Antonio Veciana

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Antonio Veciana Blanch (born October 18, 1928) is a Cuban exile who was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to kill Fidel Castro. He was the founder and a former leader of the anti-Castro group Alpha 66.

Career[edit]

At the time of the 1959 Cuban Revolution Veciana was employed as an accountant by Julio Lobo, and well known as the President of the professional accountants' association.[1][page needed]

Veciana was recruited as a spy for the CIA by David Atlee Phillips (also known as Maurice Bishop) in 1959 to kill Fidel Castro.[2] After the initial contact with Bishop, Veciana took a 2-3 week course in psychological warfare and sabotage.[1][page needed] After the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion in April 1961, Bishop directed Veciana to help organise an assassination attempt on Castro in Havana from an apartment rented in the name of Veciana's mother-in-law. Veciana left Cuba the day before the October 1961 attempt, his wife and children having already left some months earlier.[1][page needed] The attempt, which involved a bazooka, failed.[3]

1960s, Alpha 66[edit]

Veciana settled in Miami with his family, and after Bishop contacted him there, at Bishop's direction Veciana founded Alpha 66 in mid-1962,[4][5] [1][page needed] becoming its civilian chief and principal fundraiser, and recruiting its military chief from another Cuban exile organization.[1][page needed] Alpha 66 became one of the most active Cuban exile groups, acquiring guns and boats and launching commando raids on Cuba.[1][page needed]

From August 1968 to June 1972 Veciana was active in Bolivia. Formally a banking adviser to the Central Bank of Bolivia on contracts financed by the U.S. Agency for International Development, his office was located in the passport division of the American Embassy, and his primary activity was organising anti-Communist and anti-Castro activities. This included another assassination attempt on Castro in Chile in 1971[1][page needed] involving a plan to put a gun inside a television camera. Veciana's recruiting of Cuban associates who prepared a plan to blame Russian agents for the assassination led to a falling-out with Bishop and the eventual termination of their relationship. When Bishop broke off the relationship in 1973, he paid Veciana $253,000 in recognition of his services; Veciana had previously refused payment.[1][page needed]

1970s, and HSCA interview[edit]

In 1974 Veciana was convicted of conspiracy to supply narcotics;[6] he served 27 months, still professing his innocence after his release.[1][page needed]

In 1976 Veciana told the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) that at one meeting with Bishop in Dallas in late-August or September 1963 he had arrived to see Bishop talking with Lee Harvey Oswald.[1][page needed] Veciana said that several months after the assassination Bishop had offered to pay a relative of Veciana who worked in the Cuban Intelligence Directorate in Mexico City to say publicly that he had met Oswald there.[1][page needed] In 2014 and 2015, Wynne Johnson uploaded three videos to YouTube.com and Vimeo.com to reveal that, at the age of 15, he and a girl his own age were witnesses to the incident told of by Veciana. These can be found by searching on "Southland Center 1963," Part 1, 2, and 3, on either of the two websites. Johnson claims to have a considerably more detailed memory of the event than Veciana does.

On September 21, 1979 in Miami, Veciana was wounded in the head during a drive-by shooting while he was riding in his car.[5] He was initially admitted to Pan American Hospital with a small-caliber bullet imbedded above his left ear, then transferred to Jackson Memorial Hospital.[5] Veciana's family and friends said that agents of the Cuban government had attempted to kill him.[5] Veciana was not active in Alpha 66 at the time of the shooting.[5] His wife said he had received death threats eight months earlier, and Nazario Sargen, the then current leader of Alpha 66, said Veciana told a press conference a few months previously that the Cuban government was planning to kill him after he had learned about the plot from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation.[5]

Later years[edit]

Veciana was briefly employed as treasurer by Maurice Ferré's 2004 campaign for mayor of Miami-Dade. He resigned after a few days, as he did not meet the state requirement of being a registered voter.[7]

In 2013 Veciana gave interviews saying that he believed that the assassination of John F. Kennedy was carried out by senior military and intelligence officials.[8][9]On January 16, 2016, the Assassination Archives and Research Center published a video on Youtube of a conference in which Veciana unequivocally stated that Maurice Bishop was in fact David Atlee Phillips[10]

Veciana is the husband of Sira Muino[5] and father of journalist Ana Veciana-Suarez.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Appendix to Hearings before the Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives, Volume X 1979, pp. 37-56.
  2. ^ Giraud, Gabriel (May 28, 2017). "Un ex-espion de la CIA se décrit en "terroriste"". Le Figaro. Retrieved May 29, 2017. Il a été recruté en 1959 par l'agent David Atlee Philipps - connu sous l'alias Bishop - dans le but de tuer Fidel Castro. 
  3. ^ Jay Mallin, The Miami News, 23 November 1961, A BAZOOKA DIDN'T FIRE IN HAVANA AND CASTRO TALKED ON
  4. ^ "III. Antonio Veciana Blanch". Appendix to Hearings before the Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives. X. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. March 1979. p. 37. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Williams, Dan (September 22, 1979). "Anti-Castro Leader Shot In the Head". Miami Herald. p. 2-B. Retrieved April 30, 2017. 
  6. ^ United States vs. Ariel Pomares and Antonio Veciana (Docket 74-1219, Decided July 5, 1974)
  7. ^ Noaki Schwartz, Miami Herald, 2 June 2005, Audit: Ferré camp broke the law
  8. ^ Alfonso Chardy, El Nuevo Heraldo, 17 November 2013, La conexión cubana en el asesinato de JFK
  9. ^ Iliana Lavastida, Diario Las Américas, "A Kennedy lo mató la CIA", asegura un exagente de la CIA, November 2013
  10. ^ Antonio Veciana,) (September 26, 2014). Antonio Veciana - Admissions and Revelations HD (Conference). Bethesda Hyatt Regency, Bethesda, Maryland: Assassination Archives and Research Center. .
  11. ^ Jay Weaver, Miami Herald, 19 January 2006, Herald writer pleads guilty to 2003 contempt charge

External links[edit]