Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Mexico’s Secret Kennedy Assassination File

The Real New Document Release
Researcher at the Mexico City Archives (Photos: AFP) 
Long ago, I came to the conclusion that the most important unanswered questions in the JFK case revolve around Lee Harvey Oswald’s September 1963 excursion to Mexico City, seven weeks before he killed the President.
The most important of those questions concern the possible foreknowledge of Cuban intelligence operatives regarding Oswald’s murderous plans.
There have been many sources over the years that claimed to have witnessed Oswald’s liaisons with Havana’s G2 espionage service. I personally find many of them credible. I wrote about them in my 2008 book, Brothers in Arms: The Kennedys, The Castros, and the Politics of Murder, with co-author Stephen Molton.
In 2005, I co-wrote the international documentary, Rendezvous with Death, with the terrific German investigator Wilfried Huismann. For over a year, our team filmed intelligence sources in five countries, with a concentration in Mexico City.
There we found many new witnesses with first-hand information about Oswald’s interactions with Cubans in Mexico – again, all described in Brothers. Since its publication, authors Philip Shenon and Brian Latell have located even more key sources for this story.
A Mexican investigation
It has long been known that Mexico conducted its own investigation into the assassination, but has, until recently, kept its records from public view. Even the National Archives was unable to obtain them under the JFK Act.
The reason is simple: the person responsible for creating the Mexican JFK file was none other than Fernando Gutierrez Barrios (1927-2000), chief of the brutal Direccion Federal de Seguridad (DFS) – or Mexican secret police.
Here’s where things get interesting. In 1956, Barrios was the leader of a raid that captured Fidel Castro, his brother Raul, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, and two dozen other revolutionaries in Mexico on extradition orders from Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. An unlikely friendship developed between Fidel and Barrios. Later, when Fidel Castro seized power in Havana, he and Barrios came to an understanding. Castro agreed not to export his revolution to Mexico and in return Barrios agreed to shield the Cubans from their adversaries and feed useful information to Castro’s new intelligence agency, the G2.
When Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested in Dallas and evidence of his travel to Mexico City seven weeks earlier was realized, Mexican police arrested Cuban consulate secretary Sylvia Duran, who interacted with Oswald at the embassy (and reportedly outside her workplace); and later, Nicaraguan Gilberto Alvarado Ugarte, who claimed to have witnessed Oswald being paid by a “red haired Negro” outside the Cuban Embassy.
Guess who CIA Mexico City Station Chief Winston “Win” Scott used as a confidential source (codenamed: LI-TEMPO-4) to interrogate Duran and Alvarado?
Fernando Gutierrez Barrios
Mexican DFS Chief Barrios was not only in-charge of the interrogations, but was in position to feed the American CIA information while keeping his good friend, Fidel Castro, informed of what was happening.
Eventually, Barrios’ massive classified Oswald file was entrusted to his protégé Vincent Capello and stored in Mexico City’s ‘Archivo General’.
Unlike the U.S. National Archives, where researchers can view holdings at their leisure, Capello’s sole, explicit permission is needed to gain access to the Barrios archive and he appears to dole out that permission on a whim.
In 2005, after almost a year of dialogue (and frankly, begging), our Rendezvous team was granted a few minutes with some of those secret files. Four boxes of material were brought out by Capello. Among the files, the Rendezvous team spotted arrest photos of Sylvia Duran (some showing her face bruised), and photographs of a slim Cuban, swarthy, with curly hair and “Negroid” features. The hair color was not apparent – the photo was in black and white – but written in the margins of the photo were the words: “Pelirrojo, agent of the G2”. Pelirrojo means red-haired.
“Who is he?” we asked.
“I don’t know,” Capello snapped, hastily locking the carton.
When our film crew returned the next day to film some of the files for the Rendezvous documentary, we were refused access to the Archive. Ever since, I’ve continued to pursue those records.
Mexican Oswald File download
In 2016, Mexico’s intelligence services declassified 110-pages from the Oswald file, though it remained inaccessible.
Three years later, in March, 2019, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador apologized for past abuses committed by the Mexican intelligence agencies and ordered the spy agencies to open their files – 12-million in all – including the 110-page declassified Oswald file.
With the help of associates in Mexico City who were dogged in their months-long petitioning of the Mexican archivist, I was able to obtain a copy of the 110-pages (a small percentage of what we saw in 2005) of their Spanish language file.
Pages from the Oswald file at the Mexico City Archives 
Those pages are available for the first time, HERE. (110-pages + cover/title; PDF format – 35 MB)
If someone manages to get them translated, I trust they will share them with all of us. Merry Christmas! [END]


Dale K. Myers said...

Private messages are not allowed on this blog. Anyone wishing to communicate directly with Mr. Russo can send their email address to: and it will be passed along to him. (No guarantee that he will respond.)

Dale K. Myers said...

Send to: webmaster@oakcliffpress.com;

Barry Ryder said...

Personally, I believe that the story of Oswald receiving money is bogus.

Firstly; The story is nothing more than the allegations and accusations of others. These ‘others’ are all part of the impenetrable world of State Security and espionage. It seems to me that many of these sources would have had reasons - personal and professional - to lie about Oswald’s interactions. Indeed, Ugarte retracted his allegation and told the Mexican Police why he’d fabricated it in the first place. He was clearly a man whose claims needed to be treated with great caution.

People such as Ugarte are professional deceivers who all have agendas to mislead. The stories that they tell are self-serving and are designed to offer tempting morsels to those who are hungry for information.

Intelligence operatives of all sides manage to bamboozle each other and I fear that misleading researchers and writers would be child’s-play for them. No matter how diligent and sincere a researcher may be, I doubt that they would be any match for an intelligence operative that is intent on deception.

When considering the likelihood of Oswald receiving a large sum of money - reportedly $6,500 - we should ask ourselves, ‘what did Oswald do with this huge amount?’

There is no evidence that his personal finances got a large boost (or any boost at all) following his September trip.

Had he actually received a payment, we might have expected him to have invested in a better quality rifle – but he didn’t. He could have quit his desperate search for work – but he didn’t. He could have provided for the immediate future of his wife and children – but he didn’t. He could have laid elaborate plans for his escape – but didn’t.

Instead, he returns to Dallas and takes a manual labour job which pays $1.25 an hour ($2,600 a year.) To me, this is not the action of a man who has just been given more money than he has ever seen in his life.

The reasons that I’m giving here are all things that ‘didn’t happen’ of course. I don’t suggest that they amount to proofs of things that ‘did happen’. I suggest them in the way of ‘The Dog That Didn’t Bark’. This is the premise that the absence of certain facts can often have meaning and importance.

I find Oswald’s lack of affluence to be far more compelling than the un-sworn allegations of people who had vested interests in laying the blame at Castro’s door.

Barry Ryder

ronmac said...

Sometimes I wonder if the fascination with Oswald’s trip to Mexico City is much to do about nothing. It seems Oswald was one of many Americans who travelled to Mexico City to get travel visas so turning up at the Cuban embassy was not that unusual. At the time travel between the US and Cuba was prohibited so visitors had to go through a third country to get visas, most commonly Mexico.

No doubt the CIA had the embassy under surveillance and were collecting files on lots of American citizens who turned up there. With a steady stream of people turning up at the embassy gates why would anyone zero in on Oswald.

Jim Johnston said...

Oswald's trip to Mexico City, and the Mexican law enforcement files on his visit, are important for a number of reasons. I'll just name a few. First, it marked a significant change in Oswald's life. He moved from New Orleans to Dallas where he lived alone, whereas he had been living with his wife. He didn't want his wife to know where he lived in Dallas. Second, Oswald apparently went to Mexico City hoping to go to Cuba, but although the Cubans then would generally welcome any American for propaganda purposes, they allegedly refused to give him a visa. Third, the Mexican consulate with whom he met returned to Cuba four days before Kennedy's assassination. Fourth, hearing from the Cubans that he could get an "in transit" visa to Cuba if he had a Russian visa, Oswald went to the Soviet consulate where he met with Valery Kostikov who was in Department 13 of the KGB which deals in assassination and sabotage. After the assassination, the Soviets speculated that Oswald's being sent to the Soviet consulate was a provocation. Presumably, this meant the Soviets thought someone had sent Oswald to their consulate for the purpose of placing blame on them.
The Warren Commission staff went to Mexico City in April 1964 and talked to Mexican law enforcement. They drafted a letter for the State Department to send to Mexico asking for the Mexican records, but the letter was never sent, and the Warren Commission did not acquire any records from the Mexican government. By making some of the Mexican files available, Gus Russo lets the American public see for the first time the actual records of parts of the investigation into the assassination by Mexican authorities.

Anonymous said...

Didn’t J. Edgar Hoover tell LBJ during a phone call a day or two after the assassination that the photo and voice recording of the supposed Oswald that visited the Cuban and Soviet embassies did not match Lee Harvey Oswald?

What happened to these recordings and photos?

Dale K. Myers said...

Turns out there was no recording (it had been routinely erased and used again), but there was a transcript. The photo was of a burly-looking man who was clearly not Oswald. It was guessed by the CIA Station in Mexico City that the photo might be Oswald since it was taken by surveillance cameras during the period that Oswald visited the Soviet embassy. At the time (before the assassination), the CIA Station in Mexico City didn't have a photo of Oswald to make a comparison. Director Hoover made more than one factual error during the early phone calls with LBJ. The one regarding the photo and recordings was one of them. In the decades since, there are many documents that have been released that describe what really happened. There is not enough space here to go into all of the details. Try searching document sites like the Mary Ferrell Foundation for more raw info.

Barry Ryder said...

A good presentation of some of Hoover's early-day blunders can be found in Max Holland's 'The Kennedy Assassination Tapes'(Knopf, 2004) pp 68-73.

Holland uses transcripts of the call between LBJ and Hoover to show that Hoover was mistaken about many facts and was trying hard to ingratiate himself - at the expense of the DPD - to the new President. Hoover was a self-serving, career bureaucrat, not a lawman.
Among his many goofs were: that the DPD's evidence against Oswald was "..not very, very strong..", in truth, it was very strong indeed. Hoover believed that 'A. Hidell was a woman. He told LBJ that the one, full bullet recovered was found, "..on the stretcher that the president was on..". It wasn't. He believed that it had "..fallen out [of the President] when they massaged his heart..". It didn't. Hoover believed that Oswald was living with his mother - he wasn't. Incredibly, Hoover believed that Officer Tippit had been killed in a "..gun battle.." at the Texas Theatre.

Barry Ryder (London)

Jim Johnston said...

Here is the transcript.
Although Hoover says A. Hidell was a woman at first, he later says it was an alias Oswald uses, so there was probably a transcription error in using the word "woman." The Secret Service was at Parkland Hospital, so the information about the bullet probably came from them. The bullet came from Connolly's stretcher. Since LBJ was at the hospital when all this happened with plenty of Secret Service, he probably knew more than Hoover about what had been going on there. Indeed, the Secret Service did its own investigation in Dallas until Hoover apparently objected.
The claim that Dallas police didn't feel it had a solid case against Oswald was true at this time. He was indicted for the murder of Officer Tippit for that reason.

Anonymous said...

That raises the question of what led investigators to believe Oswald visited Mexico City in the first place? The Mexico City trip preceded the assassination by 7 weeks which would be plenty of time to confirm Oswald’s identity. Oswald’s interrogators had this information within 24 hours of the assassination. It’s hard to believe that the interrogators would ask Oswald about the trip to Mexico City without a basis and that the physical evidence would be erased/destroyed, particularly for an American who had previously defected to the USSR.

Barry Ryder said...

Two points arising from above comment:

The call between LBJ and Hoover was made at 10:01 am. on Saturday, 23 rd. Bear this in mind when considering the following:

1) Hoover said that A Hidell was a woman and later adds that the name was an alias used by Oswald. At no point does he suggest that Hidell is a man.

2) Your final sentence is grossly misleading.

a) Oswald had been charged with the assassination by the time that this call was made. Therefore, Hoover's assessment was wholly inaccurate and palpably untrue.

b) It wasn't the DPD who felt that the case against Oswald wasn't, "..very, very strong.." as you suggest; it was Hoover. Oswald had been charged with both murders by the time Hoover was speaking. The DPD clearly felt that the evidence was strong.

Barry Ryder (London)

Jim Johnston said...

In response to anonymous, the intelligence agencies knew before the assassination that Oswald had been in Mexico City trying to get to Cuba. They just didn't know that the man who was photographed outside the Soviet embassy wasn't Oswald. That's why people feel the FBI was a clown act in handling the Oswald security case. It was illegal for American citizens to go to Cuba, and Oswald was already supposed to be watched because he had defected to the Soviet Union. But the FBI was asleep at the switch.
With respect to the Hoover/LBJ phone call, I don't understand why you place any emphasis at all on a transcription that says "woman" instead of "man." There is no document that I know of that says the FBI believed A. Hidell was a woman. In fact, Oswald had a forged draft card with the name AleK James Hidell" on his person when he was arrested, so the Dallas police certainly didn't think Hidell was a woman.
Hoover says in the phone call it was an alias that Oswald was using. The definition of alias is "an assumed or additional name that a person (such as a criminal) sometimes uses." That's all Hoover is saying in the phone call.
As for the case against Oswald the morning after the assassination, it was very weak. He would not have been convicted on the evidence they had then. Texas authorities charged him with Tippit's murder because they had eye witnesses to that. The only thing they had on Oswald was that he worked in the Texas School Book Depository, he left after the assassination, he killed a policeman, and he owned the rifle that was found on the sixth floor. That evidence would not have convicted him. One purpose of the Warren Commission was to be judge and jury in a trial of Oswald that could not take place because he was dead. And yet many people today don't believe the Warren Commission's conclusion that Oswald was the assassin.

Barry Ryder said...


Hoover is quoted as using the word “woman”. If he was accurately quoted - which I think he was - then he was wrong. Given that he was wrong about so many other things, I don't think that it's a great leap to conclude that he was wrong on this matter.

I did not suggest that the DPD thought that Hidell was a woman. What the DPD thought about the alias is not the issue; what Hoover is quoted as saying is.

What you think of the evidence against Oswald is your opinion and you are entitled to hold and express it. However, the only opinions that matter are those of the DPD. The issue is how strong the DPD thought that the evidence was as opposed to Hoover’s description of it.

If you can find any example of Curry, Fritz, Day or Holmes expressing doubts or uncertainty about the strength of the evidence gathered in the first 24 hours, I’d be grateful if you could post it here.

What you think of the case overall and what Oswald’s chances might have been in front of a jury is, again, your opinion.

Barry Ryder

Dale K. Myers said...

No, let's not post it here. This is all way off topic. If anyone wants to comment on the Mexico City Police files discussed in this blog article, great. Otherwise, take this current back-and-forth to any one of a half-dozen forums discussing the JFK case, post a link to this blog article, and have at it. Thanks.