Castro predicted Cuba would be blamed for JFK’s assassination

“Now,” Fidel said, “they will have to find the assassin quickly, but very quickly, otherwise, you watch and see, I know them, they will try to put the blame on us for this thing.”

The story comes from “When Castro Heard the News,” by French journalist Jean Daniel writing in The New Republic, Dec. 7, 1963.

Castro was right.

Within hours of Castro’s comment, members of the Cuban Student Directorate, a CIA-funded organization based in Miami, linked suspected assassin Lee Oswald to Cuban president Fidel Castro. They were “the presumed assassins.” The allegation was published in a special edition of the group’s publication, Trinchera (Trenches) dated November 23, 1963.

This was the first JFK conspiracy scenario to reach public print. According to declassified records, it was paid for by undercover CIA officer, the late George Joannides.

The DRE  received $51,000 a month from the CIA, according to this declassified memo from April 1963.

 

12 comments

  1. Brad Milch says:

    After all these years I still can’t quite shake the suspicion the Soviet KGB set Castro up. It would be ironic if Castro was played by the same communist government that he allowed to park nukes on his island & point them at the USA.

  2. Photon says:

    The KGB ran the Cuban intelligence service, even to the point of selecting its head.
    Castro accepted this arraignment – there was no set-up.

    • JSA says:

      The Soviets were pissed off at Castro and especially at some of his hot-headed associates, like Che Gueverra, over the way Cuba was not doing everything they were “supposed” to do, but acting independently with regards to intel interpretation/reaction. Che wanted to launch a first strike against the US mainland once we found out about the missiles installed on the island. Castro reined him in, but there were definite strains between the “Sugar Plantation Proxy” and the “Motherland”.

      • Curtis Fenwick says:

        Photon is overlooking the fact that Nikita Khrushchev was removed in October 1964. Forces within the Kremlin, KGB & Soviet military were unhappy about Khrushchev removing the Cuban missiles in 1962. Former Soviet military commanders have since gone on record stating the Soviets wanted to nuke the USA as badly as US military brass wanted to nuke the Soviets. What better way justify such an assault than to make it appear Castro’s government was behind the murder of President Kennedy? The same can be said for Castro seeking revenge for the Soviets making him look like a foolish puppet by removing the nukes. A ‘shadow country’ could also take advantage of the severe paranoia between the USA & the communist Soviets at the time. It was an opportunity too good to resist playing sides off against one another; in a scenario like that anything is possible.

        • TLR says:

          Considering that in 1963 the US had an overwhelming advantage in ICBMs, and most Soviet nukes were still on manned bombers, it would have been suicide for Soviet commanders to want to start a nuclear war.

        • Photon says:

          Any action originating in Cuba would have been interpreted as being done at the behest of the Soviet Union.
          Your hypothesis completely ignores JFK’s statement on how any attack from Cuba would be interpreted.

  3. Jonathan says:

    The U.S. government could have blamed the assassination on Castro easily. More easily than convincing Americans that Iraq had WMD.

    But blaming Castro would have invited a real investigation into JFK’s killing. And that is the last thing the U.S. government wanted.

    The plotters must have known this. Which means their main goal in removing JFK was not too upend Castro and his regime. It was to replace the peace-seeking JFK with the warlike LBJ. h/t James Douglass

  4. Tim Gratz says:

    With all due respect to JSA it is not the truth that Che wanted a first nuclear strike against the US and Fidel “reined him in”. In fact Fidel wrote a letter to Khrushchev urging that the Soviets launch a massive preemptive nuclear strike against the US if the US invaded Cuba as a result of the Cuban missile crisis. This has become known as the Castro “Armageddon letter”. Some even argue that the letter urged a Soviet nuclear strike against the US even BEFORE any US invasion of Cuba. This was the interpretation given the letter by journalist and Castro biographer Tad Szulc. As we know, Nikita did not take Fidel’s counsel, thank God.

  5. ARNALDO MIGUEL FERNANDEZ says:

    Castro clearly spoke to the U.S. power on November 24 and 27, rejected the lone gunman theory, and asked the Warren Commission for thoroughly investigating. By that time, KGB was training, but not controlling Castro´s intelligence. Its head was Piñeiro, more interested in “revolution without borders” than in black ops and intel gathering. Only after the visit of KGB Chief Semichastny in 1965, things started to change and Mendez Cominches replaced Piñeiro around 1968. Cuba´s top spymaster was Castro himself, who wasn´t so stupid for risking everything in order to gain nothing by killing JFK. He actually did what he must do: penetrating CIA.

  6. John McAdams says:

    Jeff,

    You keep saying that the CIA “paid for” the DRE to blame Castro, but your own research shows that the DRE asked their CIA handler whether they should go ahead and blame Castro, and were told to hold off.

    Then there is the fact that, in your book, you clearly show that the CIA guys in Mexico City (Phillips and Scott) were reticent to blame Castro, and Ambassador Mann was the gung-ho proponent of a communist plot.

    The weight of the evidence shows that the Agency people were acting like we expect bureaucrats to act: temporizing, trying to figure out what the safe course of action was, and worrying about how any course of action might harm their organizational interests.

  7. Jonathan says:

    I agree with your third paragraph. It’s apparent to me the CIA qua bureaucratic agency was not involved in the assassination but was involved in tracking and manipulating Oswald. It’s also apparent to me certain CIA “assets” took advantage of the fact that painting Oswald as the assassin would force the CIA to cover up its knowledge of and dealings with Oswald. The CIA was had.

    One indicator of this is how badly downhill J.J. Angleton went post-assassination, trusting no one, suspecting traitors right and left. Some students of his history believe that post-assassination, JJA nearly tore the CIA apart.

  8. Melvin Fromme says:

    Glaringly missing from this discussion & most others concerning the murder of President Kennedy is Soviet & Cuban responses. Here Jeff Morley has generously opened the door to thoughts from a global audience, yet most, if not all his traffic appears to originate from Americans, in some cases, a few obsessed with getting their views of what happened publicized. There’s something wrong here. The Internet is open to everybody, regardless if they live in Havana or Moscow. In each city are humans who have their own thoughts. I, for one, would like to hear what they have to say over American disinformation agents locked in a ‘repeat mode’.

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