Sylvia Duran's Interrogation
Sylvia Tirado de Duran, the Cuban Consulate employee who handled Oswald's request for a visa.
HSCA Public Hearings Exhibit 433.
Sylvia Duran, the Cuban Consulate employee who processed the Oswald visa request, was arrested by Mexican authorities on November 23, the day following the assassination. The exact reason for her arrest, undertaken upon the request of the CIA's local station chief Win Scott, remains unclear - it appears there were stories of a Cuban conspiracy circulating prior to the appearance of Gilberto Alvarado a few days later.
Sylvia was mistreated at the hands of Mexican authorities, and was bruised during her interrogation. The police asked if she had paid Oswald money, had a sexual relationship with him, and generally whether she had been involved in a conspiracy with Oswald to kill President Kennedy.
U.S. authorities cabled the CIA's Mexico City station expressing great concern over the arrest of Duran. The cable began: "ARREST OF SYLVIA DURAN IS EXTREMELY SERIOUS MATTER WHICH COULD PREJUDICE ODYOKE [U.S.] FREEDOM OF ACTION ON ENTIRE QUESTION OF PBRUMEN [CUBAN] RESPONSIBILITY."
Duran was let go, and CIA assets within the Cuban embassy subsequently informed on her statements and demeanor upon her return to work. After the appearance of Nicaraguan Gilberto Alvarado at the U.S. Embassy with his story of seeing Oswald take money inside the Cuban Consulate to kill Kennedy, Sylvia Duran was re-arrested on the pretext that she was about to leave the country. Ambassador Mann, who actively pushed the Cuban conspiracy angle until told to desist by superiors, cabled Washington on November 26 with the idea that Duran should be confronted with Alvarado and interrogated aggressively: "If she did break under interrogation -- and we suggest Mexicans should be asked to go all out in seeing that she does -- we and Mexicans would have needed corroboration of statement of the Nicaraguan."
This confrontation never occurred, and Sylvia Duran was never interviewed by the Warren Commission. But the HSCA did interview her and published the transcript in Volume III of the HSCA Report.
Some of the mysteries surrounding the Duran arrest and her handling of the Oswald visa request:
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