Secret CIA Operations: Felix Rodriguez, the Bay of Pigs, the Death of Che Guevara & Vietnam (1989)





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Published on Apr 20, 2014

Félix Ismael Rodríguez Mendigutia (born 31 May 1941) is a former Central Intelligence Agency officer. About the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/067...

He is known for his involvement in the Bay of Pigs Invasion, in the interrogation and execution of Marxist guerilla Che Guevara and his ties to George H. W. Bush during the Iran--Contra affair. He is Cuban of Spanish Basque ancestry.

He was a Paramilitary Operations Officer from Special Activities Division. He joined and became a leader in the CIA-backed Operation 40 and Brigade 2506, and clandestinely entered Cuba a few weeks before the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion. Utilizing his familiarity with the country, he was able to gather critical intelligence to be used in the planning and preparation for the invasion.

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

In 1967, the CIA recruited Rodríguez to train and head a team to hunt down Marxist guerilla Che Guevara, who was attempting to overthrow the government in Bolivia. After Guevara was wounded and captured by Bolivian special forces trained and supported by the CIA, Rodríguez interrogated him. According to the Bolivian military Jaime Niño de Guzmán Guevara refused to speak with Rodríguez.

Rodríguez stated that he wanted to keep Guevara alive for further interrogation, but was thwarted by the order of the Bolivian President that Guevara be summarily executed. Rodríguez, whose cover was that of a Bolivian army major, repeated those orders, later stating that it was a Bolivian decision, and Guevara was killed. Rodríguez has in his possession Guevara's Rolex wristwatch.

He became a U.S. citizen in 1969, soon enlisting in the United States Army.[citation needed] 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. He was codenamed Lazarus after his survival of the Bay of Pigs invasion operation.

In the Vietnam War, Rodríguez flew over 300 helicopter missions, and was shot down five times. In 1971, Rodríguez trained Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRUs). PRUs were CIA-sponsored units that worked for the Phoenix Program. 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." Rodríguez 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. Rodríguez was in frequent contact with him regarding arms for the Contras.

There is extensive documentation of Rodriguez' ties to US vice-president George H. W. Bush during the Iran--Contra affair, from 1983-1988. In September 1986 General John K. Singlaub wrote Oliver North expressing concern about Félix Rodríguez's daily contact with the Bush office and warned of damage to President Ronald Reagan and the US 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 Rodriguez [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."

Rodríguez 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."

Rodríguez 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 Rodríguez.



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