2018-07-05 23:28:55 UTC
“Che” Guevara had a meeting in Panama with Jack Ruby, the
nightclub owner who killed Lee Harvey Oswald.
Fifty years after the death of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the
mystery of the conspiracy theory surrounding his death persists. Now it
has come to light that the Argentine Ernesto “Che” Guevara
may have played a prominent role in the tragic event of November 22,
according to the Panamanian journal La Estrella.
Two events have served to open the door to this new investigation: a
meeting between “Che” Guevara and the government of the
USA and another meeting with the murderer of Lee Harvey Oswald, the
perpetrator of the most enigmatic political assassination of the 20th
Two and half years after Fidel Castro had come into power, Kennedy assumed
the presidency amid rising hostilities with the Soviet Union and shortly
after his predecessor, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in clear defiance,
had broken diplomatic relations with Cuba. This was the beginning of the
The scene of the conflict between the two protagonists was the Economic
Conference of the Organization of American States (OAS) held in Punta del
Este, Uruguay from August 5-17, 1961.
Fidel Castro sent one the most iconic personalities of his time as his
representative: Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Castro’s
purpose was to politically wrestle with Kennedy, who had won the US
Presidency while severely criticizing the Eisenhower administration for
not holding a tougher policy with Havana. Castro considered Kennedy to be
an illiterate millionaire.
JFK sent Douglas Dillon, US Secretary of the Treasury. Dillon arrived with
a tempting offer of US$20 billion in aid to the impoverished Latin
American region, to finance for 10 years the economic development of the
countries in that area, a project that came to be known as the Alliance
Present on that occasion was Panamanian Jorge Ricardo Riba, 84, whose
memories of the tense events remain intact. “Che Guevara stormed
the meeting telling the audience that those millions that Kennedy had
offered for the Alliance for Progress meant nothing. That the United
States would profit much more financially by deceiving people,”
“He was sitting very close to us," stated architect Roberto Chiari
who had been representing the government of Panama as Deputy Director for
Planning. Also included in the delegation were Gilberto Arias, Minister of
Finance and the Treasury; Economics Professor Rubén Darío
Carles, and the General Director for the Presidential Office of Planning
and Administration, David Samudio.
On August 8th, “Che” Guevara, who attended the assembly
wearing his combat olive-green uniform --in contrast to the other
Ministers who wore the customary suit-- delivered a speech condemning US
foreign policy while Secretary Dillon stared at the ceiling yawning
According to journalist Jon Lee Anderson in his book “A
Revolutionary Life,” Che Guevara claimed that the Alliance for
Progress was a plan to further isolate Cuba’s regime while it
expanded its control over the rest of Latin America, using financial
bribery with the sole purpose of increasing its subjugation.
That gathering was the first official warning of what would later become a
thorny international relationship.
The general picture between Kennedy and Cuba did not improve with the
years. The Cold War was exacerbated and world peace became endangered.
Several events that involved the island amid the confrontation between the
two antagonists suggest that Fidel Castro had reasons to want to get rid
of the young American President.
Doubts still linger on who really killed him. The theory of the possible
involvement of Cuba in the assassination rests on the fact that it fell on
Kennedy’s shoulders to take on the Bay of Pigs Invasion (aka Playa
Girón) in April 1961 –an operation run by the CIA with Cuban
exiles in Miami and trained in Fort Clayton, in the Panama Canal Zone.
Riba mentions that Fidel Castro, who in those days was at his peak, did
not like it at all.
During the Missile Crisis of October 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union nearly triggered a nuclear war over the installation of nuclear missiles by the Soviet Union in Cuba.
In the middle of this give-and-take, a meeting enters the scene that feeds the imagination of the most wary: “Che” Guevara met in Panama with Jack Ruby, the man who murdered Lee Harvey Oswald, the individual solely responsible, to date, for JFK’s assassination.
The Warren Report offers details of “Che” Guevara’s encounter with Ruby, the man who, with a single bullet silenced Oswald, who went to his grave with the secret of who was the real brains behind the assassination.
That meeting engenders many questions for the Cuban leaders regarding his relationship with Oswald who, after having been accused of killing Kennedy, was shot and murdered by a fanatic.
After Kennedy’s death, the much discussed Alliance for Progress slowly died along with its creator. From the beginning it has its shortcomings, it could not obtain Congress’s approval to fully finance the program and it was confronted by bureaucratic red tape not only in Washington, but also in the rest of the hemisphere. In the end, US financial aid to Latin America was limited and replaced with bilateral agreements by and large on military cooperation.
Riba remembers: “The Alliance for Progress meant a lot. We did not receive a lot financially but the fact that we participated became important for Panama and the Canal. Kennedy’s assassination made an enormous impression on me. The Alliance for Progress lost impetus with his death, in spite of the fact that his successor, Lyndon B Johnson, was a progressive, he had no interest in Latin America. I saw in Kennedy the hope of a turn-around in the US policy towards Latin America and the rest of the world.”
Although the program was dissolved, it did accomplish some objectives, like aiding in the construction of housing, schools, airports, hospitals, clinics and water-purification projects throughout Latin America, where textbooks were also distributed free of charge to schools.
The end to this enigmatic case seems far off and even 50 years later new details are becoming known from witnesses who, like Riba, shared the front row with key figures like “Che” Guevara –the very man who never hesitated in showing his opposition and the same man who met shortly afterwards with Jack Ruby.