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Unraveling a Mystery: Oswald's Threat in Mexico City

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Oswald at Canal Street, New Orleans, August 9, 1963
(image by James Doyle)


Arnaldo M. Fernandez

Fifty years and zero evidence after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Angletonian mania of Fidel Castro behind Lee Harvey Oswald has been revived by former NYT investigative reporter Philip Shenon and former CIA desk analyst Dr. Brian Latell.

The CTKA reviews of Shenon's A Cruel and Shocking Act (Macmillan, 2013) and Dr. Latell's Castro's Secrets(Palgrave, 2012) have already unveiled the uncommon nonsense beneath the intellectual veneer. However, it seems necessary to belabor an issue that both authors use for muddying the waters and deflecting the attention from the CIA to Castro: the threat to kill Kennedy allegedly uttered by Oswald in Mexico City on September 27, 1963.

In Oswald and the CIA(Skyhorse Publishing, 2008), John Newman raises the question: "Cuban Consulate employees such as [Eusebio] Azcue and [Sylvia] Duran claim they heard no such threat, and so it remains a mystery" (page 428). Peter Dale Scott has addressed it in an updated revision of his paper at the 1994 Conference of the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA). His analysis (Oswald, Mexico, and Deep Politics, Skyhorse Publishing, 2013, pages 13-38) is a kind of Porphyrian tree for displaying the research hypothesis and paving the way for the inference to the best explanation.

The Primary Source

On June 17, 1964, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover dated a top secret letter to General Counsel J. Lee Rankin (Warren Commission Document 1359). It advised of statements made by Castro in private about the JFK assassination. Hoover's confidential and reliable source reported Castro had said:

"Our people in Mexico gave us the details in a full report of how he [Oswald] acted (") Nobody ever goes that way for a visa. [He] stormed into the embassy, demanded the visa and when it was refused to him, headed out saying, "I'm going to kill Kennedy for this.'"

The remark came to light in John M. Goshko's "Oswald Reportedly Told Cubans of Plan to Kill JFK" (Washington Post, November 13, 1976; page A1). Scott has found other misrepresentations like "intention" and "offer."

When Shenon discussed the issue on Face the Nation (CBS, October 26, 2013), the splendid confusion caused by a photo of President Herbert Hoover instead of the old sleuth Hoover pushed into the background that moderator Bob Schieffer was shocked about a "new" document obtained by Shenon at the National Archive.

It was namely a letter by FBI informant codenamed SOLO to Gus Hall, leader of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). In his aforementioned review of Shenon's book, DiEugenio highlights that Newman had dismissed that letter as "a forgery" almost two decades ago, when DiEugenio himself picked it up from Dr. Gary L. Aguilar's briefcase. Newman argued that an FBI informant would not include such a specious story on Oswald in a letter to Hall.

Operation SOLO was a long-running (1958-77) FBI program to infiltrate the CPUSA. The more than 6,900 pages in 45 volumes of the SOLO file began to be released on August 2011. By January 2012, the SOLO Mission 15 was declassified. Jakob "Jack" Childs flew from Moscow to "the beach" [Cuba] on May 20, 1964. He spent ten days there and was able to talk with Castro about the JFK assassination. Childs reported in essence:

"Castro said "I was told this by my people in the Embassy exactly how he (Oswald) stalked in and walked in and ran out. That in itself was a suspicious movement, because nobody comes to an Embassy for a visa (they go to a Consulate). [Castro] stated that when Oswald was refused his visa at the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City, he acted like a madman and started yelling and shouting on his way out, "I'm going to kill this bastard. I'm going to kill Kennedy' [Castro]was speaking on the basis of facts given to him by his embassy personnel, who dealt with Oswald, and apparently had made a full, detailed report to Castro after President Kennedy was assassinated" (FBI Records: The Vault - SOLO [http://vault.fbi.gov/solo], Part 63, pages 58-59).

The Best Explanation

By trimming the actual time --after President Kennedy was assassinated-- from the report of the Cuban Embassy, Dr. Latell foists "a conspiracy of silence" on Castro: "[He] knew Oswald's intentions to shoot President Kennedy and did nothing to deter the act" (Castro's Secrets, Macmillan, 2013, page 247).

The clock is blatantly set back to a pre-assassination report for faking that Castro has been caught lying about Oswald. The day after the tragedy in Dallas, Castro had said in a speech on Cuban radio and TV: "We never in our life heard of the existence of this person."

Against the unerringly justified remark by Jefferson Morley: "The argument that Castro sanctioned political assassination is as factually unfounded as the suggestion that [he] was behind Oswald," Dr. Latell concocts a Castroit Oswald at work in Mexico City with a Castro prone to react to a CIA assassination plot against him (AM/LASH) in the western spaghetti manner summed up by Lyndon B. Johnson: "Kennedy was trying to get Castro, but Castro got to him first."

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Former Professor of Law at the University of Havana Former Instructor of Journalism at the University of Miami Contributor to CTKA on the JFK assassination Contributor to History Today and The Miami Herald


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The threat against JFK allegedly uttered by Oswald... by Arnaldo M. Fernandez on Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013 at 9:34:36 PM
A justified solution to the long standing proble... by Arnaldo M. Fernandez on Thursday, Jan 9, 2014 at 7:39:48 PM