The facts about Lee Oswald and Rafael Cruz

In response to several queries about the Rafael Cruz (father of Ted) JFK conspiracy theory, I delved into the record with the help of a faithful reader. Here’s what is known:

Oswald in New Orleans

Lee Oswald in New Orleans: Who is the man in the white shirt near Oswald’s left elbow?


about the photo which conspiracy theorist Wayne Madsen claims captures the father of the Republican presidential candidates. Rafael Cruz lived in New Orleans in 1963.

There is no evidence the man is Rafael Cruz. Madsen seems to be believe that a photograph of Ted Cruz taken in the 1950s and the assertions of one anonymous source constitute “evidence.”

What is known

Carlos Bringuier, the leader of the Cuban Student Directorate in New Orleans, knew Oswald and he knew the man to Oswald’s right, a Japanese man. Bringuier told the Warren Commission he could not identify the man to Oswald’s left.

The Japanese man, Junichi Ehara, was located and he confirmed he took a leaflet from Oswald. He was shown the photo and said he could not identify the man next to Oswald.

In February 1967, FBI official W. A. Branigan told deputy FBI director William Sullivan that the mystery man remained unidentified after an “ex[h]austive investigation.” In the context of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover’s query about gaps in the investigation, this person was singled out as an individual associated with Oswald who could not be identified.

The failure to investigate

By February 1967, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison was investigating an alleged JFK conspiracy in New Orleans and the FBI and the CIA began to watch him closely.

In April 1967 CIA director Richard Helms sent out a worldwide memo seeking to identify critics of the Warren Commission as irrational and anti-American and claiming that the Agency had fully cooperated with the Commission. Last October, Politico reported that CIA historian David Robarge now acknowledges that the CIA did not cooperate with the Commission but rather foisted a supposedly “benign coverup” on JFK investigators.

In September 1967 the CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff, headed by James Angleton, set up a “Garrison Group” to monitor the New Orleans investigation. Angleton’s people never identified Oswald’s collaborator in handing out pro-Castro pamphlets either.

The Garrison Group was more concerned about preventing Garrison from identifying Cubans who had worked with the agency than it was about investigating Oswald’s Cuban contacts. One possible explanation:  George Joannides, undercover case officer for the CIA-funded Cuban Student Directorate in Miami in 1963, maintained a residence in New Orleans, according to sworn testimony of U.S. Attorney Ron Machen.

The bottom line

So while there is no reason to think that the man in the picture is Rafael Cruz,  the theoretical possibility cannot be eliminated, thanks to the government’s failure to thoroughly investigate JFK’s assassination. Once again the malfeasance (or incompetence) of the CIA and FBI has empowered a conspiracy theorist whose speculations serve to obscure, not clarify, the historical record.








  1. Well Miguel Cruz – if he is located and questioned – could possibly identify the man who is not Ted Cruz’s father.

  2. What happened to my post calling attention to the fact that Oswald was arrested with one Minguel Mariano Cruz, 18 years old at the time, who should still be alive today and could answer questions about that time and place.


    • Tom S. says:

      I was advised by the author of the article, Jeff, not to approve any post, at least for the time being, that did not directly respond to the last sentence in the article. The article was an invitation for readers who have evidence to present it and support it, a novel approach, as you have probably noticed if you are a regular reader of comments. No comment qualified. Thank you for sharing your knowledge related to the event.
      Who is the man behind Oswald? It is not Rafael Cruz. It is….

      The text of the comment submitted by Bill Kelly. :

      Photo evidence is tricky – but it is an established fact that Oswald was arrested while giving out FPFCC leaflets with one Minguel Cruz – 18 years old at the time – who is probably still alive and has yet to be properly questioned about all this. And I do not make the assumption or allegation that Minguel Cruz was in any way related to Ted. I just think he should be located and questioned.

  3. Jack says:

    There was WC Testimony by one of the men handing out leaflets who says LHO hired him outside an employment agency. He couldn’t identify by name the other guy, but said, I believe, Oswald hired him off the street as well.

    • Ronnie Wayne says:

      I have read this before although I don’t remember where.
      I thought he hired them near / at a local unemployment office.
      Which I guess is still off the street.

    • Neil says:

      Its interesting how LHO, while “unemployed”, had funds to print leaflets and pay people to help him hand them out 😉

      • Ronnie Wayne says:

        Very much so. How could he afford an “office” at 544 Camp Street, wait, what was the “other” address? It was a V shaped intersection, with entrances on both sides. Canal Street? Bannister would have known, with his office on the first floor.
        But to keep on subject, did Rafael Cruz know Guy Bannister?

  4. ed connor says:

    Some months ago you published a well known photo of LHO at a Louisiana Civil Air Patrol picnic in the late 1950’s. David Ferrie appears in the photo as well. There is an unknown Hispanic man in that photo who bears a remarkable resemblance to Ted Cruz. Of course it’s not Ted, since he was born in 1970. But the resemblance is striking.

  5. Bogman says:

    “Once again the malfeasance (or incompetence) of the CIA and FBI has empowered a conspiracy theorist whose speculations serve to obscure, not clarify, the historical record.”

    Well said, Jeff.

    The lack of clarification and forthrightness by the feds has led to an endless rabbit hole of speculation, further obfuscating the search for the truth.

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