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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 15, 1961


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    A military intelligence report from the Government of Cuba describing U.S. military and diplomatic intentions in Cuba.
    "Cuban Intelligence Report," April 15, 1961, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Released by Cuban Government for 22-24 March 2001 conference (“Bay of Pigs: 40 Years After”) in Havana. Translated for CWIHP by Christopher Dunlap.
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15 April 1961

 “Year of Education”

From Director, Tec. O. [Infantry] G-2

To: Commander Ramiro Valdés Menéndez, Chief of Department of [Infantry] G-2, Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces [MinFAR]

In Washington, meetings and exchanges of opinions [took place] between public officials in the Department of State, the White House, the CIA, and the Pentagon, but there were no common, unanimous views with regard to Cuba. Opinions were divided into two families, each one of which included its reasoning and conclusions. Ultimately, it had to be [US President John F.] Kennedy himself who would say the last word and approve one of the two plans.

The CIA and some elements of the Department of State and Pentagon maintained the stance that the most auspicious plan to overthrow the government of Cuba must be launching one invasion on a grand scale using mercenaries trained in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Florida, and other places.

Other officials of the Department of State, Pentagon and some advisers to Kennedy expressed their dissent from this plan, pointed out its risks and advocated another, consistent with the idea of introducing in Cuba relatively small groups in various locations, acting from inside and in contact with groups of clandestine resistance, which would be able to bring about the conditions for an “internal uprising” and general strike that would begin on a predetermined date.

The counterrevolutionary groups, mere peons of imperialism, have neared one of the two positions as well.

[Part of line excised][1] affirmed that Kennedy’s advisers were divided. While the CIA applied pressure to the President to support an invasion with bases in Florida and Guatemala, a position that was shared by some officials in the Department of State, other members of the White House and the same Department of State exhorted Kennedy to not act hurriedly, because this decision would have to end the matter. [Marker bleed-through for approximately 3 lines] Already in the past month of March, [heavy black excision line through next line with bleed-through over the rest] had brought up the points of view of the MRF, who discarded the “grand invasion” and trusted instead in a “popular insurrection” as the best form of bringing down our government.

This project of the MRP put forth by [Ramón] Barquín, in front of his masters at the Pentagon, also contemplated the acceptance of a final plan of action by all clandestine groups, that is, enacting a “general strike” and “internal uprising” on a determined date across the entire island.

In the first few days of the present month of April, Kennedy and his advisers in Washington made a decision: they rejected the plan for one large-scale invasion and agreed on another idea, that is, dividing the invasion among multiple command landings, where groups would move between small combat units and [large] batallions of 500-600 men, which would then act in coordination with clandestine sabotage and terrorism groups.

In this way, they hope to stir up internal difficulties, divide the Government’s attention, and hinder the effective use of the Militias and Rebel Army forces against them.

The creation of small “liberated territories” that they would later try to expand into wider zones figures into their calculations.

Also, their plans consider the establishment of a “government in arms” in the most propitious of the “liberated territories” that they will come to occupy, which would immediately seek recognition from the United States, and from the other countries who have severed diplomatic relations with Cuba, like Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru, etc.

As they calculate, then, this recognition will not be followed by intervention – “a word so unpleasant to Latin America,” but rather military aid and all forms of support of this same “government in arms.”

Possibly this aid would not be facilitated by the United States but rather, for example, by Guatemala itself, whose government would send the majority of the trained mercenaries from their camps, the matter thus appearing to be something between Latin American governments, unconnected (?) to the government in Washington.[2]

In this manner, it seems [excision or marker bleed-through] facing them[3] with principles of non-intervention and the free determination of peoples, which until now has been exercised in Latin America with interventionist aims against Cuba.

[Part of line excised] have discarded the idea of sending one large invasion because it would lay bare to America and the world the flagrant intervention of the government of the United States against the Cuban people, whereas sending small units to multiple locations now[4] combined with the intervention of sabotage and terrorist groups, could imply that this was a matter to be decided among Cubans. And if as a result of this activity the “puppet government” is established in a place inside Cuba, they believe it will not be difficult to “demonstrate” to Latin American opinion that this “government” is the product of struggle by Cubans against Castro, that Washington has nothing to do with it.

Furthermore, it has been estimated that this “puppet government” would be recognized immediately by countries that have broken relations with Cuba, the United States among them, and for example, after [one or two words illegible by marker bleed through] puppet [Miguel] Ydígoras [Fuentes of Guatemala] – they have recognized they can send the invasion force of mercenaries that train there as assistance to the request that [Cuban Revolutionary Council head José] Miró Cardona made.

And if, in the struggle, the mercenaries perceive themselves to be in a hurry, the possibility of more direct assistance from the United States cannot be discounted, which would be considered then not as an intervention but as help for the [illegible from date on declassified stamp] of the puppet government of Miró.

There is a significant fact: [approximately ¾ of one line excised] reported from Miami that on 5 April, orders of mobilization had been given to the mercenaries on bases in Florida and Louisiana, who then left on ships and planes for regions of the Caribbean and Central America, and added that patrol boats had been constantly entering into and exiting from Florida ports in the last few days, in transport missions to Central America.

[informant’s name excised] also said that this operation had been coordinated by José Miró Cardona as chief of the “[Cuban] Revolutionary Council.”

This constant transfer of mercenaries and weapons carried out in full daylight and almost in view of everyone, led to the belief that an invasion against Cuba was beginning. Some were so convinced that special reporters started to arrive in Miami from all Yankee and Spanish publication organizations in anticipation of the sensational news of the invasion.

However, [a few words excised] it was known that was not the prelude to the invasion, but a mobilization of the mercenaries from the FRD and other groups in American territory toward Central America, with the goal of preparing them to infiltrate Cuba from Guatemala and other locations far from Yankee soil, in order that they would unite with sabotage and diversion groups that they presume to be placed here.

About this mobilization it was said [approximately 3 lines excised] those knowledgeable of what is happening report that this mobilization is not for an invasion, but to reinforce guerrillas that number more than eight thousand men, found operating in the Sierra Maestra, Sierra Cristal, and the Sierra del Escambray.

It is quite possible that this mercenary mobilization and others to insert them into Cuba as a group are being done with the aim of not moving the bulk of them from Guatemala and Nicaragua, to keep them in reserve and move them only when the Miró puppet government asks for assistance from other countries.

Of course, [a few words excised] that the plan they agreed to would give power to Miró in its first phase: with only assistance of multiple command groups, and the sabotage groups, the “general strike” and the “internal uprising” without needing to make use of the second part of the plan—sending the mercenaries as assistance from Guatemala and Nicaragua. It would please Washington much less to find itself needing to come partially to the aid of these mercenaries, “sheared” or “fleeced” in Cuban territory.

[Illegible, bleed-through] possibility of [illegible, possibly “remitir” = “send or transfer”] in case a [bleed-through, illegible 2-3 words] scale contemplated by the same Miró Cardona when, speaking a few days ago in New York, he stated that an invasion on the part of the anti-Castro exiles was not being planned for now, it is not part of our plans at the moment, but if it is necessary there will be an invasion.

As it is known, Miró made a “call to arms” indicating three phases that they are considering to overturn the Cuban Revolution:

Organization of liberation forces in exile.

An offensive proceeding from the mountains and cities of Cuba.

Establishment of a provisional government in Cuban territory.

When journalists asked him where his exile army was training, Miró categorically denied that they were training in Guatemala, where he said only Guatemalans trained, which had been “clarified” by Idígoras’ [Ydigoras’] government. He concluded by saying “I cannot speak of our future plans because they are plans for war.”

[Before?][5] the 13th Miró Cardona and Tony Varona continued to make statements in New York, which reflected the points of view of their Yankee masters. Miró said: “The United States is not lending any hand to the counterrevolution in Cuba.” Varona stated, “There will be no invasion of Cuba from any place, let alone the United States,” and added that the struggle “would emerge from within Cuba, by the Cubans themselves.” Another swine of lesser importance, Sergio Alcacho, representative of the FRD in New Orleans, also said: “The forces that will invade Cuba are not trained in the United States.”

According to [3-4 lines excised] they have arrived at the conclusion “that an invasion directed toward one point could only be a risky enterprise, the failure of which would deliver a tremendous blow to all the plans to overthrow Castro’s regime.” Additionally, “from the political point of view, this invasion would create (in Latin America) the impression that external intervention was taking place.”

He concludes by saying [several words excised] “the acceptance of the strategy of multiple attacks constitutes a vindication for the MRP [Revolutionary Movement of the People]” (which approved this aggression plan).

[Name excised] also said that “Ray has strongly advocated for the theory that the subterranean movement must bear the bulk of the fight against the regime,” adding that the MRP operates closely linked with the “November 30th Movement” and with elements of the MRR (Movement for the Revival of the Revolution).

In a New York Times editorial on the 11th day of the present month [April 1961], following the guidelines of the Department of State, he reported that “the Cuban problem can only be resolved by Cuba and the Cubans, because without the support of the people no revolution will triumph.”

Everything stated previously in this report is the result of study and analysis of the plan of aggression against Cuba, put in practice by Kennedy and all of his advisers.

The declarations of Kennedy:

In his statements on Cuba from 12 [April], Kennedy said this among other things: “There will not be, under any condition, an intervention in Cuba on the part of the armed forces of the United States” and “this government will do whatever is possible to not have Americans implicated in any action within Cuba.”

[2-3 lines bleed-through and a somewhat large bottom margin on this page]

The failure of Washington to achieve collective or majority support by Latin American governments to bolster an agreement against the revolutionary government of Cuba.

The position decided by [illegible] Mexico and Ecuador in favor of non-intervention [illegible] determination by the populace [illegible] vacillation [illegible] to break relations with our country and through pressure by [illegible] it is not decided either to abandon the defense of the principle of non-intervention.

After declaring that the United States would not intervene militarily in Cuba, Kennedy tried to give the impression that the US did not wish to meddle in the internal matters of Cuba, concealing [his intentions while] trying to calm Latin America, alarmed by the repeated announcements [illegible] Yankee government is assisting all [readicados] counterrevolutionaries in that country, in an essential way with weapons, equipment, airplanes, money and Yankee instructors to the mercenaries in the [ampamentos?][6] of Florida, Louisiana, Guatemala, [illegible, bleed-through] other places. Of course, Kennedy’s objective here is in vain.

Kennedy can say this because the United States continues organizing aggression against Cuba, not exactly using its military forces, but arming and training counterrevolutionaries and adventurers in different locations.

Kennedy is careful to clarify that he will do whatever is possible to not have Americans implicated in any action in Cuba, by which he tries to throw a blanket over the participation of American officials and technicians in training mercenaries (not inside) but indeed outside of Cuba in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Afterwards, Kennedy said that he would oppose any effort to launch an offensive against Cuba from the United States.

Naturally, he can say this at present, since his plans are in fact otherwise, that is, launching small commands from Central America that integrate Cuban mercenaries with those from other countries, except the United States. In this way, he believes international denunciations will be avoided, for which reason Yankee instructors and technicians from the camps remain in the country.

[2 lines excised] reports the latest statements of Tony Varona and Miró that the United States is not aiding them, and an invasion against Cuba will not come from there.

Of course, the matter of the participation of the Yankee government in support and direction [3-4 lines excised] have reported, on various occasions, about the CIA mercenary camps in Guatemala and other places.

Following his statements, Kennedy made reference to holding Rolando Rasferrer under custody in a hospital, saying that American authorities will act against “those who want to establish in Cuba a regime in the style of Batista.”

Kennedy [2 lines excised] knows of the continent’s snub of Batista, the protégé of Eisenhower. Therefore, Washington has now relegated the Batista supporters to a lower level. Kennedy prefers to use the services of Tony Varona, Miró, Ray and company, thinking he can better trick the Cuban people and Latin American opinion in this way, dressing these lackeys with the attire of “democrats” and “revolutionaries.”

In addition, according to his plans, it is not advantageous to Kennedy now to have an expedition leave from the Yankee coasts. Because of this, in part, they have detained [Rolando] Masferrer in fear that he, now diminished in importance, will rush to send another expedition of Cuban and Yankee mercenaries, as he did the other time, which would give the US government a “headache” at present.

In regards to the expropriation of American goods in Cuba, the Yankee president says that it will not be carried out, assuming “formal and normal negotiations with a free and independent Cuba.”

[One short paragraph excised]

Kennedy also affirms that “the matter of Cuba is not between the United States and Cuba, but among Cubans themselves.”

Here Kennedy finds himself obligated to admit the huge failure that his government has had in trying to impose upon the peoples and governments of Latin America the judgment that differences between Cuba and the United States were not merely a matter between the two countries, but rather one that affected the entire Continent.

The posture of some Latin American governments is firm enough on this issue that their delegates at the UN recently rejected the United States delegate’s intentions to include in a project the “arguments” contained in the “white book” of the Department of [several words illegible, bleed-through] a project [i.e., draft resolution], in turn, which advocated a solution to the differences [illegible] through peaceful methods [illegible] in the UN Charter [illegible].

The delegations of Guinea and Mali, accompanied by other African and Asian countries, are also preparing a similar project [draft].

Regarding this “white book”, it demonstrated Yankee interference in Cuba to Latin American populations, which provoked declarations by the governments of Brazil, Mexico, and Ecuador, concerning their defense of the principles of non-intervention.

Once Kennedy stated that the basic matter of Cuba was to be left among Cubans, he showed his boundless cynicism. He attempts to present the problem as an issue among Cubans when everybody already knows that it is squarely between Cuba and the government of the United States.

Kennedy’s statement is based on the recently approved plan of aggression toward Cuba, one that tries to frame the attack on our country as a problem only among Cubans. We have already, in another part of this report, pointed out plans that make the infiltration of numerous groups in our territory into the norm. These plans save for later the dispatch of a mercenary invasion from Guatemala, which they will attempt to present not as an act of intervention by the US and its puppets, but rather as simple assistance from another country (Guatemala) to the appeal from the puppet government of Miró Cardona.

In another part of his statements Kennedy “screws up” again and says that the position of his government is “understood and shared” by the counterrevolutionary refugees in the United States; that is to say, that the puppet government of Miró [illegible] understand and are in agreement with this plan [2 lines illegible]. One of the journalists attending the presentation put Kennedy in a tight spot when he asked, “Do our own laws of neutrality or the treaties of the OAS [Organization of American States] not prevent giving aid or weapons to the anti-Castro elements in this country?”

Kennedy, after being confronted, looked perplexed and confused, did not know what to say and only managed to mumble some endless sentences to try to hide the truth, never arriving at a concrete answer.

In summary, Kennedy’s declarations say nothing new or positive, but fit more closely with the counterrevolutionary line that the government in Washington follows at present regarding the Revolution.

“Homeland or death. We will win.”

Capt. Alberto

[one line excised] among other things the following:

The means of support of the clandestine groups [words excised] is the alliance of MRP groups and the November 30th Movement. Thousands of clandestine papers are distributed among the two groups every month, keeping an interminable flow of information [2-3 lines excised]. In the four months as head of the movement’s action in Cuba, Manuel Ray, ex-Minister of Public Works under Castro and now leader of the MRP in the United States, was never bothered by the police [several lines excised]. The basic unity of the MRP is the nucleus composed of seven men, set up in a way that the rest of its members would not put another group in danger. Around these nuclei there are five functional sections (laborers, students, professionals, propaganda, and sabotage), each represented in the national executive of the MRP. To ensure that the movement does not lose all its leaders in one stroke, the national executive has met only four times in plenary session in seven months. A happy group of 15 Cuban youth and their friends on the beach of Varadero hid one of the recent conclaves of the MRP.

[2-3 lines excised]. They carry detonators and fuses inside shopping crates. All people active in the clandestine force try in every way to lead a normal life. They even register for the Militias [one line excised]. If one of them has a feeling that he is being pursued or watched, the organization tries to send him outside the country or obtain asylum in the embassy of a friendly nation. One of the instructions that they give to anyone involved in these activities is “Do not trust the Mexican Embassy.”

[One line excised] Manuel Ray’s assistant was detained three times [a few words excised]. “Eugenio,” [Ray’s?][7] successor in Cuba, was also arrested and set free, as was his assistant from “November 30” who is called “Alejandro.” “November 30” builds its own bombs in more than twenty houses in Havana, and another clandestine group organizes “meetings” in the afternoon. [One line excised] Each “firecracker” is lined with dynamite cartridges. When the fuse is lit, the firecracker serves as a detonator.

Cap. Alberto

[1] Trans. note: Throughout this document, I have attempted to keep excisions distinct from “bleed-throughs”, sometimes marked as “illegible.” Excised text is covered with a heavy black line. These documents were probably originally printed on both sides and the black marker used to excise bled through to the other side, but those marks are more diffuse and sometimes readable text shows through.

[2] Trans. note: the “(?)” appears in the original Spanish text after the word “ajena,” meaning unconnected, alien, or strange.

[3] Trans. note: Without the context in the preceding few excised words, it is difficult to translate “enfrentarse,” which means something along the lines of meeting, facing, or confronting.

[4] Trans. note: Partial erasure/excision makes this word difficult to read, but “ahora” [“now”] can be made out with some uncertainty—trans.

[5] Trans. note: “Antier,” typed word, is not a word in Spanish, but resembles “antes” (“before”) which seems chronologically related to the date of the 13th.

[6] Trans. note: The word “readicados” is clearly in the original document in print, but I cannot make it into a word that makes sense in this context, even by substituting vowels or correcting likely typographical errors. “Ampamentos” is less clear in type, partially obscured by bleed-through, but also does not lend itself readily to making into a real Spanish word.

[7] Trans. note: The typing is very faint, but the word could be Ray.


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