The National Declassification Center announced yesterday the release of long-classified records on General Edward Lansdale and Cuba that may help complete the historical record of the end of the Kennedy administration.
Along with growing signs that U.S. and Cuban embassies are set to open soon—a move that will boost our diplomatic influence in the region—there’ve been more than a few signs that the U.S.-Cuba relationship is moving forward and not looking back.
In OpEd News Bill Simpich calls attention to two CIA conspiracies to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro in the early 1960s. As U.S.-Cuba relations improve, he hopes the government in Havana will share more information about these deadly doings.
As the United States and Cuba engage in hard bargaining over how to normalize relations in 2015, it worth remembering that President Kennedy was seeking the same goal when he was assassinated in November 1963.
In this ABC News broadcast in April 1963, Cuban president Fidel Castro talked about his desire to settle differences with Washington. JFK was listening.
The CIA has credible information implicating seven Cuban government officials in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 that it has never made public, according to Brian Latell, a retired agency analyst.
Brian Latell, former CIA analyst
“The Kennedy assassination should be added to the agenda for official Cuban-American negotiations,” Latell recently told JFK Facts. A retired CIA employee who served as the agency’s National Intelligence Officer for Cuba from 1990 to 1994, Latell first made the allegations in his 2013 book, Castro’s Secrets. He elaborated on his views in an email interview.
Latell’s allegations come at a turning point in U.S.-Cuba relations.
Philip Shenon’s 2013 book, A Cruel and Shocking Act, reconstructed the story of the assassination of President Kennedy with an unusual focus: not on the perennial question of conspiracy but rather on a narrower issue: the destruction of evidence that followed in the wake of JFK’s murder on November 22, 1963.
Students of the JFK story already know much of the dismal tale, and Shenon adds story-telling verve and amazing detail to the trail of destruction, some of it human.
The book opens with the unnerving untold story of Charles William Thomas, a State Department official in Mexico City. In the mid-1960s, Thomas picked up on information about Lee Harvey Oswald’s famous trip to the Mexican capital in October 1963, six weeks before the president was gunned down in Dallas. Thomas insisted his superiors re-investigate the story. They responded by destroying his career. Thomas went on to commit suicide. The government later admitted error and compensated the family without much explanation of what had actually happened.
You have to wonder: If Oswald was a lone maniac, why destroy the man’s career for calling for a second look? You don’t have to agree with Shenon’s position on the larger conspiracy question to be impressed by the detail he brings to this story.
Shenon’s latest piece in Politico revealed that David Slawson, a Warren Commission investigator — and defender — now says the commission was deceived by the CIA and FBI and that Oswald may have had accessories in Mexico City. Read more
The Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 marked a turning point for President John F. Kennedy. His bold but deft diplomacy spared the world a war that might have gone nuclear. Peace proved popular and JFK’s approval ratings soared. Here’s how it started.
“What if the answers to the many, persistent questions surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy lie not in Dallas or Washington, D.C., but in the streets of a foreign capital that most Americans have never associated with the president’s murder? Mexico City.”
So begins Phil Shenon’s new piece in Politico, What Was Lee Harvey Oswald Doing in Mexico? Shenon is surely correct that the U.S. government’s response to Lee Oswald’s visit to Mexico City in October 1963 is key to understanding the JFK assassination story.
And before Washington and Havana can reach any real rapprochement, renewed allegations that the Cuban government aided JFK’s accused assassin demand clarification.
“From what I remember of the James Douglass book, JFK and the Unspeakable, JFK was a champion of F. That was a threat to institutions like the CIA. The CIA took his convictions so seriously they had to assassinate him. But…
In an important article published by the Inter Press Service news agency Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the nephew of President John F. Kennedy, highlights an important point about U.S.-Cuba relations that President Obama normalized last week: The CIA opposed President Kennedy’s efforts to do the same 51 years ago.
“JFK was involved in secret negotiations with Fidel Castro designed to outflank Foggy Bottom [Washington] and the agents at Langley [CIA], but the CIA knew of JFK’s back-channel contacts with Castro and endeavored to sabotage the peace efforts with cloak and dagger mischief,” Kennedy writes.
RFK Jr., an environmental attorney, is right that the CIA knew about JFK’s interest in normalizing relations, and opposed it.
In a new piece JFK and the Cuban Embargo, Jacob Hornberger connects Obama’s Cuba diplomacy to JFK’s Cuba diplomacy of 50 years ago:
“Already, we’re hearing that President Obama is a traitor, that he is surrendering America to Fidel Castro and the communists, and betraying the Cuban people and the cause of freedom and democracy for wanting to lift the 54-year-old Cold War-era U.S. embargo against Cuba.”
“That is precisely the way that the national-security establishment felt about Kennedy and actually much worse.”
Fifty one years before President Obama normalized diplomatic relations with Cuba, President John F. Kennedy was thinking of doing the same. To start the negotiations, Obama sent one of his aides, Ben Rhodes, to talk to the Cuban government.
Likewise in the fall of 1963, JFK authorized a U.S.diplomat, Bill Attwood, to make contact with Cuban representatives to discuss the outlines of an agreement between the two countries.