[Editor's note: Thanks to Ramon in Houston for this translation of Antonio Veciana's comments to the Diario de Las Americas newspaper about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This translation replaces the Google machine translation that I published last week.]
By Iliana Lavastida/DLA
“The death of John F. Kennedy was a coup, an internal conspiracy, says Antonio Veciana with absolute conviction and willingness to reveal what he considers a historical truth.
The Cuban exile and former agent of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) gave his testimony in an interview with the Diario de las Americas, 50 years after the assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
Some of the theories about the reasons that motivated the murder suggest a connection with the Government of Cuba and involve the figure of Fidel Castro.
However, the founder of Alpha 66, responsible for two of the most important attempts against Castro (Presidential Palace, Havana, in April 1961 and Santiago de Chile, 1971) rejects the hypothesis that the order to execute the U.S. President came from the Havana regime. Although he has promised himself not to reveal secrets that release any blame from the former Cuban leader.
According to Veciana, “the best book that has been written” about the circumstances surrounding the murder is contained in The Last Investigation, by the late Gaeton Fonzi.
“He interviewed me during the investigation and concluded that my statements were true. His widow recognizes this in the preface of the book,”
“I did not chicken out and said what I knew,” he emphasized.
Veciana then brought up a recent development which strongly attracts his attention.
“Robert Kennedy Jr., son of Robert Kennedy, also assassinated, went with his sister to Dallas last January. During an event about the death of the President [his uncle]” he said. ‘My father was convinced that in his brother’s death there were more than one shooter,: and he also said that the mafia had participated.
“Why didn’t Robert Kennedy say all that while still alive?” Veciana asked. “I speculate that perhaps it was because he aspired to become president and decided to wait in order to be in control.”
There is a version that the Kennedy family has preferred to stay out of the investigations that could uncover who directed the murder because they know that behind the event there is an extensive plot, very difficult to confront.
Veciana supports that assumption and insists “what took place against the President was a coup d’Ètat.”
“It happened because a group of military and CIA agents wanted to remove him. They felt that he was negotiating with the enemy and betraying the country’s sovereignty,” he said.
Why was Kennedy killed?
“The why began with the Bay of Pigs attack,” he said. “When Kennedy was elected, he inherited the project of a Cuba invasion. He was an inexperienced young president, he lacked the ability and wisdom to foresee consequences and the CIA deceived him because it wanted at all costs to end the Castro regime, but from a memorandum Pentagon declassified later, it was clear that there was no possibility of victory in that invasion. There was no internal, armed resistance in Cuba capable of causing an uprising that would reinforce the invasion. Additionally, Castro at the time enjoyed an overwhelming domestic support.”
The interviewee believes that after the invasion failed, when the president realizes that he had been deceived, he wanted all the CIA higher echelons, including its director, fired and, further, he cut their budget.
“An irreconcilable antagonism, bordering on hatred, developed between the president and the CIA. Kennedy didn’t have support from the military brass due to his liberal thinking that contended against the military’s philosophy. For example, the order to withdraw from Vietnam caused much indignation. Another point of contention was the agreement where JFK agreed with Nikita Khrushchev to suspend nuclear tests, two months before his death. The fight between him on one side and the CIA and the military on the other was out in the open.”
Veciana is convinced there was a conspiracy to kill Kennedy, as its internal antagonists thought he was handing over the country.
“In a speech at American University Kennedy tried to make his case when he said, ‘We must move toward peace.” During the October crisis, he instructed his brother Robert Kennedy to talk to the Soviet ambassador in Washington to whom he says that the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. had to reach an agreement as early as possible, because otherwise JFK could not stop a military coup, said Veciana.
Veciana recalled that the same day that Kennedy died, the CIA was in conversations in Paris with Rolando Cubela — the Cuban commander who fought the Batista regime and was later accused of plotting to assassinate Castro — to convince him to undertake a plan against Fidel Castro.
During that conversation, news arrived that Kennedy had been killed. At the same time, the French journalist Jean Daniel, who had interviewed Kennedy recently, was meeting with Castro in Cuba relaying a message in which the U.S. president proposed the Cuban leader to reestablish diplomatic relations. Castro replied to Nikita Khrushchev that Kennedy could be trusted, and at that time the news of Kennedy’s assassination arrived, said Veciana.
It was, according Veciana, an act of revenge because Kennedy had betrayed national interests.
“The motivation was not to kill the president simply for the sake of replacing him, but because he was considered to be a traitor. It was a punishment. The two possible locations were Dallas and Chicago. However, something happened that caused JFK to be advised not to go to Chicago and that trip was cancelled. But the trip to Dallas was kept because Kennedy wanted to be re-elected and that was an important city for his aspirations,” he added.
Official version versus reality
The Warren Commission, created to investigate the murder, concluded that there was only one killer, but some scholars and researchers insist on the Castro connection.
“The bullet that killed Kennedy did not come from any of the shots from Lee Harvey Oswald,” said Veciana. “The shot that killed Kennedy entered his forehead and came out behind his skull. The day after the murder, a reporter [sic] found a 7 cm. piece of skull that was ejected after the explosion of the projectile that struck him in the forehead. He took the fragment to the hospital and it actually matched. A surgeon gave his opinion, but was pressured and demanded to recant.”
But in 1992, 29 years later, Dr. Charles A. Crenshaw, wrote a book entitled “JFK: Conspiracy of Silence”, in which he confesses that ‘at the time I falsely retracted for fear.’”
Witnesses have died
“William Pitzer was a physician, naval commander who worked at the hospital where they did the autopsy on the body of Kennedy in Washington. He recorded the autopsy in film [Translator's note: Pitzer was in charge of the AV dept.] and compared his pictures with the X-rays that allegedly had been taken on the body and determined that they were fake. He determined that they had falsified the autopsy. Dr. Pitzer was preparing to turn over the material to a television network but soon he was found dead from a bullet shot. It was ruled a suicide,” Veciana recalled.
Veciana also referred to [George de] Mohrenschildt, a Russian emigre and engineer who helped Lee Harvey Oswald when he returned from the USSR, and disappeared after Kennedy was killed. In his research for a book, Fonzi located de Mohrenschildt in a small town in Florida and tried to interview him in order to clarify his relationship with Oswald. Fonzi left a card with de Mohrenschildt’s daughter and the next day Fonzi received the news that the man had committed suicide. The police found Fonzi’s card in his pocket.
Veciana and the CIA
“I was contacted in Havana by ‘Maurice Bishop’ who recruited me to work with the CIA. I had previously rejected a proposal to work for one of the ministries of the Castro government, because it was common knowledge that I was opposed to the regime and that’s when I was contacted by the CIA,” he said. “After the failure of the attack against Castro in his Presidential Palace, I left Cuba clandestinely on a boat. I came to USA and continued working with Bishop. Afterwards, I was based in Bolivia.”
Many of the true facts about Bishop will come to light in a testimonial that Veciana will reveal in a forthcoming book, entitled “My Hidden Life.”
“I met with him [Bishop] a couple of times here in Texas. In one of those occasions, we agreed to meet in a bench [Translator's Note: the Spanish word is "banco" which in English means either "park bench" or "bank"]. I arrived 15 minutes before the appointed time and when Bishop arrived he was accompanied by a young man. Over time I learned that this young man was Lee Harvey Oswald. He was a shy type, a little unusual, I don’t even remember when Bishop introduced him to me,” recalled the former CIA agent. “Over time, when they killed Kennedy, I realized that Oswald was the shy young man that I had met.”
Veciana considers that the historical truth is what Lee Harvey Oswald said before being killed: “I am a patsy.”
“Oswald was an easy to manipulate little nut, so Bishop sent him to the consulates of Cuba and the USSR in Mexico City. He knew what Oswald didn’t, and sent him over there in order to implicate Cuba and the USSR. He knew they would not issue LHO a visa to travel to Cuba, but they needed evidence of him being there, to incriminate Cuba in upcoming developments,” he said.
The interviewee said that his book will reveal the name of a witness who was present when Oswald, at the Cuban consulate, protested loudly after being told that the permission to travel to Havana could take two months.
“I am told that the Cuban officers had to expel Oswald from the consular facilities. LHO was under the belief that his mission was to obtain a visa, but little did he know that he was sent there in order to involve Cuba: it was just an alibi. The plan worked perfectly. They thought that Castro could be held accountable [if necessary]. But the historical truth is that Kennedy was killed by an domestic conspiracy.” he said.
Oswald was a man who was a CIA asset, but there has never appeared a file on him.
“My relations with ‘Bishop’ broke on July 26, 1973, when he handed me a bag with more than $250,000 to keep quiet. I am convinced that the source of that money was not just the CIA. There must have been very powerful, industrial and military people involved.”
I have been alerted to danger
“I have been the target of three attempts. The last was in September 1979 when I had prepared an attack against Castro who was coming to the United Nations. I heard from an FBI informant that they [unspecified] were looking for a assassin to kill me. I did not believe it, until I was shot and wounded in the head. The attempt failed because they used a .45 gun with a silencer, which reduces the speed,” he said.
“They also placed two bombs in a surreptitious sports organization that I created in Puerto Rico, to do covert work.”
“In Bolivia they were also looking for me, but they could not find me.”
“I survived an open heart surgery in the middle of which I had a heart attack. It appears that the day when I have to die has not yet arrived,” he said.