Was there a Cuban gunman in Dealey Plaza?

The new edition of Anthony Summers’s JFK book, “Not In Your Lifetime,” reports that a man held in a Cuban jail in the 1970s heard from a CIA-supported exile that a mutual friend confessed he was a gunman in Dealey Plaza, according to a story in the British Daily Mail.

This is a substantive allegation, and Summers is careful to report it as such.

The alleged gunman, a Cuban man named Herminio Diaz, had worked for Mafia boss Santo Trafficante Jr. in Cuba before the Cuban Revolution, and was known to be an expert marksman.

I will publish a Q&A with Summers soon that explores this story.


  1. JSA says:

    It would be interesting to compare how this Cuban exile story compares to the James Files story. I approach these shooter stories with a healthy degree of skepticism. It doesn’t mean they are automatically wrong. I wonder if anyone has compiled a list of everyone who has claimed to have been involved in Dealey or who has been charged with being there. Ed Lansdale, according to Fletcher Prouty, is supposed to have been there. Some say George Bush was there, but I think that claim is a dubious one and probably bogus.

  2. Phillip Dodge says:

    While there is no shortage of Cubans in Dallas today but hearing a story from a friend of an acquaintance of somebody that somebody else met is not what I would call hard evidence. This is another good reason to sit back, have cocktail and wait for your preordered Roger Stone book to arrive from Amazon a mere 16 days from today. Readers of this forum already know that “The Man Who Killed Kennedy – The Case Against LBJ” will contain the most authoritative information ever published about the assassination. Why are we still waiting when so many others have already released their 50th year anniversary books about JFK? Because folks, Roger Stone is obviously saving the best for last. We waited 50 years so I think we can wait just a little longer to get the definitive intel.

    • Thomas says:

      At Amazon it says the Stone book is “in stock” so it looks like we don’t even have to wait.

    • leslie sharp says:

      “Because folks, Roger Stone is obviously saving the best for last.”

      Consummate Dirty Tricksters understand that timing is everything.

  3. Thomas says:

    The article also had this quote:

    “Blakey said that Martinez had gone to the FBI with his story, but he was told the investigation was closed.”

    If this is true then this proves that the FBI is not interested in solving the murder of President Kennedy. Can the actions of the FBI and CIA be any more suspicious?

    • D. Olmens says:

      I don’t think that’s necessarily suspicious.

      Think about this on a practical level. After the assassination and in the years that followed, how many people do you think came forward claiming they had evidence, were involved, or knew something? Sorting the wheat from the chaff would have been a time-consuming task to say the least.

      If the FBI had kept the investigation “open”, how much time and resources do you think would have been required to investigate every contact (presumably including ones that seem worthless at face value, but you might argue nonetheless should have been investigated to demonstrate institutional impartiality) over five decades?

      If the examples described here (taken from Manchester’s ‘Death of a President’) are from Parkland alone, imagine the nature of the calls and the quantity received by the FBI?


      • leslie sharp says:

        It could be argued that not enough time or expense was focused on the more significant aspects of the case; for instance, the possible relationship between Jack Ruby and Lee Oswald.

        We rely on official records to inform us of the degree of investigation, but will we ever know the level of interference that may have occurred? The number of people who may have been ordered to “stand down?” to walk away from particular lines of inquiry? Would that be recorded?

        Had a thorough, unequivocal investigation into the primary inconsistencies in the official story taken place in the immediate aftermath, we wouldn’t be engaged in this debate today.

    • Jeff Pascal says:

      It’s certainly a possibility,But whether that is a 1%, 10%, or 25%, who knows? There are a lot of reports of Cuban Exiles in Dealey Plaza from many sources, including possible photographic evidence such as the Bronson slide with several young Hispanic, or Cuban men in the foreground, and the dark complected man with the Umbrella Man in the background.

  4. Willem Oltman tells CBS news, following his testimony to HSCA that Geo. DeM. identified a Cuban as being one of what he suggested was four assassins in Dealy Plaza. One wonders was this the Cuban of whom we speak today? http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cFtWNq_0xOk it’s at approximate. 1:40 in.

  5. HSCA Page 113, Line # 19. Wilem Oltmans names Emilio Santana as a Cuban directly involved in shooting Kennedy. Oltmans testified he gave a picture of this man to Mr. Tannenbaum. (Committee exhibit No. 1, April 1, 1977)


  6. mitchum22 says:

    I’m confused by the Daily Mail story. Is it Summers who claims Diaz worked WITH Oswald on 11/22/63? Or is that the spin the “Daily Mail Reporter” — working well within the acceptable MSM boundaries regarding Dallas — is giving us?

    If it’s Summers, then I think I’ll pass on the “Not in Your Lifetime” update. Diaz & LHO is ridiculous.

  7. TLR says:

    Photos of Emilio Santana and Sergio Arcacha Smith were picked out by a bar owner as the two men traveling with Rose Cheramie to Dallas. And it wasn’t the first time he’d seen them. They were also involved in a Miami/New Orleans/Dallas drug trafficking ring. Santana was known as a violent and scary individual.

    • leslie sharp says:

      Reminiscent of the limited investigations into sightings of Jack Ruby and Lee Oswald; the leads were followed, the interviews were held, the witnesses were then discredited, the possible connection between Ruby and Oswald became pure speculation, end of story.

      Likewise, testimony of R.R. McKeown indicated that he had encountered both Jack Ruby and Lee Oswald; those claims evaporated into the ethers. However, anyone reading the record of his interview would ask, “what’s going on here?’

    • S.R. "Dusty" Rohde says:

      TLR….do you happen to remember where you found this information? If so, could you provide a link? Thanks

  8. Curt says:

    Diaz as a participant sounds very plausible, unlike a lot of other so-called identified gunmen over the years. Diaz was a confirmed hit man connected to Santo Trafficante, long a suspect in the JFK plot. Interesting that Cuesta told the Cuban government that Eladio del Valle was also a participant in the JFK murder. del Valle, an anti-castro activist, was murdered within 24 hours of David Ferrie’s suicide (some think murder) in February 1967. This ties in with the Marcello-Trafficante relationship and those researchers who view them as behind the JFK assassination.

  9. Marcus Hanson says:

    Here’s the discussion at the Education Forum:


    The story,per se,is not new.
    Of particular interest though were the comments posted by Bill Kelly from Anthony Summers.
    Summers is very disappointed with the National Enquirer.

    I appreciate that syndicated reports are a common and necessary feature of news media.
    As an Englishman,though,I too am very disappointed that the “respectable”,middle-market Daily Mail has decided to repeat a story from,of all sources,the NE.
    Mere re-printing is not proper journalism.

    I hope Bill Kelly does not mind me “jumping in”,but the comments here are already stacking up fast.
    He was at the recent Duquesne conference,so may not have had a chance to post here yet.
    I do not share his CT beliefs or support his “dizinfo” remarks,but I believe he is sincere and his post at the Ed forum is clearly germane to this matter.

  10. Arnaldo M Fernandez says:

    Escalante had told Summers and other JFK historians at Nassau in 1995 that Cuesta referred not only to Herminio, but also to Eladio Ceferino del Valle as merely being at Dealey Plaza. Cuesta´s story to Rogelio Martinez seems weird by excluding Del Valle and specifying Herminio as a shooter. And Cuesta used to be a story teller. After being released from prison, he told that Castro wanted to met him at the Revolution Palace. They drank whiskey and smoked cigars before Cuesta headed to the airport. That´s as implausible a Cuban gunman at Grassy Knoll.

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