Cuban ex-intelligence chief recalls JFK assassination

Mon Jul 12, 2010 7:32am EDT
 
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By Martin Roberts

GIJON, Spain (Reuters) - Like many, Fabian Escalante remembers what he was doing when he heard U.S. President John F. Kennedy had been shot: he was trying to stop the Central Intelligence Agency from toppling the Cuban government with the help of anti-Castro exiles.

Years later, when he had risen to head Cuba's Department of State Security, he was well placed to consider whether those same exiles may have had a hand in the November 22, 1963 slaying of the dashing young president in Dallas.

Escalante does not claim to know who killed JFK, but says that Cuban exiles recruited by the CIA had planned to kill Kennedy twice in November 1963, because they felt the U.S. president had done too little to topple the government on the Caribbean island.

"They had the capability, the means and the intent," he said in an interview on the sidelines of the Semana Negra crime writing festival in Gijon, northern Spain.

"How was this meant to turn out? To assassinate Kennedy, launch a furious campaign against Cuba, blaming it for the assassination, which they did, then kill Fidel Castro a few days later, on December 12, and invade Cuba."

Escalante worked with members of the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations investigating the JFK killing when they travelled to Cuba in 1978 to collect data on the activities of Cuban exiles.

In his retirement, he has published many of his findings in book form, along with research he has conducted since he set up the Centre for Security Studies in 1993.

LIFE INSURANCE   Continued...