Seeking to correct press coverage of the arrests of Revolutionary Action Movement (MAR) members, the imprisoned members describe their arrests and those of their relatives, highlight tactics of coercion and physical torture used by security forces to extract confessions, and share information on the case that they believe is being misrepresented.
February 28, 1971
Memorandum from Federal Director of Security, Cap. Luís de la Barreda Moreno
This document was made possible with support from Kyungnam University
Today under interrogation, Angel Bravo Cisneros fully confessed to his participation in the assault of the Three Golden Stars truck terminal, upon the agent who carried some 84,000 dollars, and that part of the money, in the amount of 8,500 dollars, was kept in the house of two of the movement's members, who also participated in the guerrilla warfare training in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. These members are the following:
Salvador Castañeda Alvarez, aka “Jaime,” native of Torreón, Coahuila, 30 years of age, a draftsman who studied up to the first year of engineering, and who currently plies his services as an employee of the Commission of Natural Non-Renewable Resources in the National Heritage division.
Elia Hernández Hernández, aka “Reta,” wife of Salvador Castañeda Alvarez, 24 years of age, born in the state of Mexico.
Both live in the house located at Oriente 249-83, Interior 3, in the Eastern Agricultural Community.
Immediately, these persons were arrested at their places of residence, where a veritable arsenal was found in cardboard boxes, containing the following objects in total:
1.- Two M-1 rifles with special sights.
2.- A large number of 30-M-1 caliber cartridges in boxes.
3.- Various M-1 magazines
4.- A Colt .32 caliber pistol, revolver
5.- Various photographic cameras, some of Russian manufacture
6.- Two Walkie-Talkies
7.- Military uniforms, some with Sergeant insignias appearing to be American, a military hat of Captain grade, and a combat helmet
8.- Two recorders
9.- A typewriter
10.- Boxes with medicines, hypodermic needles
11.- Various women's and men's wigs and false mustaches
12.- Military boots
13.- Sufficient photographic material
14.- A large number of Marxist books, printed in Russia.
After Salvador Castañeda Alvarez was interrogated, and when asked in what place the money (from the aforementioned assault) would be found, he stated that it had been given today to his brothers Dimas Castañeda Alvarez, who is 24 years old and studies at UNAM in the first year of Law, and Esequiel Castañeda Alvarez, 28 years of age, in the janitor's office at the “Leona Vicario” school, located in Esperanza Community in the state of Mexico.
When those mentioned above were questioned, they said that they had received the money wrapped within containers, and that they had gone to bury it on top of a hill located in the town of San Lorenzo in the state of Mexico, and that they had hidden the cash at four different sites. They proceeded to identify these places and, essentially, in different parts of San Lorenzo Hill:
In the first location, below a California pepper tree (árbol pirul), three containers were unearthed, made of plaster wrap, some 12 centimeters high, containing dollar-denominated coins of 10 and 5 cents.
In the second place, a one-gallon paint can was found, in the interior of which they found paper money bills, and according to what Salvador Castañeda Alvarez stated, $8,540 in bills of denominations already known, that is, 100.00, 50.00, 20.00, 10.00, 5.00, and 1.00 notes.
At the third site, a canvas bag was found, tied up with rope, and inside it, small coins of 10 [US] cents, 25 cents, or 50 cents. Another bag or package made from a piece of a yellow blanket, with the same contents, and a small bundle of money to be wrapped in plaster, containing small coins of the same origin.
In the fourth location, documents were unburied – enclosed in a manila envelope with the official stamp of the Federal Executive Power on the upper part, and below, the Council of Non-Renewable Natural Resources, which referenced the following:
1.- Share certificates no. 576 and 3147 with value of $5,000.00 and $10,000.00,1 all of Bancomer of Michoacán, S.A.
2.- Certificate no. 4271 with shares of $1,000.00
3.- Certificate 4272, with shares of $1,000.00
4.- Certificate 4285, with shares of $1,000.00
5.- Certificate 4284, with shares of $1,000.00
6.- Certificate 4222, with shares of $1,000.00
7.- Certificate 4268, with shares of $1,000.00
8.- Certificate 4266, with shares of $1,000.00
9.- Commercial paper from the branches of the Bank of Commerce of La Piedad, Uruapan, Zamora, y Zitácuaro.
In another manila envelope, various documents were found such as the following: An appointment book that contains a series of movements related to different individuals, an academic transcript from Angel Bravo Cisneros, granted by the Colegio Primitivo Nacional de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, of the University of Michoacán, with a photograph of him, a Mexican passport from Angel Bravo Cisneros, number 811485, issued on July 16, 1969 and valid until July 15, 1971, two small green appointment books, also with notations of personnel movements, some typewritten notes telling what the Revolutionary Action Movement consists of, others about the Revolutionary force in the City. The different Revolutionary Activity Groups of the MAR are these:
the Propaganda Group, and those of Information, Security, Commandos, Exploration, Finance, Supply, and Schools.
Within the unit called Commandos, the following are organized:
Commando for Liberation (political prisoners)
Expropriation or Recuperation Commando
Afterward, it became known how each of these groups operated. [There were] pages also written on a typewriter, in which the urban commandos were discussed, the houses of Security or of contact, and everything related to revolutionary tasks and jobs.
One copy of the police record of Angel Bravo Cisneros, printed in 1969 by the Municipal Government of Michoacán de Ocampo. One wallet with photographs of Salvador Castañeda Alvarez and his wife, Elia Hernández Hernández.
One Mexican passport for Salvador Castañeda Alvarez, number 194012, issued July 20, 1965, and valid until July 19, 1967, page 50866.2
One Mexican passport for Elia Hernández Hernández, number 0891963, page 150563, issued on December 1, 1969, and valid until November 30, 1971.
A manual of explosives in Spanish, where the degree of power that each one possesses is specified, the method to destroy concrete bridges, types of charge, delayed incendiary bombs, homemade bombs, rock bombs, etc. etc.
A mini-manual for the urban guerrilla.
A green identification card, on which the outside plastic says in Russian “Student Identification” number 650142, with the name of Salvador Castañeda Alvarez in Russian. Issued by “Patrice Lumumba” University in Moscow, Russia, and confirming studies between 1965 and 1967, the product of a grant from the Institute of Mexican-Russian Cultural Exchange.
[Castañeda] arrived in Mexico from Moscow, Russia, in 1967. In July of the same year, during talks with Alejandro López, the invitation was made to travel to Europe; in addition to the price of the airfare, 80 dollars would be given [to Castañeda]. A person with the pseudonym “Hector” accompanied him. The two arrived in East Germany, then proceeding to Moscow, Russia, and from there to North Korea.
In a school for training in North Korea, he received instruction on weaponry, explosives, judo, Marxism. Classes were regularly given in the mornings, the students dedicating themselves to studying in the afternoons. The time period for this training was six months.
When they arrived at the training facility, Alejandro López was already there. Previously, when he was in Moscow, Russia, [Castañeda]3 had met Fabricio Gómez Souza, whom he knew by the pseudonym of “Rodrigo,” in the year 1965 and when Gómez Souza had begun to have conversations about organizing the Revolutionary Action Movement in Mexico, which had the end goal of changing the current systems of government.
Castañeda's wife was also in North Korea receiving the training.
All belongings found in their residence belong to members of the Revolutionary Action Movement, and Angel Bravo Cisneros, aka “Eliezer,” is a frequent visitor. Through “Antonio,” Castañeda met Bravo Cisneros, and on several occasions, Bravo Cisneros arrived at their residence carrying cardboard boxes that contained books, cartridges, and two M-1 rifles, later found in the dwelling. He added that Antonio brought him two walkie-talkies at his residence, one recording device, a photographic camera, and without specifying it for certain, everything in his home has been brought by “Antonio” and “Eliezer,” the latter being Angel Bravo Cisneros.
At the beginning of the past January, Antonio appeared at the Castañeda residence with a blue suitcase, making it known that its contents were the money that had been “expropriated” by committing a robbery in the “Three Golden Stars” bus terminal, after which they both proceeded to count the money and recall that the total sum was 84,000 dollars, in bills of various denominations such as 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, and 1, which he then kept for safekeeping in his closet.
[Antonio?]4 did not even wait a week to return again to [Castañeda's] house for money, and on other occasions, Eliezer did so in much the same way.
On the 27th day of this month [i.e. the day before this letter was written], “Antonio” arrived at approximately 2:30 to Castañeda's home, at the time that Castañeda's wife was eating, and extremely nervously told her that it was necessary that the money, then kept in the same manner, be hidden, as well as some documents, because “things were going poorly,” and immediately began to count the money, estimating that only 8,540 dollars remained; American coins had also been hidden in a canvas bag, but these were never counted.
He called his brothers in the afternoon and told them to guard this money very carefully, and that for this purpose, he had already packaged and wrapped it.
The brothers Dimas and Ezequiel Castañeda made Salvador] Castañeda realize that the money would be very well hidden, burying it on a hill in the town of San Lorenzo, State of Mexico, since they lived close by in the Esperanza Community; Castañeda remembered that they did exactly this
Castañeda's brother Dimas also belongs to the MAR under the pseudonym “Simon,” and has also received a training course in North Korea, having a certain degree of preparation as he is currently studying the first year of Law at UNAM.
On one occasion, [Castañeda] heard Antonio saying that a functioning school already existed to train various elements, without giving its precise location, only that it was located in the state of Veracruz, and that its preferred instructors had already done their course in North Korea to be prepared to teach classes on tactics, weapons, and explosives.
“Antonio” commented to [Castañeda] that the wigs left at his house were to be able to change appearance by hair color, as the wigs were for men and of different colors – one gray, one dark brown, another lighter brown, and one black.
The investigation continues.
Federal Director of Security
Cap. Luís de la Barreda Moreno
1 As these are shares of a Mexican bank, I presume they are denominated in Mexican pesos, and not US dollars.
2 I am not sure what the Spanish descriptor “folio” means in the context of passports, as Salvador's and his wife's passports are the only time in these documents I have seen a separate “Folio” number listed besides the passport number. I have rendered it as “page,” but this may be incorrect.
3 I presume the narrative continues with Castañeda as the subject, though Bravo Cisneros' name is given first in the document. Details of the two are given together on page one; at some point in the document, the focus seems to shift to Castañeda (certainly using third-person singular verb tenses and conjugations), but the subject of these sentences is never given explicitly.
4 I believe this is the “he” of the sentence, as it makes the most logical sense.
Director of Federal Security Luis de la Barreda Moreno reports on the details of Revolutionary Action Movement (MAR) member Angel Bravo Cisneros's confession to participating in a robbery at the Three Golden Stars truck terminal, including other MAR members involved in obtaining or hiding the money.
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