Founder of Alpha 66, identified as an accomplice in the conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy
It was the CIA that informed Antonio Veciana Blanch, 10 months ahead of time, of a visit to Chile by the president of Cuba; it proposed he should organize Fidel’s assassination, directed him to carry it out in a press conference and provided his transportation with weapons to Santiago in a U.S. diplomatic vehicle.
This was confirmed to a Miami radio station by Veciana himself who, aged 79, decided to confess some of the crimes he has committed over close to 50 years for the U.S. intelligence services in their dirty war on Cuba.
Founder of Alpha 66, identified as an accomplice in the conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy, this killer trained in Operation 40 was convicted of drug trafficking in New York in 1974.
In an attempt to respond to an interview with General (ret) Fabian Escalante Fonts recently published in Granma International, Veciana gave his version of various acts of terrorism in which he was involved on ‘La noche se mueve’ program on Miami radio.
‘I was in Bolivia working for USAID as advisor to the Central Bank,’ the terrorist chief explained on approaching the issue of the Chile attempt in 1971.
The ‘aid to development’ granted to Bolivia by that official U.S. agency linked from its foundation to intelligence activities, was wide-ranging, he reveals. ‘There was a group of us Cubans. I was a banking advisor in the Central Bank. Rafael Dalmau was in the Mining Bank. Charles Bacon who, despite his American name, was Cuban by birth, was in the Agricultural Bank and the CIA had other people working in the Ministry of the Interior.’
A CIA official told me that Fidel was going to Chile
One day, ‘a CIA official told me that Fidel was going to Chile and asked me if I was prepared to participate in organizing an attempt on his life,’ Veciana related. ‘I had been based in Bolivia for four years. I hadn’t read anything about Castro going to Chile until someone from the CIA called me from Peru.’
The U.S. agency took on coordinating the contact with Chilean police conspiring against the democratic regime of the socialist Salvador Allende.
‘He told me that I could have confidence in the two people who were going to visit me on behalf of the Chilean police.’
At various points in the interview Veciana declined to confirm that one of those individuals was Police Colonel Eduardo SepÃºlveda. ‘I cannot confirm to you if it was SepÃºlveda or someone else,’ he said enigmatically. Later, he insisted: ‘It could have been SepÃºlveda but I didn’t know SepÃºlveda. They used false names.’
‘These gentlemen came to see me in La Paz and we had two meetings. Then they informed me that effectively, a visit to Chile by Fidel Castro was planned and would probably be quite extensive. They thought that he would be at least two weeks in Chile and said that they were prepared to cooperate…’
‘I was the organiser’
During the three-hour interview, broadcast by three separate stations. Veciana insisted on attributing the leadership of the operation being planned to himself and cast aside his rival Luis Posada Carriles, who was handling CIA operations from Caracas.
‘I was the organizer,’ he repeated, expressing his dissatisfaction with the Chilean accomplices. ‘I asked them for some support that they never gave. I asked them to give me police uniforms, to give me more facilities. And they told me; we’re just going to give you information.’
Where would Veciana find the support that he needed? In Miami, of course. That city contained the large reserve of killers and conspirators constituted by the CIA years back. And heading up that pack of terrorists were his Alpha 66 buddies, with offices on Flager Street.
‘I sent a coded telegram to Alpha 66…. There are people here still who can back that up… To see if there were any men of action prepared to operate.’
Veciana finally decided to travel to the place that is still the sanctuary of continental terrorism.
‘Andres Nazario (Sargent, then head of Alpha 66) received me… We interviewed various people.’
All the candidates realized that participating in an attempt on the life of Fidel Castro was asking them to commit suicide.
‘They weren’t prepared to give up their lives.’
The ‘killers’: Islander Dominguez and Marco Rodriguez
Veciana returned, disappointed, to Bolivia after four days. However, he recalled, a new coded message from Sargent soon arrived, announcing that two individuals prepared to join the conspiracy had been found.
‘I went back to Miami… The two people belonged to Orlando Bosch’s group.’ They had worked with Poder Cubano (Bosch’s group) and in the CORU; they were DomÃnguez ‘the Islander,’ I think his name was Antonio, and Marco RodrÃguez. I provided them with all the means to get to Venezuela and in Venezuela there were certain VenevisiÃ³n officials who gave me all the facilities.’
‘The plan was to convert the two killers into VenevisiÃ³n cameramen to subsequently infiltrate them into a press conference to be given by the Cuban president in Santiago de Chile.
Whose idea was that? The CIA’s, Veciana confirmed. ‘They suggested the camera idea… they suggested taking advantage of the conference where 600 or 700 journalist would be present, for the assassination.’
‘CIA personnel participated in preparations fro the attempt: ‘Afterwards the plot was complemented by getting the people who, as experts, were recommended by them: this can be done, this can’t be done… ‘
‘We had somebody who knew about the workings of Cuban press conferences: possibly the people who attended would have to leave their cameras outside and these would be checked. But by using a small weapon and hiding it in a certain section of the camera, when they began to run, the weapon wouldn’t be detected,’ he confessed.
So DomÃnguez and RodrÃguez ‘were trained as cameramen and I got them VenevisiÃ³n credentials.
‘The preparation of the two terrorists was meticulous.
‘They had to be trained because they were Cuban, they had to know the Venezuelan language… They were in Caracas for 60 to 90 days training so that they would be undetectable as Cubans, but as Venezuelans,’ he stated.
Veciana was then asked: ‘Did these two people receive training as shooters, as killers, as assassins?’
The 79 year old replied with surprising candor: ‘Well, I would call them assassins.
‘They were action men of Poder Cubano who had worked with Orlando Bosch.’
The two ‘assassins arrived in Santiago de Chile ‘long before Castro was due to arrive; in other words, they were there and began interviewing the Chilean government as if they were Venezuelan journalists.’
At the beginning of the interview, Veciana responded to an initial question on the Santiago attempt: ‘I didn’t go to Chile.’ But, on getting into his story of the events, he suddenly told everything about his stay in that country.
‘Yes, of course, I was in Chile,’ he exclaimed and added a strange revelation.
In a U.S. Diplomatic car… with weapons!
‘I left La Paz for Lima in a diplomatic car from the U.S. embassy with the weapons,’ Veciana suddenly admitted on pointing out that other U.S. agents left Lima for Santiago to join the plot.
‘We had rented the apartment in HuÃ©rfanos Street in Santiago where they (DomÃnguez and RodrÃguez) were going to pass themselves off as simple journalists and we met up somewhere on the border of Chile and Peru and went from Arequipa, Tagna to Santiago.
‘While we were there, I had a minimum support base of three people who only knew what was being prepared when I needed a certain movement.’
Going back to the story of the idea to blame the planned assassination on the Soviet Union, Veciana gave his own version.
‘Somebody suggested to me: who’s going to be blamed for Castro’s death… Who’s going to make the public announcement? Let’s put the blame on the Soviet Union… That seemed like a good idea to me.’
‘The ‘Islander’ was told to go to a house just to ask for an address… ‘An alleged Soviet agent was living there.
‘He was a professor at the Central University of Caracas who was also a KGB agent… and there was a photographer who took photos so that if there were deaths on our account, it could be stated that these people had been working with the KGB.’
And what was happening, in the meantime, with Luis Posada Carriles?
‘Posada didn’t have anything to do with it,’ answered Veciana with something of scorn for the current hero of the Miami mafiosi. ‘He boasted a bit of his anti-Castro activity,’ he commented, noting that the CIA taught him to keep himself ‘compartmentalized.’