Felipe Vidal Santiago

Felipe Vidal Santiago was born in Cuba. He became a Cuban naval officer but went into exile when Fidel Castro gained power in 1959. He lived in South America before moving to Miami where he associated with the Interpen (Intercontinental Penetration Force) group.

Vidal became a close friend of John Martino. He also worked closely with Roy Hargraves and carried out a series of raids on Cuba in the 1960s. This involved a plan to to create a war with Cuba by simulating an attack on Guantanamo Naval Base.

In December 1962, Vidal had a meeting with a lawyer connected to a “Citizen’s Committee to Free Cuba”. He told Vidal about a conversation he had with Henry Cabot Lodge, who had been told by Walt Rostow, that John F. Kennedy was exploring “a plan to open a dialogue with Cuba.”

Vidal was furious about what he considered to be an act of betrayal and immediately told leaders of the anti-Castro community and his CIA contact, Colonel William Bishop. According to Dick Russell, Vidal was also “an information conduit for” General Edwin Walker.

Larry Hancock argues in his book, Someone Would Have Talked, that Vidal traveled to Dallas on several occasions between 31st October and 21st November 1963 in order to raise funds for the anti-Castro exiles. This included meeting Edwin Walker. On his return to Miami he “reportedly stated that Walker had no further interest in Cuban affairs.”

However, Gerry Hemming has claimed that Vidal obtained money from H. L. Hunt, who had been largely responsible for funding Walker’s campaign for governor in Texas. Clint Murchison and Gordon McLendon have also been suggested as possible contributors to Vidal’s operation.

Photomontage supplied by James Richards

Dick Russell later interviewed William Bishop who confirmed that he was aware of the plot to kill John F. Kennedy. He claimed the plot included people such as Tony Varona and Roland Masferrer. “By 1963, the Cuban element – see, Kennedy had gone to Miami, to the Orange Bowl down there, and made this statement that the brigade’s flag would fly over Cuba and all this crap. That was a stopgap. The exiles for a time believed him. Then shortly after that, a presidential executive order came out that no military-style incursions into Cuba based from the United States would be tolerated. The end result was complete distrust and dislike for Kennedy and his administration by the Cuban exiles. You take Tony Varona and Rolando Masferrer to name but two – and there were many, many more – when serious talk began to happen about the possibility of assassinating Kennedy.”

Source: Felipe Vidal Santiago