CubaBrief: John F. Kennedy was killed 59 years ago. Did the Cuban dictator get him first?

John F. Kennedy assassinated on November 22, 1963 by pro-Castro gunman Lee Harvey Oswald.

Fifty-nine years ago, on November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy was assassinated. At 12:30pm Central Standard Time, the Kennedys in their convertible limousine turned off Main Street at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. As they were passing the Texas School Book Depository, President John F. Kennedy was shot twice and slumped over toward First Lady Jackie Kennedy. The governor of Texas was also hit. At 1:00pm, President Kennedy was pronounced dead.

On the 59th anniversary of this political assassination the spin doctors and agents of influence continue to cloud the circumstances leading up to the murder of America’s 35th president. However, the question that needs to be asked looking back to that fateful day: who benefited most from his death? Cui bono?

Following the Bay of Pigs debacle in April 1961 the White House initiated Operation Mongoose. President Kennedy’s brother and Attorney General of the United States, Robert Kennedy, headed up the sustained effort to topple the Castro regime and this included the assassination of Fidel Castro.

On December 29, 1962, President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy met with the Bay of Pigs veterans, and over 40,000 Cuban exiles at the Orange Bowl. On that day the returning soldiers gave President Kennedy the flag of Brigade 2506. ” I want to express my great appreciation to the brigade for making the United States the custodian of this flag. I can assure you that this flag will be returned to this brigade in a free Havana,” stated President Kennedy to all assembled there.

President John F. Kennedy receives the Brigade 2506 flag from Bay of pig veterans Manuel Artimes y Erneido Oliva at the Orange Bowl stadium in Miami in Dec. 29, 1962

Daniel Harker of the Associated Press interviewed Fidel Castro on September 7, 1963 at the Brazilian Embassy in Havana at a reception, and in it the communist dictator made an explicit threat. “We are prepared to fight them and answer in kind. U.S. leaders should think that if they are aiding terrorist plans to eliminate Cuban leaders, they themselves will not be safe.”

It is evident in a White House memorandum from ten days before President Kennedy was killed on November 12, 1963, that the Kennedy Administration was still committed to pursuing an aggressive strategy to topple the Castro regime:

Support of Autonomous Anti-Castro Groups. The question was asked from where would the autonomous groups operate. Mr. FitzGerald replied that they would operate from outside U.S. territory. He mentioned two bases of the Artime group, one in Costa Rica and the other in Nicaragua. Also it was hoped that the autonomous group under Manolo Ray would soon get itself established in a working base, possibly Costa Rica. Mr. FitzGerald said that much could be accomplished by these autonomous groups once they become operational. A question was asked as to what decisions remain to be made. Mr. FitzGerald replied that we were looking for a reaffirmation of the program as presented, including sabotage and harassment. When asked what was planned in sabotage for the immediate future, he said that destruction operations should be carried out against a large oil refinery and storage facilities, a large electric plant, sugar refineries, railroad bridges, harbor facilities, and underwater demolition of docks and ships. The question was also raised as to whether an air strike would be effective on some of these principal targets. The consensus was that CIA should proceed with its planning for this type of activity looking toward January.

Less than eleven months after making his pledge at the Orange Bowl, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas by Lee Harvey Oswald.

On November 29, 1963 in a phone call with President Lyndon Baines Johnson, J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the FBI revealed Oswald’s links with the Castro regime. “This angle in Mexico is giving us a great deal of trouble because the story is they have this man Oswald getting $6500 from the Cuban Embassy and then coming back to this country with it.”

Politico in 2014 reported, “White House aide Joseph Califano, who was part of the anti-Castro plotting, said he was convinced that ‘Robert Kennedy experienced this unbelievable grief after his brother’s death because he believed it was linked to his—Bobby’s—efforts to kill Castro.’”

In 1968, Johnson told ABC reporter Howard K. Smith that “Kennedy was trying to get to Castro, but Castro got him first.

Leo Janos, one of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s former speech writers, interviewed him for the July 1973 issue of The Atlantic in which LBJ “expressed his belief that the assassination in Dallas had been part of a conspiracy. ‘I never believed that Oswald acted alone, although I can accept that he pulled the trigger.” Johnson said that when he had taken office he found that “we had been operating a damned Murder Inc. in the Caribbean.’ A year or so before Kennedy’s death a CIA-backed assassination team had been picked up in Havana. Johnson speculated that Dallas had been a retaliation for this thwarted attempt, although he couldn’t prove it.”

Following the President’s assassination within a year Operation Mongoose was scrapped and Fidel Castro would remain in power until 2006, then replaced by his brother Raul in a dynastic succession following a health crisis. General Raul Castro remains the maximum authority in Cuba today. Fidel Castro died of old age after causing much suffering in Cuba and around the world in places such as Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

Respected German documentary filmmaker Wilfried Huismann in 2006 made the case that Fidel Castro was behind the killing of the 35th president, and explained why.

We settled the question of why in three years of research on this documentary in Mexico, USA and Cuba. Oswald had been an agent for the Cuban intelligence services since November 1962. He was a political fanatic and allowed himself to be used by the Cuban intelligence services to kill John F. Kennedy. It was a Cuban reaction to the repeated attempts of the Kennedy brothers, above all the younger Kennedy, Robert, to get rid of Fidel Castro through political assassination — a duel between the Kennedys and the Castros, which, like in a Greek tragedy, left one of the duelists dead.

“Kennedy was trying to get to Castro, but Castro got him first.” – Lyndon B. Johnson in a 1968 interview.

From the archives

Deutsche Welle (DW), January 5, 2006

“Castro Ordered Kennedy’s Assassination”

01/05/2006January 5, 2006

German filmmaker Wilfried Huismann spent years digging into the assassination of US President Kennedy. His documentary about Cuban leader Castro’s role in the murder is set to premiere Friday, on German public TV.

DW-WORLD: We know that Lee Harvey Oswald killed John F. Kennedy. But who ordered his assassination and why?

Wilfried Huismann: We settled the question of why in three years of research on this documentary in Mexico, USA and Cuba. Oswald had been an agent for the Cuban intelligence services since November 1962. He was a political fanatic and allowed himself to be used by the Cuban intelligence services to kill John F. Kennedy. It was a Cuban reaction to the repeated attempts of the Kennedy brothers, above all the younger Kennedy, Robert, to get rid of Fidel Castro through political assassination — a duel between the Kennedys and the Castros, which, like in a Greek tragedy, left one of the duelists dead.

DW-WORLD: One of the most important leads pointed to Mexico. Why do you think the US didn’t pursue it?

Huismann: After Kennedy’s death on Nov. 22, 1963, Lyndon B. Johnson found out that the US had a secret, illegal murder program focused on Fidel Castro. He hadn’t been informed before that. He knew that Castro knew, and he was afraid that the discovery of these mutual assassination attempts could force him to carry out an invasion of Cuba, which he believed could result in a third — nuclear — world war. And as a conservative pragmatist, he decided within a few hours, in agreement with Robert Kennedy, to drop the whole thing and to ban FBI and CIA officials from pursuing the trail leading to Cuba.

DW-WORLD: Could Castro now be prosecuted for his responsibility for Kennedy’s murder?

Huismann: In my opinion, even the conservative Bush government wouldn’t take any political or legal steps to avenge the crime. Then they’d also have to put the American politicians on trial who were involved in assassinating foreign statesmen. They include Alexander Haig, who testified as a witness in my film, and others who are still alive.

It’s history. Only people’s awareness will change, the impression they have. And it will provide an answer to the question that has very much upset many million people over the years: Why did this horrible thing happen?

“Rendezvous mit dem Tod — Warum Kennedy sterben müsste” (“Rendezvous With Death — Why Kennedy Had to Die”) will be shown on ARD on Friday at 9:45 p.m. CET.

Jose Ospina-Valencia interviewed Wilfried Huismann (ncy)

https://www.dw.com/en/castro-ordered-kennedys-assassination/a-1846726