On Tuesday the 26th, President Johnson met with many of the heads of state who had come to Washington for Kennedy’s funeral. The idea of a Presidential commission to address the assassination was not yet settled.
Meanwhile, in Mexico City another allegation of Communist conspiracy involving Oswald emerged, adding to the earlier CIA reporting that Oswald had met with a KGB officer associated with “Department 13” – sabotage and assassinations.
The efforts to blame communists for JFK’s assassination, sometimes emanating from CIA sources, would cloud the case for decades.
A Nicaraguan named Gilberto Alvarado Ugarte told U.S. officials there that he had been in the Cuban Consulate weeks earlier and personally witnessed Oswald take money from a red-haired Negro to kill JFK. His story had some flavor of a B-movie script; the red-haired Negro is supposed to have said “I want to kill the man”, to which Oswald had replied “You’re not man enough, I can do it.”
Under questioning by Mexican authorities, Alvarado’s story quickly unraveled, and it turns out that rather than being a genuine Nicaraguan communist, he had worked as a penetration agent on behalf of Somoza’s right-wing government. He retracted his story, then retracted his retraction, and eventually failed a lie-detector test.
The Warren Commission would later dismiss the allegations of the man they referred to as “D”, for various reasons including that on the date Alvarado gave (Sept. 18) Oswald was in the U.S. The Commission found that Oswald’s trip to Mexico City to attempt to obtain a visa was not “in any way connected with the assassination of President Kennedy.”
What is perhaps more surprising really is how serious Alvarado’s story was initially taken – initial reports from CIA questioners reported that Alvarado was a “young, quiet, very serious person, who speaks with conviction.” Among those who vouched for Alvarado was David Atlee Phillips, chief of Cuban operations in the Mexico City station, who had been informed of Oswald’s visits to the Soviet and Cuban offices six weeks earlier.
Alvarado’s story did not stand alone, but was rather one of a series of partly-overlapping stories emanating from that city, some of which may be read about here, with accompanying documentation. Such allegations continually recur, for example in the 2006 documentary Rendezvous with Death, and the new book Castro’s Secrets by Brian Latell.
There are many unresolved questions surrounding Oswald’s Mexico City trip, but the Communist conspiracy stories do not hold up. Rather, they raise questions about whether those making the allegations “acted alone”, or were part of a coordinated attempted to put the blame for the Kennedy assassination at the feet of Fidel Castro.