Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil (DRE)
Cuban Student Directorate
DIRECTORIO REVOLUCINARIO ESTUDIANTIL (DRE)
Often known in the North American press as the Cuban Student
Directorate, the DRE was, in the words of one CIA analyst, "perhaps the
most militant and deeply motivated" of all the Cuban exile
organizations seeking to oust Castro after the Cuban revolution of
1959. According to a CIA study in October in 1962, the DRE had the
largest following of any individual exile group.
The group was formed by Alberto Muller, Ernesto Travieso, and Juan
Manual Salvat, young Catholic students at the University of Havana, in
February 1960. They protested the visit of the Anastas Mikoyan, the
Soviet deputy foreign minister. They battled with pro-Castro activists
near the statue of Jose Marti in Havana's Parque Central. Later that
spring they were expelled from the University in hearings presided over
by Castro's campus enforcer, Rolando Cubela.
In Miami the DRE-in-Exile quickly attracted the support of CIA covert
operations officers such as David Phillips and Howard Hunt. (Both men
took care in their memoirs to praise the leaders of the DRE. See
Phillips's "The Night Watch" and Hunt's "Give Us This Day.")
In early 1961 Muller, who had been a member of Castro's 26th of July
Movement, returned to the island to organize peasants in the Escambray
mountains to resist the new communist government. Muller, an
intelligent and charismatic young man, attracted a small following but
was arrested by Castro's security forces at a bus stop just before the
exiles' aborted invasion at the Bay of Pigs. He would spend the next
twenty years in jail.
In August 1962, Salvat led a group of DRE militants in a small boat
from Miami to Havana to launch a maritime midnight raid on the Hornedo
de Rosita Hotel, located on the beach on the west side of Havana.
Salvat and Co sprayed the hotel with cannon fire terrorizing the
residents, mostly advisers from Eastern European countries, but
otherwise doing no damage. The DRE denied it was an assassination
The group's leaders passed along reports of Soviet missile
installations in Cuba to the CIA in the summer of 1962. When these
reports were confirmed by photographs from U.S. reconnaissance planes,
the Cuban Missile Crisis resulted.
After the missile crisis the group's claims that the Soviet Union had
not removed all of its missiles but had stashed some in caves, won
headlines but were soon discredited by the CIA.
In August 1963, the group's delegation in New Orleans had a series of
encounters with a pro-Castro activist named Lee Harvey Oswald. After
the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963, the DRE
publicized Oswald's activities on behalf of the Fair Play for Cuba
Committee. Their statements attracted wide media coverage in the wake
of the president's murder.
By 1963-64, the group's membership was declining along with its
organizational effectiveness. The DRE was formally disbanded in
December 1966 by co-founder Juan Manuel Salvat who is now director of
publishing house Universal Editions [ Ediciones Universal
] in Miami.
Albert Muller was released from Cuban jail in 1980 and lives in Miami.
Carlos Bringuier lives in Miami.
Several members of the DRE would go on to prominent roles in the Cuban exile community.
Jose Basulto, the triggerman in the 1962 Hornedo de Rosita attack,
humanitarian organization Brothers to the Rescue in 1995.
Jorge Mas Canosa, the late founder and president of the Cuban American
Foundation (CANF), got his start in politics as a young member of
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