Félix Rodríguez (Central Intelligence Agency)


Félix Rodríguez (Central Intelligence Agency)

Félix Ismael Rodríguez Mendigutia (born 1941 in Havana, Cuba) is an anti-Castroist, former CIA officer famous for his involvement in the Bay of Pigs Invasion, his involvement in the interrogation and execution of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, and his ties to George H. W. Bush during the Iran Contra Affair. He is Cuban of Spanish Basque ancestry.

Biography

His uncle was minister of Public Works during the Fulgencio Batista government, in Cuba. After the Cuban Revolution he and his family had to exile in the United States.

He attended Perkiomen Valley Academy, in Pennsylvania, but dropped out to join the Caribbean Anti-communist Legion created by Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo, with the intention of overthrowing the Fidel Castro government in Cuba.

The invasion of Cuba was a failure, and Rodriguez went back to Perkiomen. He graduated in June, 1960, and went to live with his parents in Miami, where thousands of Cuban exiles lived.

In September, 1960 he joined a group of Cuban exiles in Guatemala, supported by the CIA, to receive military training. They were called Brigade 2506.

He became a U.S. citizen in 1969, soon enlisting in the Army.Fact|date=February 2007 During his career with the CIA he also went by the name Máximo Gómez. He was awarded the Intelligence Star for Valor by the CIA and nine Crosses for Gallantry by the South Vietnamese government.Fact|date=February 2007 He was codenamed Lazarus after his miraculous survival of the Bay of Pigs.

Bay of Pigs and Bolivia

He joined and became a leader in the CIA-backed Operation 40 and Brigade 2506, and went to Cuba, without knowledge or permission of the Cuban leadership, a few weeks before the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.Fact|date=February 2007

His colleagues in Operation 40 included David Atlee Phillips, David Morales, Ted Shackley, E. Howard Hunt, and Frank Sturgis, among others.

In 1967, the CIA recruited him to train and head a team to hunt down the Marxist [ [http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,869742,00.html Castro's Brain - Printout - TIME ] ] guerrilla leader Ernesto "Che" Guevara in Bolivia. When Guevara was captured, Rodriguez interrogated him. Rodriguez has claimed that he wanted to keep Guevara alive for further interrogation. However, notes from a "CIA Debriefing of Félix Rodríguez, June 3, 1975" state that Guevara was executed while in Rodriguez' custody. [ [http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB5/index.html Death of Che Guevara ] ] Rodriguez has in his possession Guevara's Rolex wristwatch which he keeps as a trophy. [ [http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKroderiguez.htm Felix Rodriguez ] ]

The "Miami Herald" reported, on 20 June 2004, that Miami immigration Judge Neale Foster ruled that Rodríguez' testimony on behalf of a torture suspect would be "given no weight" because Rodríguez acknowledged having been involved in the human rights violations including the summary execution of Che Guevara. [http://www.cja.org/cases/Grijalba_News/Miami%20Herald%206-20-04%20WEB.htm]

Recently a documentary broadcast by a German television station under public law [ [http://www.daserste.de/doku/beitrag_dyn~uid,6sb45lraafvfmdbf~cm.asp DasErste.de - Reportage & Dokumentation - Schnappschuss mit Che (10.10.2007) ] ] alleged that a famous picture of Rodríguez with the captured Guevara is a forgery. [ [http://news.webindia123.com/news/Articles/World/20071011/791157.html Documentary alleges last photo of Che is fake ] ]

Vietnam

In the Vietnam War, Rodríguez flew over 300 helicopter missions, and was shot down five times. In 1971, Rodriguez trained Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRUs). PRUs were CIA-sponsored units that worked for the Phoenix Program. [Douglas Brook's MA thesis, [http://www.hoosier84.com/phx.pdf "The Phoenix Program: a Retrospective Assessment"] , Baylor University, 1989, pp. iv, 38-40, 50, 57, 60, 114-18, 127, 140-144, and 148-56.] The Walsh Report states (Chapter 29): "During the Vietnam War, [Donald] Gregg supervised CIA officer Felix Rodriguez and they kept in contact following the war." [http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/walsh/chap_29.htm Walsh Iran / Contra Report - Chapter 29 Donald P. Gregg ] ] Rodriguez also reported to Ted Shackley during the Phoenix Program - Shackley became Bush's top aide for operations when he directed the CIA; Gregg later became National Security Advisor for Vice President Bush. Rodriguez was in frequent contact with him regarding arms for the Contras.

Iran-Contra and ties to George H.W. Bush

There is extensive documentation of Rodriguez' ties to George Bush during the Iran-Contra Affair, from 1983-1988. [ [http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/walsh/ Walsh Iran / Contra Report ] ] In September 1986 General John K. Singlaub wrote Oliver North expressing concern about Felix Rodriguez's daily contact with the Bush office and warned of damage to President Reagan and the Republican Party. The "Walsh Report" (Chapter 25) states that M. Charles Hill took notes at a meeting between George Shultz and Elliott Abrams on 16 October 1986, as follows: :"Felix Rodrigues [sic] – Bush did know him from CIA days. FR [Rodriguez] is ex-CIA. In El Salv [ador] he goes around to bars saying he is buddy of Bush. A y [ea] r ago Pdx [Poindexter] & Ollie [North] told VP staff stop protecting FR as a friend – we want to get rid of him from his involvnt [sic] w [ith] private ops. Nothing was done so he still is there shooting his mouth off." [ [http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/walsh/chap_25.htm Walsh Iran / Contra Report - Chapter 25 United States v. Elliott Abrams ] ] :(brackets are in the original)

Rodriguez met with Donald Gregg, who by then was Bush's National Security advisor. The "Walsh Report" (Chapter 29) states: "Gregg introduced Rodriguez to Vice President Bush in January 1985, and Rodriguez met with the Vice President again in Washington, D.C., in May 1986. He also met Vice President Bush briefly in Miami on May 20, 1986."

Rodriguez also met and spoke repeatedly with Bush's advisor Gregg and his deputy (Col. Samuel J. Watson III). As one indicator of this connection, a single chapter in the "Walsh Report" titled "Donald P. Gregg" (Chapter 29) contains 329 references to Rodriguez.

On 5 October 1986, the C-123 carrying Eugene Hasenfus was shot down over Nicaragua, killing two American pilots, William H. Cooper and Wallace B. Sawyer, Jr., and one Latin crew member. "Rodriguez unsuccessfully attempted to call Gregg to inform him of the missing plane. He reached Watson, who in turn notified the White House Situation Room. The following day, Rodriguez called Watson again and told him that the airplane was one of North's." Hasenfus told reporters that he worked for "Max Gomez" (an alias for Felix Rodriguez) and "Ramon Medina" (an alias for Luis Posada Carriles) of the CIA. On 10 October 1986, Clair George, head of CIA clandestine operations, testified before Congress that he did not know of any direct connection between Hasenfus and Administration officials. In Fall of 1992, George was convicted on two charges of false statements and perjury before Congress; he was pardoned Christmas Eve that year by then-President Bush. [ [http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/walsh/chap_17.htm Walsh Iran / Contra Report - Chapter 17 United States v. Clair E. George ] ] [http://www.vheadline.com/readnews.asp?id=36375]

Activism

survivors. [ [http://www.brigada2506.com/ Brigada 2506 ] ]

During the 2004 US Presidential election, Rodriguez was highly critical of Democratic candidate John Kerry, due in part to their previous meeting at a Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism and Narcotics hearing in 1987 where Rodriguez felt his testimony went unpublicized in order to help smear the Reagan administration. Rodriguez referred to Kerry as "a liar and self-promoter" and said he "should not be President". [ [http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/8/29/113445.shtml Felix Rodriguez: Kerry No Foe of Castro ] ]

In 2005, Rodriguez oversaw the opening of the Bay of Pigs Museum and Library in Little Havana, Florida, and also became Chairman of the Board of Directors. [http://www.bayofpigsmuseum.org/about_us.html]

ee also

*Bay of Pigs invasion
*Operation 40
*Che Guevara
*Project Phoenix
*Watergate scandal
*Iran-Contra scandal
*Zapata Corporation

External links

* [http://www.booknotes.org/Transcript/?ProgramID=1444 "Booknotes" interview with Rodríguez on "Shadow Warrior", November 12, 1989.]

References

Autobiography

*Rodriguez, Felix I. and John Weisman. "Shadow Warrior/the CIA Hero of a Hundred Unknown Battles". New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989. :* Book review of Rodriguez' autobiography, online at: [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1316/is_n10_v21/ai_8139707/print "Memoirs of the Man the White House Said Didn't Exist", book review of "The Shadow Warrior"] , by Robert Parry, "Washington Monthly", November 1989.

Cuba: Che Guevara, Bay of Pigs, Central America

*"The Castro Obsession: U.S. Covert Operations Against Cuba, 1959-1965", Don Bohning, (2005)
*"Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America", PD Scott, J Marshall, (1998)
* [http://cuban-exile.com Cuban Information Archives] . [Miami-based]
* [http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/bayofpigs/ Bay of Pigs documents] GWU National Security Archives and 40th anniversary conference papers, GWU National Security Archives.
*Fabian Escalante, "The Secret War: CIA Covert Operations Against Cuba, 1959-62" [1995]
*Statement of Information: Hearings Before the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives. United States. Congress. House. Committee on the Judiciary. 1974. "specially trained to capture documents of the Castro government"
*"Tangled Webs" Vol. I - Page 73, by Gyeorgos Ceres Hatonn
* [http://www.parascope.com/articles/1296/bayofpigs.htm Detail Information on the Bay of Pigs Invasion] — Includes maps of the Invasion and Documents.
* [http://www.historyofcuba.com/history/baypigs/pigs.htm History of Cuba] — Bay of Pigs Invasion.
*"The Panama Invasion Revisited: Lessons for the Use of Force in the Post Cold War Era", Eytan Gilboa, "Political Science Quarterly", Vol. 110, No. 4 (Winter, 1995), pp. 539-562
*"Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America", PD Scott, J Marshall (1998)
* [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/cron/index.html PBS’s Frontline: Thirty Years of America’s Drug War: A Chronology]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7027619.stm CIA man recounts Che Guevara's death]

Vietnam: Operation Phoenix

*Douglas Valentine, "The Phoenix Program" (1990)
*Seymour Hersh, "Cover-Up", Random House, 1972
*"Long Time Passing", by Myra MacPherson, Signet, 1984
* [http://www.thememoryhole.org/phoenix/ Documents from the Phoenix Program]
* [http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jksonc/docs/phoenix-scfr-19700217.html Senate Review of Phoenix Program]
* [http://www.serendipity.li/cia/operation_phoenix.htm CIA and Operation Phoenix in Vietnam] , by Ralph McGehee, ex-CIA
* [http://mass-multi-media.com/CRV/ Counter-Revolutionary Violence - Bloodbaths in Fact & Propaganda] , by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman
* [http://users.skynet.be/terrorism/html/vietnam_phoenix.htm Phoenix Program Bibilography]

Iran-Contra scandal

*Lawrence E. Walsh, " [http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/walsh/ Final Report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Matters] ," August 4, 1993, Washington, DC, ISBN 0671667211.
*"Iran-Contra's Untold Story," by Robert Parry and Peter Kornbluh, "Foreign Policy", No. 72 (Autumn, 1988), pp. 3-30


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