Days after the John F. Kennedy assassination, top White House aides read an eyes-only report that Cuba was behind the shocking Dallas murder. Castro had warned he’d retaliate if the Kennedy administration kept trying to kill him, and they continued. New president Lyndon Johnson ordered the secret report buried. If made public, the U.S. would have to attack Soviet-backed Cuba and thus start World War III.
It’s been 53 years since that terrible day in Dallas, and the “Cuban Connection” has resurfaced in newly revealed secret diaries of a deceased Cold War spy and assassin. Douglas Bazata was a decorated OSS special forces “Jedburgh” in World War II and a celebrated freelance spy who, after the war, worked for the CIA, among other intelligence agencies. His now decoded secret diaries tell for the first time the extraordinary story of his close friend, Rene A. Dussaq, a fellow “Jed” and larger-than-life clandestine, who, he says hatched the assassination plan and led it as a shooter in Dallas. The fascinating story and evidence, pro and con, is in my new book, Target: JFK — The Spy Who Killed Kennedy?, a mystery story that could be the key to that famous murder.
Dussaq, Argentine-born and naturalized as an American in 1942, was the son of a Cuban diplomat. While being educated in Switzerland, he spent summers in Cuba and considered himself Cuban. Per the diaries, he hatched the assassination plan to free Cuba from U.S. domination – exploitation vividly illustrated in the movie The Godfather, when gangsters cut a cake shaped as Cuba. Suave and fearless, Dussaq was an Olympic athlete, Cuban revolutionary, Hollywood stuntman, and deep sea diver and treasure hunter. During WWII, he became the legendary “Captain Bazooka” in France, who helped the Maquis defeat the Nazis. Almost singlehandedly, he captured a garrison of over 500 Germans.
Few in America have ever heard of Dussaq, although some of his exploits have been chronicled. He kept a low profile as a successful post-WWII Los Angeles insurance agent while secretly working undercover for the FBI against Hollywood communists in the 1950s. It also appears that he was a double, and perhaps triple, agent working ostensibly for the CIA, but also for Cuba, if not others. Characteristically, the CIA will neither confirm nor deny that. Bazata, too, after the war, worked for the CIA and was a good friend of William Colby, who headed the CIA from 1973 to 1976. Because of who Bazata was and his level of access, his secret diaries must be taken seriously.
Dussaq and Bazata met in Cuba in the 1930s. Bazata was a young marine assigned to assassinate a Cuban revolutionary. The mission went awry, but Dussaq saved his life; therefore, Bazata was in his debt. He also admired Dussaq for his intelligence and fearlessness. As Jedburghs, both men jumped into occupied France, where their bond deepened. After the war, writes Bazata, Dussaq grew angry at U.S. exploitation of Cuba, and once JFK became president, Kennedy’s administration’s Bay of Pigs invasion and continual attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro gave justification in Dussaq’s mind for implementing “Hydra-K,” the JFK kill-plot detailed in the diaries.
Read more: Target: JFK