For many it is no secret that the members of the July 26 movement were arrested in Mexico while they were preparing to invade Cuba with the Granma Yacht. What is not properly analyzed is that this event should have led to frustrations with Fidel Castro's activities. However, this did not happen.
The Granma managed to set sail with an overload of passengers and firearms and ammunition. Transporting passengers who had violated the laws of Mexico; and traveling with a purpose of using firearms in a foreign country is not an event due to chance. These men were released and the Granma managed to set sail even under these conditions could not be more expressed of someone with very great power. Even more if it happens under the nose of the CIA and the Mexican Intelligence.
THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE ARREST
It happens that the young members of the July 26 movement were in Mexican territory with some holding tourist visas and some under political asylum.
According to the Official Report resulting from an investigation (1) of several days, the young people were armed and doing military exercises with bombs and firearms.
On June 21, following the Packard Mod. 1950 vehicle, green color, with corresponding license plates IW55655 from Miami, Fla, which departed from the house of Emparan #49 with 5 individuals on board, 3 of them descended in a suspicious way, proceeding to arrest them with the mentioned vehicle, finding that each one of them was armed and finding inside the vehicle a SESSKA 30.06 rifle and 980 cartridges of the same caliber. The reference persons responded to the names of FIDEL ALEJANDRO CASTRO RUZ, CIRO REDONDO GARCIA, UNIVERSO SANCHEZ ALVAREZ, RAMIRO VALDEZ MENENDEZ and REYNALDO BENITEZ NAPOLES, who expressed being of Cuban nationality, political exiles and ...
...on the same day at 2:00pm, JUAN ALMEIDA BOSQUE and JOSÉ RAUL VEGA VEGA, of the same nationality as the group of Cuban exiles who lived at this address, were arrested. Finding there a large number of passports that are given in detail in relation to the above, as well as important documentation.
The detailed description of the weapons collected in the following:
3. — Star brand pistols. Cal. 38 machine gun type. 1. — Flame brand pistol Esp. Cal. 38 Mat. 179998 with the same adaptation. 1. — Waffenfabrik Mausser Gun 7 mm with 3 combs and 27 cartridges ...
About the purposes of the expedition:
... have formed a group called "July 26", led by FIDEL ALEJANDRO CASTRO RUZ, with the aim of overthrowing the current Cuban government in the course of the next 6 or 7 weeks...
Regarding what they were doing in Mexico:
... be trained militarily to integrate commanders who direct and organize in their country groups that are dissatisfied with the current government. Approximately 3 months ago, a training course has started in this Capital that, as mentioned before, includes practices shooting pistol, 30.06 rifle, field practice, typography, tactics, guerrilla, explosives, incendiary bombs, their manufacture, dynamite blasting, etc.
That would have been enough for immediate deportation, cancellation of Visa and annulment of any political asylum. However, after a few days of investigation, all the arrested members were released carrying out their plans. Note also that the investigation was carried out in conjunction with the Cuban Government, which had granted amnesty to the Moncada assailants in its Congress to now deal with an armed invasion. The investigation was carried out and the interrogations were carried out by nothing more and nothing less than the Head of Control of the Federal Security Directorate (DFS) Fernando Gutierrez Barrios himself. The DFS was not just any department but an intelligence agency of the Mexican government. (2)
THE CIA IN CONTEXT
On the other hand, the CIA had offices in Mexico. The Head of that office since 1956 was Winston M. Scott (3) (4), who later in 1958 would launch Operation LITEMPO (4), which extended a network of agents among the high positions of the Mexican government including presidents who were under this operation, CIA agents. Didn't Mr. Scott know anything about the CIA about what Capt. DFS neighborhoods? Nothing, which apparently they had every intention of letting Fidel and his companions carry on.
Let me add dear reader, before this article ends, that Fernando Gutierrez Barrios would later be the CIA agent LITEMPO-4, under the command of Mr. Scott. Let me also tell you that LITEMPO-4 was the agent who interviewed various contacts of the Kennedy assassin.
And that is how the intelligence services let the expedition members do their thing. Fernando Gutierrez Barrios would later be a friend of Fidel.
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1.General Archive of the Nation (AGN), DFS Gallery 1, Public Version of Fidel Castro, Leg. 1, Sheet 3-7: https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/122508
4.National Security Archive: https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB204/index.htm