It should not be surprising that former Cuban ruler Fidel Castro told a U.S. journalist three years ago that he believed ordered President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on orders from a cabal within Washington.
Or that Cuban the government’s news media have given prominent display to recent allegations that the notorious gunman on the “grassy knoll” in Dallas 50 years ago was an anti-Castro Cuban exile by the name of Herminio Diaz.
What is not surprising is that Cuba’s official media has made little or no mention of recent reports suggesting that links between JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and the Cuban government were wider than previously known.
Castro, who has long denied any role in the assassination, told U.S. columnist Jeffrey Goldberg that JFK was killed by “people in the American government who thought Kennedy was a traitor because he didn’t invade Cuba when he had the chance.”
“No doubt about it,” Castro declared during one of their many and lengthy meetings when Goldberg visited Havana in September of 2010, the author wrote in a column published Wednesday in The Atlantic magazine.
“Castro told us ... that none of his associates or officials had anything to do with the assassination and that the Cuban embassy in Mexico City, which Oswald had visited, denied him permission to visit Cuba, fearing he was a provocateur,” Goldberg wrote.
Asked why he believed Oswald could not have acted alone, Castro told Goldberg that Cuban experts had “tried to recreate the circumstances of this shooting, but it wasn’t possible for one man to do,” according to the column.
The Cuban leader said Kennedy, who was responsible for the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, made “many many mistakes. He was young and dramatic,” Goldberg wrote. But Castro “reserved his animus” mainly for Robert Kennedy, JFK’s brother and as attorney general one of the driving forces behind Operation Mongoose.
Aso known as Special Group Augmented, Mongoose was a covert multi-agency operation to topple Castro through any means, including assassination. Launched after the Bay of Pigs, it petered out beginning with the JFK assassination.
Havana’s official CubaDebate Web site, meanwhile, gave prominent display to reports that blamed Cuba exiles for the JFK assassination and argued that the U.S. president was trying to fix his relations with Castro when he was murdered.
A new edition of a book by JFK assassination researcher Anthony Summers alleges that Cuban exile and suspected mafia hitman Herminio Diaz told a friend in 1966 that he shot Kennedy from the “grassy knoll,” Cubadebate noted. Diaz and the friend died years ago.
The Web site added that “world famous forensic doctor Cyril H. Wecht, who has spent decades studying the assassination,” also has concluded that at least two gunmen fired four shots from the grassy knoll as well as the Book Repository.
In another report, Cubadebate noted that Italian journalist Steffano Vaccara recently published a book alleging that New Orleans mafia boss Carlos Marcello ordered the hit because Bobby Kennedy had ordered him deported to Guatemala.
Cubadebate also published a column by Peter Kornbluh, senior analyst at the National Security Archives, a Washington research organization, noting that JFK was pushing to improve relations with Cuba at the time of his assassination.
Kennedy had used several visitors to Havana to deliver secret messages of peace, and there was an incipient hope of secret talks Kornbluh wrote in an article first published in Mexico’s La Jornada newspaper.
“Amidst the ongoing controversies over conspiracy theories, what is lost in the historical discussion of the assassination is that … Kennedy’s very last act as president was to reach out to Castro and offer the possibility of a different bilateral relationship,” he added,
“Fifty years later, the potential that Kennedy envisioned for co-existence between the Cuban revolution and the U.S. has yet to be realized,” he added, but should be “remembered, reconsidered, and revisited.”