Antonio Veciana

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Antonio Veciana
Church Committee Testimony 1976

NARA RIF 157-10014-10041
Miscellaneous Records of the Church Committee
Mar 22, 1976


Contacts with Bishop

Antonio Veciana worked as a CPA in Havana bank owned by Julio Lobo.  He told Lobo of his dislike for Castro, and believes this is how he was contacted by an American named Bishop in 1961 to begin working against Castro.  (Bishop's first name probably is Morris, but may be John or Jim.)  Bishop refused to tell Veciana who he worked for, and it was Bishop who initiated all contacts.  A friend of Veciana's, a Cuban-American woman who lives in Miami, also served as go-between for Bishop and Veciana.

Bishop paid only expenses for Veciana, but when they broke off their relationship in 1973 Bishop paid Veciana $253,000.

When Veciana first met Bishop, Bishop carried a business card that identified him as a Belgian importer.  He had a Belgian passport but used several different names and passports when he traveled.  Veciana believes Bishop was Texan, and spoke Spanish with an Argentine accent.

While working in Cuba, Bishop gave Veciana two contacts at the American embassy–Ewing Smith, a political advisor; and Lt. Col Samuel Kail, the army attaché.  He also talked with Joe D'Acosta, vice-consul, and was debriefed by D'Acosta when he came to the U.S.

Veciana first worked with Bishop on a plan to assassinate Castro during a visit by a Russian astronaut to Cuba in 1961, but the plans was canceled [canceled] because of the Russian involvement.  In October, 1981, there was another assassination attempt which failed, and Veciana fled to the U.S.  In November, 1961, Bishop contacted Veciana and told him to stay in the U.S.

Alpha 66
Veciana formed Alpha 66 under Bishop's directions.  Veciana followed Bishop's instructions, he was not supposed to function on his own.  Funding for the activities against Castro came from different sources–Bishop once told him that not all the money came from the CIA, a good part came from commercial sources.  Veciana says some of the people who helped in financing are now high in Inter American Development Bank in Washington.

The search for funds for Alpha 66 also led to H. L. Hunt.  Veciana's friend Jacquin Godoy talked with Hunt's secretary (name not known) about funding, but they received no money.  Godoy also introduced Veciana to Jack Caldwell, a Connecticut businessman interested in assassinating Castro.  Bishop stopped the connection by saying Caldwell was CIA and an alcoholic.

Veciana says Bishop ordered the Alpha 66 attack on Russian ships in Cuba, and then arranged the March 1963 press conference to publicize the attacks.  (N.Y. Times, March 19, 1963)

At another time, Bishop ordered Veciana to infiltrate a group called Cellula Fantasma, that sponsored leaflet drops over Cuba.  Julio Lobo introduced him to the group.  Its coordinator was Sergio Rojas, Castro's former ambassador to London; Pedro Diaz Lanz was the leader for military actions; and Frank Fiorini was the advisor.

Veciana met Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas in August, 1963.  He had come to Dallas for a meeting with Bishop in a big, blue building that housed a bank or insurance company on the first floor.  With Bishop was Oswald.  Veciana says they were not introduced, but has trained himself to retain an individual's characteristics and is certain the man was either Oswald or his double.  Oswald left before the discussion began.  After the JFK assassination, Veciana recognized Oswald's picture, but never discussed the meeting with Bishop.

Customs Agent Interview
Veciana also failed to mention his meeting with Oswald when he was questioned about the assassination three or four days after it.  A customs agent named Diosdado interviewed Veciana in Key West.  He said he had been given a list of about a dozen activists to question–Veciana had not been singled out.  Veciana assumed Diosdado was a CIA agent, he had dealt with him several times in connection with anti-Castro activities.

Oswald's Contact with Cuban Couple
When the press developed the story that Oswald talked with a Cuban couple during his trip to Mexico, Bishop asked Veciana to contact his cousin, Guillermo Ruiz, a member of Cuban Intelligence in Mexico.  Bishop offered to pay Ruiz if he would say that he and his wife were the couple Oswald has talked with. His wife spoke English fluently as had been reported.

The CIA also asked Veciana to contact his cousin.  Twice they asked him to approach his cousin with the idea of working as a double agent.  Veciana did not approach his cousin with either idea.

Veciana says he spotted a man he knows as a Cuban spy; Raul Diaz, in a picture taken in Dealy [Dealey] Plaza at the time of the assassination.

The last attempt on Castro's life that Veciana was involved in occurred [occurred] in Chile in 1971.  Veciana was working for the International Development Agency under the State Department in Bolivia.  For 4 years he worked as an advisor to Bolivian banks, but actually spent most of his time in anti-Communist activities.  Bishop supplied the arms and money for the attack on Castro. A Cuban industrialist named Lucillo Pena, and a Venezuelan policeman named Posado who worked for the CIA, were also involved in the plan. Bishop thought that Veciana wanted to place the blame for the attack on the Russians instead of the Cuban exiles, and that led to the final break between the two.

Veciana last saw Bishop in July, 1973.

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