What the CIA is hiding about three Cuban exiles implicated in the JFK story

Fabian Escalante
Former head of the Cuban state security agency, General Fabian Escalante

Fabian Escalante, the former head the Cuban state security agency, Departamento de Seguridad del Estado (DSE), has identified some persons of interest in connection with JFK’s assassination.

In his book JFK: The Cuba FilesEscalante identifies people whom his agency suspected were involved in the death of the president.

Besides the familiar names of  CIA officer David Atlee Phillips and David Sanchez Morales, Escalante focuses on three lesser known Cuban exiles:

The CIA still withholds data from seven files at the JFK Assassination Records Collection regarding these three anti-Castro militants. Specifically, the CIA has not made public:

(1) the trace request and 2) its results in the case of Herminio Diaz;

(3) Antonio Veciana’s routing and record sheet, as well as two cables to the director about him in connection to (4) a BBC program on the JFK assassination;

(5) a report on attempts against Castro by the news agency Prensa Latina; and

(6) and two requests of approval of Espinosa Hernandez for investigative action and (7) provisional operational approval [POA].

Last but not least, on June 28, 2013, the Agency Release Panel responded to a FOIA request with these words:

“The CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence” of JFK-related records in the debriefing of Cuban defector Florentino Aspillaga, known by the code name TOUCHDOWN.

Aspillaga, whose whereabouts are unknown, told a curious story about Castro´s apparent foreknowledge of the assassination, recounted in Brian Latell’s book Castro´s Secrets. 

15 thoughts on “What the CIA is hiding about three Cuban exiles implicated in the JFK story”

  1. Excellent posts on an aspect I’m not well read on. Thanks to all.
    I must say I’ve been of the opinion for years that it would have been stupid for Castro to have authorized the hit and I don’t consider him stupid. If he did and it was found out/exposed the right wing/military would have had the excuse and National backing he obviously knew they desired for a Cuban invasion and overthrow of his regime.

  2. Interesting to note that Fabian Esclante, Arturo Rodriguez and Carlos Lechuga met with a group of JFK historians on Dec 7-9, 1995 in Nassau, Bahamas. Escalante told the group that the original source of the CIA’s information that Kennedy had “a plan to dialogue with Cuba” was none other than Henry Cabot Lodge, who learned of JFK’s consideration of a détente with Cuba as early as December 1962, half a year before Lodge was appointed ambassador to Vietnam. When CIA operative Felipe Vidal Santiago informed the Miami exile community of Kennedy’s plans, Escalante said “it was almost like a bomb in those meetings,” infuriating the exiles against a president they already hated because of of what they regarded as his betrayal of their cause at the Bay of Pigs.

    Transcript of Proceedings between Cuban Officials and JFK Historians: Nassau Beach Hotel, December 7-9, 1995 http://cuban-exile.com/doc_026-050/doc0027-2.html

  3. Herminio Diaz Garcia was shot and killed on May 29, 1966 in Cuba during an attempted assassination of Fidel Castro. Cuban forces killed him and another plotter and wounded others who were taken prisoner, one being Tony Cuesta.

  4. Don’t be surprised if the name Herminio Diaz is confirmed someday as an actual shooter firing upon the presidential limousine.

    Given the trajectory angle of a suspected shooter from the western edge of the 6th floor, who according to an eyewitness was indeed “dark complected”, he could be responsible for producing the “Harper” remnant of the late president’s skull fragment found a day later on that same trajectory path.

    Senor Diaz, if you are still alive, it’s never too late to come clean amigo.

    1. Unfortunately, Herminio was killed on May 29, 1966, during a raid against Castro in Havana. Precisely one of the survivors, Tony Cuesta, is the original source of Herminio´s role in the JFK assassination. Herminio himself would have told Cuesta about it just before the raid, aimed to deploy Herminio and one companion in Fifth Avenue for shooting at Castro, who used to take this route.

  5. I find hilarious that Castro must have had foreknowledge of the assassination for writing a four-hour speech. For doing that the day after, Castro needed only the morning hours, as usual.
    Of course he immediately realized that the CIA and other powers that be would put the blame on him, but his speeches (on November 23 and 27) went further and established a logical path to conspiracy on factual grounds, above all the use of a rifle with telescopic sight for firing against a mobile target. He emphatically advocated for a deep investigation on a conspiracy, which is the best evidence of no foreknowledge: why could he insist and insist in a conspiracy, taking the risk of being discovered as someone with foreknowledge about the deed?

  6. “Antonio Veciana (AMSHALE-1), linked to both Phillips and Guillermo Ruiz, a Cuban official who saw and talked to Oswald at the consulate in Mexico City.”

    When was Oswald in Mexico City? Is this where Oswald was suppose to be in Mexico in October when Ann Goodpasture said she was aware of a tape recording of Oswald, but never heard the tape, and the CIA handed that tape over to the FBI but for some reason it magically disappeared?

    Oswald was not in Mexico.

    I completely agree with Cuba’s findings on David Morales, it’s no longer a secret my father had his photo, The live recorded testimony and phone conversation of Rudy Junco has confirmed that. As for Antonio Veciana’s involvement, I don’t believe he was.

    “Aspillaga, whose whereabouts are unknown, told a curious story about Castro’s apparent foreknowledge of the assassination, recounted in Brian Latell’s book Castro’s Secrets.”

    I never read Brian’s book, Castro’s Secrets, to me, I believe the book would be full of propaganda just to sell a book. I already knew about Castro having foreknowledge of Kennedy’s assassination days prior to it happening which gave Castro the time to write the four hour speech he gave the after Kennedy’s assassination, and that was to save his country from possible retaliation. This was confirmed partly on tape, and during a brief and private conversation I had with Luis Posada who was very much prevey to CIA’s intel.

    I also asked Luis if he believed Castro was involved with Kennedy’s assassination, and what he said shocked me, on and off tape. He didn’t reply as every other anti-Castro Cuban in Miami blaming Fidel. Luis said, “I don’t think so” on tape, and off tape he said, “I wish I could tell you Castro was involved but I can’t.” He knew that his number one nemesis was not involved, and he did elaborate on Castro having knowledge of it.

    1. Dear Mr. Kaiser,
      Oswald was in Mexico City at least on September 27, 1963, since he filed a visa application and both his photo and signature are authentic. The phone of the Cuban Consulate appears in his notebook precisely because the Mexican employee at the Cuban consulate gave it to him for further proceedings (he should call back since his visa was pending). There is also no doubt that he was impersonated by phone on September 28 and October 1. There is no tape, but the transcripts are available and demonstrate an impostor made the calls.
      On the other hand, Castro couldn´t have any foreknowledge of the assassination since he didn´t have any link to Oswald. What Posada could elaborate about that is pure speculation. By that time Posada was in the U.S. Army. Thereafter, his role in the CIA was simply to inform about the Cuban exile´s belligerent groups JURE and RECE.

    2. Hey Scott! Nice to see you posting here.

      I agree with you and I have to add that Castro had his own intelligence people all over South Florida (and probably still does to this day). Consider this, If “rogue” US intelligence assets were involved and this group included “rogue” anti-Casto Cubans then it is likely that Castro’s foreknowledge came from his own intelligence apparatus. Unfortunately for us, as head of Cuba’s security forces, Escalante’s story can’t be trusted any more than Dulles or Helms’ stories would.

      1. If Castro would have had any foreknowledge of the assassination, he would have reported it to JFK in the midst of the accommodation process started before the deed. He pragmatically did it to Reagan in 1984, and just consider that Reagan was for him the worst American president ever.

      2. My husband, Gaeton, attended that Nassau conference at which Escalante invited him to visit him in Cuba, which Gaet did. Gaeton subsequently wrote a piece which the media chose not to publish since Gaet wrote so favorably about Escalante, who he trusted was speaking the truth as
        he saw it. Marie Fonzi

        1. Peter Robert-James Sheldon

          Hi my name is Peter Sheldon. I would love to meet Mr. Fabian Escalante. Would you be able to furnish any kind of contact information on Fabian! I am hoping because of his influence in Cuba that he could shed some light on Herminio Diaz Garcia. My uncle Robert James Sheldon was assassinated at the old US Embassy facing Armas Square on 6/18/51. You see Herminio was a person of interest. My uncle was a Marine Embassy Embassy Guard and military operative for the CIA. I’ve been told that Fidel Castro personally sent his four man assassin squad to take out Robert. The same woman, Naty Reveulta, who Robert was dealing with I was in email correspondence with her several years ago.

          Any information on the death of Robert would be greatly appreciated. The CIA is keeping everything about the incident very close to their chest.

          Thank you so very much.

          Peter Robert-James Sheldon

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