R. to visit Cuba and observe the progress made by the "democracy" after the fall of BATISTA.

The communications media and the army have also been infiltrated by Communists and recently the soldiers stationed at Camp Libertad (Columbia) were forced to see an anti-American and controversial picture by CHARLIE CHAPLIN.

When asked about the expeditionary forces that have been active in alleged liberating expeditions to neighboring Caribbean Countries, SARRAIN stated that a Corps bearing the name of LEGION LIBERTADOR with headquarters near Calle 23 or 32 or Vedado in Havana was most active in the field.  (See case # 1890-B) The commander of these forces was reputed to be ELOY MENOYO GUTIERREZ former Commander of the second front in the Sierra del Escambray, (CARLOS PRIO'S Directorio Revolutionario).

The main reason for the existence of such bands was to be found in the fact that most of the revolutionaries not belonging to the 26th of July movement had been excluded from positions of responsibility or even incorporation in the Army and have turned mercenary in order to satisfy their economic needs and spirit of adventure.  This fact accounts also for the harshness that FIDEL CASTRO used in denouncing the Panamanian adventure.

SARRAIN told this Agent that he had knowledge of fighting in the Sierra Maestra and that there were about 4,000 men of the dissolved Batista Army engaged in guerrilla warfare.

The recent transfer of all the Army Units to the Sierras announced by RAUL CASTRO was to be attributed to this fighting and not to training maneuvers as the rebel chief had stated.

Recent flareups in Las Villas province resulted in a direct attack of the Santa Clara jail where eight prisoners condemned to death were freed by a former American sergeant who had fought with CASTRO and now had changed factions after realizing the progress of Communism in Cuba.  SARRAIN was unable to identify the sergeant.  JOSE PEDRAZA, former police chief and now in exile in the Dominican Republic is considered by many Cubans as the leader of an action by counter-revolutionaries in Cuba.

Information received from a different source revealed that the Cuban Navy has in training at a Naval Base called "GRAMMA", twenty-two frogmen who are receiving training on all kinds of underwater demolition operations.  This group is commanded by Commander ROLANDO DIAZ ASTARAINA.

At the same base, 600 men, constituting the first echelon of the Cuban Marines is being trained by former officers of the U.S. Marine Corps.  This number is to be increased in the near future.  There were four prefabricated ships of a capacity of 400 men each being assembled at the base.

Respectfully submitted,

A.L. Tarabochia
Intelligence Agent

Frank Kappel, Supervisor
Criminal Intelligence

cc: C.I.A.
Frank Watterson
U.S. State Department
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Justice Building
Miami, Florida

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