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Did Castro Ok The Kennedy Assassination?
On the 45th anniversary incriminating new evidence revealed
Winter 2009 | Volume 58, Issue 6
The Cubela liaison occurred during a period of exceptional marital discord for the Oswalds, a couple whose relationship existed on the emotional edge. Adding to the tension were their perpetually strained finances. According to recent inter-views, some G2 money may have appeared at just the right time. Lee's cash outlays for that period exceeded his known income: every three or four weeks, starting in August 1962, he'd send the State Department a money order (or cash) for about $10 toward repayment of a $396 loan he had made upon his return to the United States. In the seven weeks between December 11, 1962, and January 29, 1963, however, he paid off the balance of the loan in three large amounts ($106, $100, and $190). Given that Oswald's known expenses from October to January, based on a laborious reconstruction by the Warren Commission, were $537, and his earnings were $892, paying off the loan would have left him $101 in the red—making this a rather strange time to settle a major debt, unless he had a secret source of funds.
Where this money came from has been a source of speculation for nearly half a century. According to Oscar Marino, the money was provided by the Cubans, who preferred to recruit “true believers,” not men who could be bought for big money. The small payments gave Lee some fiscal breathing room, and he did not spend conspicuously—just enough, on specific needs. Why would he have spent some of that money paying off a loan from the government he thought so little of? Because he would not be able to receive a new, updated passport before that debt was cleared, and apparently he might soon be doing some traveling.
Oswald was more optimistic about his chances of becoming a Cuban spy than were his G2 contacts. He became an aggressive “self-recruiter,” and his first attempt to impress had its genesis at a February 13, 1963, party in Fort Worth, thrown by Russian immigrants. One of the other guests, a German intellectual, inadvertently inspired Oswald in his plans to impress the Cubans. As the party guests grew increasingly concerned over Oswald's aggressive remarks about President Kennedy, the German attempted to divert Oswald's hatred toward a local race-baiter—and fervid anti-Castroite—the retired Gen. Edwin Walker, who lived in Dallas. One month later Oswald ordered a cheap pistol and an Italian rifle by mail. After much reconnaissance of Walker's upscale home, Oswald took a shot at him from his fence line on April 10, 1963, as Walker sat inside by a window.
Oswald thought he had killed Walker, but in fact he had missed by inches, and he was never a suspect in the assault, which remained unsolved until Lee was arrested for killing Kennedy. Even then, it was seen as just another example of his political derangement. But when the authors interviewed a former Soviet spy who had reviewed the KGB's Cubela file in 2005, the clear implication was that Oswald saw the Walker incident as a more serious "audition" for his Cuban G2 contacts.
In the awful suspense that followed the Walker shooting, Marina suggested that Lee leave town for a while—maybe go back to New Orleans, where he had lived as a boy and still had some relatives. After a few days of mulling it over, Lee came to agree with her. Besides, there were a lot of Cuban exiles down there to talk with, so on April 24 he set out for the Big Easy.
Over the next four months, Oswald's attempts to infiltrate the local anti-Castro exiles apparently impressed no one in that city or in Havana, where he most desired to make an impact. But he did learn some things on the streets, most notably that the Kennedys were planning another invasion of his beloved Cuba. It now appears that Oswald was communicating with the G2 that summer.
Increasingly, however, the hemisphere's vortex of international intrigue began to pull him toward the axis mundi of the G2, the KGB, and the CIA: Mexico City. It was not only a place where all had embassies (and the attendant spies) in close proximity, it was also the G2's staging point for Cuban terrorists and assassins. It appears that Oswald's G2 contacts were cursory at this point, perhaps because he could not have been a reliable operative but more of a wild card useful only for "disposable," one-off actions. Oswald thus appears to have felt pressed to take more direct action to gain their trust.
So, in late September 1963, weeks before he murdered President Kennedy, Oswald spent five days amid the spy intrigue of Mexico City. The CIA, which had peppered the opposition's embassies with hidden microphones, phone taps, and surveillance cameras, claimed after the assassination that no photos or tapes of Oswald in Mexico exist. Lyndon Johnson had spoken: federal investigators were constrained from following up on any leads that might produce evidence for foreign conspirators. Four decades later, however, it has become clear that Oswald spent at least half of his time in the company of Cuban spies.
He had arrived at the Cuban and Soviet embassies without warning. His behavior was so erratic, so green and yet desperate, that they refused his request for a visa to Cuba. That night, we now know, Oswald went to a university and tried to enlist the help of some Mexican radicals. They took him out on the town, but when one of their leaders interceded on his behalf the next day at the Cuban Embassy, he was told to forget it. The American was unstable. It was not until Oswald went back to make a last stand at the embassies later that afternoon—not until he broke down, pulled a gun, wept, and finally claimed that he would prove his revolutionary loyalty by killing “that bastard, Kennedy”—that the doors to his Communist utopia suddenly opened to him.