16. “A Second War for Independence”

Title Quote: Antonio Veciana

In a move partly brought on by the JFK crackdown and the diminished influence of the CRC, the MRP voted on April 13th to merge with Alpha 66/SNFE. The merger became official on May 19th, when an agreement was signed in Tampa.1 A minor group called the Front of Anti-Communist Liberation (FAL) also joined the freshly minted organization.2 The new Alpha 66/SNFE/MRP conglomeration preferred to call themselves the “Alianza Revolucionaria” or Revolutionary Alliance. For the sake of convenience, the combined Alpha 66/SNFE/MRP organization will be referred to hereafter as “the alliance.”

Notably, some changes were made because of the merger. Cecilio Vazquez of SNFE and Carlos Penin of the MRP were placed in charge of propaganda. The members of the alliance agreed not to become involved with “any activity without previous consultation with and approval of the remaining organizations of the group.” Provisions were made for the allocation of funds and for the recruitment of other organizations into the alliance. Unsurprisingly, Menoyo was named as the military director of the group. This appointment meant that Menoyo continued his effective control of the organization since the group could not function in any meaningful way without the raids by him and his men.

Fund raising, while always a necessary function, took on added importance for the new alliance highlighted by the participation of Menoyo himself. The alliance leader arrived in New York on May 19th and appeared at a fund-raising rally the same day. According to an FBI report, Menoyo was expected to remain in the New York area for approximately a month. While there, Menoyo met with Manuel Ray in hopes of reaching an agreement with the latter’s group JURE. Menoyo also reportedly had a new idea to raise money called “Dollars for Liberty.” This scheme involved the distribution of posters displaying a dead soldier on a beach with the caption, “American mothers, do you want your son to wind up on a Cuban beach? Support and give dollars for liberty.”3

In a speech before the Lions Club in Miami on June 10th, Veciana alluded to a shift in strategy for the alliance. “Slowly our tactics will be changed,” Veciana said. The alliance leader promised that the group would move emphasis from commando raids to an aggressive “second war for independence” inside the island nation. “During the first war of independence” Veciana concluded, “there were 279,000 Spanish soldiers in Cuba, many more than the Russian troops there now. Yet bands of enslaved men with machetes won freedom.”4

The change in strategy Veciana spoke of would come to be known as Plan Omega. The fund-raising slogan for the movement was “El Plan Omega está en marcha” which in English means “The Omega Plan is in motion.” But this scheme to place a guerrilla force inside Cuba was more than just a new tactic. It was an admission by the alliance that the swift-boat raids which served the purpose of raising funds for the group, had no real hope of toppling the Castro regime. Plan Omega was an all or nothing gamble by the alliance, a last-ditch effort to rid the world of the Castro menace.

On July 3rd alliance leader Amaury Fraginals, a former Cuban labor boss, outlined an early version of the plan to an FBI informant:

  • Reorganization and arming of guerrilla groups throughout Cuba to be led by local men who know their area.
  • Incessant guerrilla attacks against Russian bases, the Cuban Army and militia.
  • Coordination and control of a general insurrection.

As the strategy for Plan Omega was developed behind the scenes, two more alliance raids were foiled on successive days. On July 7th, 13 raiders were stopped at Bahia Honda State Park near Marathon, Florida before they could launch. The following day, Customs agents spotted three exiles loading weapons and supplies abord a 25-foot twin-engine catamaran. The men were questioned and released but their weapons and the boat were seized. On July 15th, in what must have been a heady experience for a man with humble beginnings, Veciana met with the former President of Nicaragua, Luis Somoza. However, Veciana was disappointed by Somoza’s offer of only a training base in his country for the alliance. Veciana told a leader of the MRP that the alliance had no plans to accept the offer since they could train men as easily in the United States as in Nicaragua.

In August and September, a remarkable series of reports from an FBI informant inside the alliance illuminated the behind-the-scenes activity of the group. A document setting forth the “aims and objectives” of the group was made available by the informant. Those objectives included:5

  • Restoration of democracy and human rights and the repudiation of dictatorships and tyrannies.
  • Reestablishments of the Cuban Constitution of 1940.
  • Free elections.
  • Effective agrarian reform.
  • Recognition of the victories obtained by labor unions.
  • Recognition and respect of private property and the free enterprise system.
  • Establishment of compulsory military service.
  • Denunciation of treaties with the Soviet Union.
  • Freedom of education including autonomous universities.
  • Low-cost housing for those in need.
  • Outlawing of communism.
  • Institution of religious freedom.
  • Liberation of Cuba from the “Castro-communist” dictatorship.

On August 7th, Veciana attended a meeting on Plan Omega during which Menoyo identified and critiqued potential landing points for a guerrilla force in Cuba. The first was on the northern coast of Las Villas Province, where Menoyo felt the locals would be amenable to an uprising. While Menoyo believed that Cuba’s southern coast was of “great importance,” he deemed that the area “would not be useful” as a landing point because of the distance from prospective launching areas. Menoyo stated that it was of “vital importance” to have a secret place near Cuba to serve as a “springboard” for the invasion. Equally necessary would be specially packaged food supplies and sufficient ammunition to carry out the plan.

On August 10th, Veciana tried his hand at an occupation that would play heavily in his future endeavors—sports promoter. That night, he sponsored a boxing match in San Juan between Cuban fighter Florentino Fernandez and New York native Randy Sandy. The proceeds from the fight were to be turned over “personally” to Menoyo who had received a special invitation from the SNFE delegation in Puerto Rico. Fernandez, who was originally scheduled to fight the tougher Luis Rodriguez, beat Sandy on a TKO.6

It was not unusual for Veciana to exaggerate the capabilities of the alliance to keep a flow of cash coming into the organization. But he went over the line when he began telling people that the alliance had started their own Air Force. At a meeting on August 24th, Veciana told an FBI informant that the alliance had obtained a “T-6 military” aircraft for use in raids against Cuba. The bureau investigated and found that although two Alpha 66 members were allegedly helping to pay for the plane, it really belonged to an American citizen named Jose Martinez. The Alpha 66 men told the FBI that the plane was to be used by the trio for flying lessons and was never intended to be employed in raids against Cuba. Finally, the men pointed out the impracticality of such a scheme since Cuba was 3,000 miles away from California where the plane was located.7

On September 6th, Menoyo was interviewed by the FBI in his Miami home. Menoyo told the bureau that his recent discussions with Manuel Ray regarding the unification of JURE with the alliance had not been productive and he did not foresee that circumstance changing anytime soon. Menoyo stated that all the activities of the alliance were with the goal of the elimination of Castro and communism in Cuba. Menoyo admitted that the swift boat raids against Cuba were primarily conducted as a fund-raising mechanism for a “more serious military action.” Menoyo added that he hoped to carry out such an action within the next six months. Similarly, Menoyo told the Miami Herald that the raids had given a “psychological lift” to the anti-Castro movement but it was time for a new strategy, one like that employed by Castro himself.

On November 22nd, JFK was assassinated. Reaction from the exile groups was mostly muted. One newspaper report based on unnamed “refugee sources” maintained that JFK was “working through secret channels” to help the exiles overthrow Castro. The article cited a Kennedy speech that stated that Cuba would gain its freedom and “the record will show the United States played a significant role.”8

The alliance forged ahead with Plan Omega, at least publicly. In what may have been the first report of an alleged date for Plan Omega, Andres Nazario told an FBI informant that the project would be instituted “before November 30th.” On December 10th, Veciana sent out a form letter to exiles in the Miami area urging them to meet their “monthly quota” since an “important military action” was imminent.

But behind the scenes, at least some exiles were skeptical or even dismissive of Plan Omega. Joaquin Godoy, an MRP member and friend of both Veciana and Menoyo, told the FBI that the alliance “continues to speak of [an] eventual return” to Cuba. However, Godoy went on to admit that most alliance members were “gainfully employed and are not preparing for any invasion.” Godoy concluded that the attitude within the alliance was to “collect money and wait for the time when they will be able to return to Cuba.” A second FBI informant echoed Godoy’s sentiments saying that although Menoyo claimed he would be in Cuba by December, the alliance had no military plans in place. The informant explained that the promotion of Plan Omega was “the basis used by the organization for fund-raising activity.”

Despite the apparent reality, the alliance was nevertheless optimistic as the year ended. On December 28th, Nazario told a gathering of seven exile groups at the Cherry Plaza Hotel in Orlando that Plan Omega would occur “In the very near future—definitely in the first part of 1964.” Nazario maintained that 1964 was “the year for getting rid of Castro,” and Plan Omega was the mechanism to accomplish that goal. The plan would employ “small groups throughout the island” coordinating the revolutionary activities of “farmers and students and all Cubans” Nazario promised.9 Similarly, Armando Fleites was quoted in the Tallahassee Democrat as saying that the “secret” Plan Omega would be the “first phase of the war of liberation.”10

Go to Chapter 17

The Bishop Hoax Table of Contents


1. FBI FOIA ALPHA-66 File #105-112098, Section 9-11, 202. These Freedom of Information Act compilations are available here.
2. RIF 124-10280-10004, 11. Veciana once called FAL “inconsequential.” FAL later left the alliance.
3. FBI Document, June 9, 1963, 7. RIF 124-10223-10095. The “Dollars for Liberty” campaign ultimately took the form of “A Dollar for Freedom” flyers sent by mail to prospective donors that were signed by Fleites, Veciana and Carlos Penin (RIF 124-90036-10073, 12).
4. Associated Press, “Four Could Take Cuba, Exile Says.” Orlando Evening Star, June 10, 1963, 4.
5. The summary given here is a combination of the goals presented by the alliance in August and those made after the unity vote in May.
6. FBI Report on Angel Santos Bush, August 28, 1963, 16-17. RIF 124-90036-10073; BoxRec.com. An October baseball game using Cuban players was planned by Veciana to raise funds but eventually fell through (RIF 124-10306-10071, 23).
7. FBI Report of William Mayo Drew, February 11, 1964, 11-12. RIF 124-10280-10002. Gossip surrounding this incident may be the source of information that Veciana rented two planes from future Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis. According to an FBI informant, Veciana obtained the planes from Sturgis for the purpose of conducting raids on Cuba in early September. Sturgis was to supply one of the pilots and Alpha 66 the other. No such raids ever occurred (RIF 124-10280-10004, 18).
8. Theodore A. Ediger. “Castro’s Enemies Predict Year of War Inside Cuba.” Tallahassee Democrat, January 1, 1964, 14.
9. Kurt Voss, “Plan Omega Means War for Castro.” The Orlando Sentinel, December 29, 1963, 3.
10. Theodore A. Ediger, “Castro’s Enemies Predict Year of War Inside Cuba.” Tallahassee Democrat, January 1, 1964, 14.


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