15. “You Are to Remain Within the Land Limits of Dade County”

Title Quote: JFK order to Veciana and other Cuban exiles

Beginning late on the evening of March 17th and continuing into the early morning hours of the following day, Alpha 66/SNFE launched their second attack on the Cuban port of Isabela de Sagua.1 At a packed news conference at the Roger Smith Hotel in Washington on the 19th, Veciana and Vasquez reported details of the raid through one of their “War Communiques” and answered questions from reporters. The exiles said that their groups jointly “attacked a fortress-like Russian encampment” at the Cuban port using two high speed boats with machine guns, cannon and an undisclosed number of men.2

The communique maintained that because of the attack “fire was returned by the communist forces, from the coast guards, the custom house and the trenches of the Russian encampment.” The communique continued, “when the commandos moved to another part of the port, a Russian merchant ship, anchored in the bay, opened fire.” According to the exiles, the raiders “answered the fire” and their “first cannon shot hit the Russian ship’s stack. Machine guns and cannon shots were concentrated on the master bridge and the navigation line. As a result, the Russian ship was seriously damaged.” Veciana and Vasquez estimated the Russian casualties at “more than a dozen” while claiming the exile raiders had suffered only two minor casualties.3

Responding to reporters’ questions, Veciana and Vasquez were quick to note that they themselves had not participated in the attack but refused to name anyone who had. The stated purpose of the raid was to incite a popular uprising in Cuba that would overthrow the Castro regime. The men maintained that an estimated 15,000 Soviet personnel and 3000 troops remained on the island. Some of the troops were wearing Cuban Militia uniforms to disguise what the men termed the “Soviet takeover of Cuba.” The exile leaders said that the attack was not launched from the Bahamas, but rather from a secret base somewhere in the Caribbean.4 However, the CIA later determined that the raid was in fact launched from Riding Rocks Cay in the Bahamas.5 It should be noted that Veciana and Vasquez’s claim that they individually and Alpha 66 and SNFE organizationally were registered with the Department of Justice in compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act was proven to be false by an April 5th records search.6

Statements made years after the fact by Veciana regarding the March 19th press conference are trumpeted by theorists as “proof” of the CIA’s control of the exiles through Bishop. For instance, author James Douglass writes, “Antonio Veciana would admit years later to Gaeton Fonzi … that the purpose of the CIA-initiated attack on the Soviet vessel in Cuban waters was 'to publicly embarrass Kennedy and force him to move against Castro.'”7 While it is true that the exiles would undoubtedly have wanted JFK to move against Cuba, there is no evidence that the attack was “CIA initiated” and a document at the JFK Presidential Library offers another motive for the attack. According to the document, an unnamed “representative” of SNFE (undoubtedly Vasquez or Fleites) admitted that “one of the purposes of the raid was to stimulate contributions.”8 In an FBI interview conducted on the 21st, Veciana supported this assertion saying that Alpha 66 had “given out exaggerated stories so that contributions would be stimulated.” Veciana admitted to the bureau agents that the damage inflicted by the raiders was “slight” and that only five or six Russians had been wounded.9

In another dubious claim taken from Veciana’s statements, Fonzi writes that while Bishop was not present at the press conference, the ethereal mentor managed to arrange for two high-ranking Government officials to attend, one with the Department of Health and one with the Department of Agriculture. The presence of these unnamed officials supposedly gave the press conference “more legitimacy.”10 But, there is a great deal of evidence that contradicts this assertion. The first and most obvious is that the scenario described by Fonzi and Veciana would be in direct opposition to US government policy regarding the exile groups as articulated by JFK both in public and behind closed doors. As previously noted, JFK had detailed his policy privately during a meeting of Ex Comm the previous October.

Additionally, partly because of Soviet complaints over the latest raids, JFK had begun a very public marginalization of the exiles.11 As reported by the Associated Press on March 20th, the government went on record as being “strongly opposed to hit and run commando raids on Cuba by anti-Castro exiles.”12 The State Department maintained that “such raids do not weaken the grip of the Fidel Castro regime in Cuba. Indeed, they may strengthen it.” The State Department added that the latest incident “reinforces our belief that these irresponsible and ineffective forays serve to increase the difficulty of dealing with the unsatisfactory situation which now exists in the Caribbean.” The AP article concluded, “the US government is investigating fully to determine whether any violation of US law is involved.”13

In the March 20th New York Times article that described Veciana and Vasquez’s glorified version of the raid, Max Frankel reported that their “announcement caused great concern in the government and an agitated search for more information.” Frankel continued, “President Kennedy’s party in San Jose, Costa Rica [where he was attending a summit on Latin American affairs] was said to have telephoned several times during the day for reports on the situation.” Finally, the article stated, “most officials here were embarrassed by the [exile attacks] and were disapproving of such action in private as well as public comments.”14

Therefore, to believe Veciana’s claims as documented by Fonzi, you would have to think that the all-powerful Bishop, on his own initiative, somehow ordered two high-ranking government officials to attend a press conference jointly given by the representatives of anti-Castro organizations whose unauthorized hit and run raids were an embarrassment to JFK. You would also have to believe that the attendance of these two government officials inexplicably went unreported by the news media who could be expected to notice such an anomaly. Instead, the same reporters who were supposed to recognize the “legitimacy” that the alleged presence of these officials imparted on the proceedings, reported on the “embarrassed” and “disapproving” attitude of the JFK people they spoke to on and off the record. Finally, Frankel noted only that a “number of associates” accompanied Veciana and Vasquez. Presumably, Frankel could tell the difference between “associates” and “high-ranking government officials.”

Indeed, the identities of two of the men with Veciana are known. One was Dr. Herminio Portell Vila, a former teacher of Castro at the University of Havana and outspoken critic of his regime. Portell Vila, a noted Cuban historian, worked in Washington but not as a member of JFK’s administration. He was employed by the Voice of America and regularly wrote articles for media outlets such as the Copley News Service. Another individual with Veciana was Luis Felipe Duany, the former representative of Alpha 66 in Washington who likewise was not employed by the government.15 Portell Vila introduced the participants to the media, while Duany served as interpreter.16 Duany’s participation refutes another assertion from Veciana’s book when he claimed that he had, “deliberately used a government translator.”17

On March 31st, Kennedy vented his frustration with the exiles by issuing orders that placed 18 of them living in the Miami area under travel restrictions.18 At the very least, the exiles were ordered not to leave the United States19 but some, like Veciana, were not even permitted to leave Dade County.20 The notice received by Veciana and the others read:21

Please be advised that the provisions of Section 215 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and Presidential Proclamation No. 3004 dated Jan. 17th, 1953, relating to the departure of United States citizens and aliens from the United States are in force and effect. Failure to comply with this order or the unlawful transportation of a person whose departure is forbidden will subject you to a fine of $5000 or imprisonment for not more than five years or both. Penalties also include the seizure of any vessel or aircraft involved in such unlawful transportation. You are further advised that the conditions of your parole [note that "parole" is not used in the most common sense of the word] into the United States under Section 212(D)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act are hereby amended to provide that you are to remain within the land limits of Dade County, Florida and failure to comply with these conditions will result in the revocation of your parole.

In addition, the FBI and the Coast Guard were ordered to increase surveillance on the raiders. A prepared statement from the departments of State and Justice said in part, “the sympathy of this government and the American people is with those Cubans who hope to see their country freed from communist control. We understand that these raids reflect the deep frustration of men who want to get back to their homeland, to a Cuba that is independent. But this understanding does not mean that we are prepared to see our own laws violated with impunity or to tolerate activities which might provoke armed reprisals, the brunt of which would be borne by the armed forces of the United States.”22 Predictably, the exiles were not happy with JFK’s new mandate. Dagoverto Darias, chief of the Liberation Forces of Giron Beach, maintained that the orders, “convert us into enemies of the American Government more than of the very Communist Government of Cuba we are trying to fight.” The frustrated Darias also quipped, “It seems we in the United States are more closely guarded than those inside Cuba.”23

An April 1st CIA cable provided additional detail on the level of disgust shown by the exiles after the order, particularly by members of the JFK-backed CRC. The cable stated, “exile colony in uproar over notices to Cuban exile action leaders prohibiting travel outside Dade County.” The cable went on to say that the order was being interpreted as the beginning of “co-existence” with the Castro regime, an abhorrent concept for any loyal anti-Castroite. CRC leader José Miró was quoted as saying the situation was “critical” for the CRC and himself personally. Indeed, Miró would resign as head of the CRC by the 18th with an attack on JFK’s policy in the form of a 25-page statement published in the New York Times.24 Other noted exiles who voiced displeasure with the order in the CIA cable were Tony Varona (AMDIP-1) and Luis Conte Aguero (AMCORE-2).

Interestingly, Menoyo was not served with the order since he was at the SNFE base in the Bahamas at the time. Thus, he was able to continue his activities without fear of legal retribution by the JFK administration. This oversight was not noticed until October of 1963 when the Department of Justice requested that the INS belatedly serve Menoyo with the directive. Veciana was just as displeased as his fellow exiles by the edict and did not waste time looking for a way around it. Veciana’s primary concern was that the order prevented him from traveling to Puerto Rico where most of the Alpha 66 business was conducted.

Just before midnight on March 31st, Veciana arrived at the Columbus Hotel on Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard to meet with his Army Intelligence contact Captain Hubbard who was again identified as Harris in a report of the meeting. Hubbard had originally arranged to meet with two of Veciana’s counterparts, Andres Nazario and Angel Banos,25 and was no doubt surprised by his unscheduled appearance. The cautious Hubbard employed several counter-surveillance techniques including changing vehicles before finally renting a room to ensure privacy when speaking with the exiles and consequently the meeting took place in the early morning hours of April 1st.26

The details of the meeting show that Veciana and his Alpha 66/SNFE colleagues were working closely with Hubbard and Army Intelligence. Hubbard told the men to radio Menoyo at the Williams Island base in the Bahamas and tell him not to come to Miami until contacted. Nazario asked Hubbard for rations for the men at the base, but Hubbard told him that the men would have to go on reduced rations for the time being. The men told Hubbard that their respective groups were being pressured by the media to release a statement regarding the plans of the movement in the wake of the new US policies restricting exile operations. They asked Hubbard for assistance in drafting a statement that would say that their groups were suspending anti-Castro operations at the request of the Kennedy administration. However, the exiles were adamant that the statement should be written so that it would not be perceived as a total surrender by their groups.27

Dismissing Veciana’s immediate personal concern, Hubbard flatly told him that he or the government “was not in a position to assist him in gaining permission to enter Puerto Rico.” At a second meeting on the following day, Hubbard told the men that he could not help them with the requested statement of policy. Veciana assured Hubbard that while it was necessary for their groups to release the statement, it would be done on their own in an expeditious manner and the statement was indeed released on April 1st. In the final analysis, Veciana and his group, as was regularly the case, received no help from the Army with either rations for the Bahama raiders or the travel order against Veciana. This would be Veciana’s last documented contact with Hubbard.

The report of the meetings highlights Hubbard’s concern that the exile groups might think that he had purposely placed Menoyo in harm’s way since the British had conducted raids shortly after he told him to stay put at the Bahamas camp.28 Hubbard’s apprehension is understandable since it was widely reported that the British had acted on a tip from “US Officials.”29 Hubbard himself had played a part in the drama by drawing a map of the bases using the knowledge that he had obtained from his trip with Menoyo which likely occurred in November of 1962. According to Hubbard, the map was taken directly to JFK who was said to be “quite happy” with it. CIA chief McCone complimented ACSI and regretted that it was the Army rather than his agency that had supplied the coveted intelligence.

The raids Hubbard referred to occurred on March 31st at about the same time he was meeting with the three exile leaders. Hubbard was no doubt relieved to learn that the raid which was led by British authorities assisted by the US involved a group known as the Cuban Anti-Communist Army and not Menoyo’s SNFE. The 17 men arrested were led by an American adventurer named Jerry Buchanan. The raid was widely covered by the press since Buchanan’s brother was a reporter for the Pompano Beach Sun-Sentinel. The raiders were eventually released after it was determined they had broken no British laws, but the US had achieved the desired effect by halting the momentum of the exile group.30

Go to Chapter 16

The Bishop Hoax Table of Contents


1. Associated Press. “Anti-Castro Raiding Draws Blast From US.” Austin American-Statesman, March 20, 1963, 17.
2. Max Frankel. “Exiles Describe 2 New Cuba Raids.” The New York Times, March 20, 1963, 2.
3. UPI. “Cubans Tell of Latest Isle Raids.” Austin American-Statesman, March 20, 1963, 17.
4. FBI FOIA ALPHA-66 File #105-112098, Section 1-4, 180-183. These Freedom of Information Act compilations are available here.
5. Brown, Cuba’s Revolutionary World, 502.
6. FBI FOIA ALPHA-66 File #105-112098, Section 1-4, 183.
7. Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable. Kindle Edition, Chapter 2.
8. Papers of Robert F. Kennedy. Attorney General Papers. Attorney General’s Confidential File. 6-2-9: Cuba: Executive committee meetings: RFK notes and memos, 29 March 1963. RFKAG-215-010. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
9. FBI FOIA ALPHA-66 File #105-112098, Section 1-4, 125.
10. Fonzi, The Last Investigation, 132.
11. Brown, Cuba’s Revolutionary World, 175.
12. Theorists believe that Alpha 66 was funded and controlled by the CIA. Among the voluminous evidence (see Chapter 13) refuting that assertion is a statement by DCI McCone in a 1962 memorandum. “The President was informed by DCI that [the CIA has] no contact with or control over Alpha 66” (RIF 104-10306-10020).
13. Associated Press. “Anti-Castro Raiding Draws Blast From US.” Austin American-Statesman, March 20, 1963, 17.
14. Max Frankel. “Exiles Describe 2 New Cuba Raids.” The New York Times, March 20, 1963, 2.
15. Attended the press conference: “Malcolm Blunt DOD files,” RIF 180-10104-10394, 5. Portell Vila Biographical information: New York Times. “Herminio Portell Vila, historian.” Tampa Bay Times, January 17, 1992, 23. Wrote for Copley: “Person in Cuba Will Direct Revolt.” The San Bernardino County Sun, April 8, 1963, 6. Felipe Duany previously with ALPHA 66: FBI from WMFO to HQ, April 3, 1963. RIF 124-90107-10193.
16. FBI FOIA ALPHA-66 File #105-112098, Section 1-4, 180. The ARRB was aware of Veciana’s assertion that Bishop arranged for two government officials to attend the press conference and were interested in questioning him about this and other matters. Veciana refused to submit to questions before that body (see Chapter 29).
17. Veciana with Harrison, Trained to Kill, 120.
18. According to a review of JFK’s executive orders, he did not issue one in this instance. All that was necessary was to direct INS to notify the exiles that they were to obey the laws that were already on the books.
19. Associated Press. “Raiders Angered Over US Order.” Statesman Journal (Salem, Oregon), April 1, 1963, 1.
20. Fonzi, The Last Investigation, 136.
21. Paul Wilder. “Cuban Refugee Groups Vow to Keep Fighting.” The Tampa Tribune, April 10, 1963, 1.
22. “US Curbs Miami Exiles to prevent Raids on Cuba.” The New York Times, April 1, 1963, 1.
23. “Exiles Irked by Order.” The New York Times, April 1, 1963.
24. UPI. “Cuban Exile Chief Quits with Attack on Kennedy.” The New York Times, April 19, 1963, 1.
25. Banos was one of the original “McAllen Thirteen” who had defected to the US with Menoyo and would be active in Alpha 66/SNFE activities.
26. INSCOM/CSF Contact Report, April 9, 1963. RIF 194-10003-10411. In a May 1976 interview with Fonzi Veciana described a similar encounter near the Columbus Hotel on Biscayne. This time the meeting was “on the street” and not in a hotel room as Hubbard described. The encounter was between Veciana and two men one of whom was “Joe” (presumably Joe Kent which was possibly a pseudonym) a likely Army Intelligence contact. Kent and the other man were interested in seeing the Alpha 66/SNFE Bahamas base. Veciana also talked about Kent taking him to immigration to get around JFK’s travel order. In this document, Veciana denies knowing “Patrick Harris” which was Hubbard’s pseudonym (RIF 180-10104-10406).
27. INSCOM/CSF Contact Report, April 9, 1963. RIF 194-10003-10411. The code name AUTOBOAT is used in the report of this meeting and several other documents related to Veciana and his Army Intelligence interaction. While it is undetermined what AUTOBOAT refers to, a careful reading of the documents reveals a few facts. First, AUTOBOAT is based in Puerto Rico as RIF 194-10003-10422 shows. That document is from Colonel J.E. Boyt who was the commander of Detachment A (which in turn was under Army Chief Staff for Intelligence) and is to the Chief of AUTOBOAT, San Juan Puerto Rico. Thus, it appears AUTOBOAT is related to a government agency (rather than an individual) based in San Juan. Supporting this argument is the statement from Hubbard’s report that “throughout this meeting, the II Front was of the opinion that AUTOBOAT had not betrayed the II Front’s trust by reporting the locations of their bases. In fact, the II Front repeatedly expressed their feelings of good fortune to have finally found a US agency that [they] could trust” (emphasis added). It is likely then that AUTOBOAT was the ACSI station in San Juan or an intelligence network or other special project being managed by that station.
28. INSCOM/CSF Contact Report, April 9, 1963. RIF 194-10003-10411.
29. Associated Press. “British Seize 17 Anti-Castro Raiders.” The Tampa Tribune, April 2, 1963, 1.
30. Associated Press. “British Seize 17 Anti-Castro Raiders.” The Tampa Tribune, April 2, 1963, 1.


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