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:
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.