by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
Antonio Veciana, now 85, baldly stated there would have been no anti-Castro movement in Cuba without the CIA funding. More shocking revelations were to come.
Speaking to an audience of 200 gathered at the Bethesda Hyatt Regency Hotel last September 28, the former lead for the Alpha 66 Assassination squad stood at the podium, his son at his side, also revealed publicly, for the first time, his encounter with Lee Harvey Oswald as he waited to meet with his CIA handler. The accidental encounter occurred six weeks before President Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas.
Veciana and Oswald had the same CIA handler, David Atlee Phillips, then using the cover name, "Maurice Bishop."
Arriving for his meeting with “Bishop” fifteen minutes early Veciana witnessed Oswald meeting with a CIA official in Dallas. As events continued to unfold after Kennedy was shot Veciana came to believe Oswald was also a CIA operative, but one the agency decided it would be expedient to use as a fall guy to cover their involvement.
Veciana told the audience he is convinced the CIA organized the president's murder.
The Alpha 66 Assassination squad was allegedly responsible for the two assassination attempts on Cuban leader, Fidel Castro during those years. Vecianan lead the team, made up of Cuban exiles in the early 1960s.
Speaking through an interpreter Veciana was dignified but emotional as he outlined what he had seen and knew. Asked later why, after all this time he had decided to speak out he responded saying he wanted to set the record straight because over time he had come to admire Kennedy, a man he and Phillips had regarded as a "traitor" for allowing communist Cuban leader Fidel Castro to remain in power.
David Atlee Phillips, AKA "Maurice Bishop, formerly an actor, used hundreds of aliases during his career. He was named as head for the CIA's operations in Cuba soon after he was recruited in the 1950s.
After his retirement, Phillips found a new avocation. Organizing thousands of intelligence agents he formed the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. The supported the political careers of other former CIA linked individuals, among these former CIA Director George H.W. Bush and Bush allies.
Phillips career in the CIA lasted 25 years. He was one of only a few to receive the Career Intelligence Medal. He died of cancer on July 7, 1988 in Bethesda, Maryland.