Meetings with Castro’s foes

In 1963, we find CIA officer Henry Hecksher, our protagonist, in and around Washington DC as he met with Cuban exiles as part of the AMWORLD Operation.

The information is contained in an undated CIA memo released as part of the agency’s JFK Assassination Collection.

Manuel Artime (left) is seen with US President John F. Kennedy (second from right) at an event for Brigade 2506 in December 1962.

The document describes the operation as support for Manuel Artime and his Revolutionary Recovery Movement. Known by its Spanish acronym MRR, it aimed to overthrow Cuban leader Fidel Castro. But it is a limited catalogue of a box that contains much more on AMWORLD, such as booklets, tapes and photos.

Among the documents described are three memos by Hecksher in the wake of the Bay of Pigs invasion.

In one memo summarized in the document, Hecksher met with Artime in Washington on July 10, 1963. Artime related the events leading up the failed invasion, in which the paramilitary leader was a participant as part of Brigade 2506.

The CIA officer noted that fellow Cuban exile Manuel Ray had just arrived in the US from Cuba, and Ray was trying to convince to the US to withdraw support for the Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front. Known by its Spanish acronym FRD, the organization of exiles for which Brigade 2506 was the military wing.

In a second memo briefly summarized in the document, Hecksher wrote about meeting with a man described as Dr. La Saga from November 7 to 10, 1963.

La Saga was an MRR representative in the US while Artime was imprisoned in Cuba after the Bay of Pigs debacle. Hecksher clearly had high regard for La Saga, describing him as one of the most intelligent men he had ever met.

“It was La Saga’s firm position that while President Kennedy was in power, it would be impossible to defeat Castro,” the document said.

Hecksher’s third memo described in the CIA document concerns AMWORLD meetings between November 30 an December 1, 1963. They take an interesting turn.

The CIA officer wrote that a source identified only as AMJAVA-4 mentioned that parties, who are presumably Cuban exiles, had considered plans to abduct Cuba’s delegate to the UN, Carlos Lechuga Hevial. They weren’t alone. The Somozas in Nicaragua were also mulling a similar plot in a bid to secure the release of a pilot identified as Picado from a Cuban prison.

“We told AMJAVA-4 that we could not approve any act of violence directed against a Cuban diplomat connected with the UN,” Hecksher wrote.

I hope to find more about the contents of this box.


Sources

The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection, Central Intelligence Agency, accessed June 30, 2021, record 104-10308-10080, https://www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/104-10308-10080.pdf

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