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Cryptonym: AMIRON

Definition:
The Frente Revolucionario Democratico (FRD), aka Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front. The FRD Executive Committee was known as AMCIGAR. Sergio Arcacha Smith led the New Orleans branch - his second in command was Layton Martens and David Ferrie worked with them.
Status:
Documented
Discussion:
The FRD became the CRC in the weeks before the Bay of Pigs in April 1961. However, the supporters in the cities did not automatically switch their alliances to the CRC - many of them kept the name of the FRD, such as Sergio Arcacha Smith's group in New Orleans.
Sources:

104-10061-10115: LIST OF NAMES RE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION INVESTIGATION

HSCA staffer Leslie Wizelman's list of CIA responses to her requests re crypts: AMIRON - "(FRD) Frente Revolucionario Democratico".

104-10106-10607: JOHN DANIEL WILKES

1960 memorandum states that "the FRD is an alliance of five anti-communist organizations and is considered the largest and most important anti-Castro group in the United States. In August 1960, four of the five FRD leaders left Miami for Mexico City where FRD headquarters will be established."

104-10013-10387: GARRISON AND THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION

Pre-Bay of Pigs: "(Sergio Arcacha Smith) became the FRENTE REVOLCIONARIO DEMOCRATICO (FRD) delegate in New Orleans prior to the Bay of Pigs invasion and continued in that position until the FRD ceased to function. The FRD was the predecessor of the CUBAN REVOLUTIONARY COUNCIL, and was organized and supported by the Agency." (AC/WH/COG to C/CI/R&A Ray Rocca, 1967.) Another memo describes Arcacha as completely incompetent: http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html? docId=121282&search=Cuba_Cuban+AND+missiles#relPageId=2&tab=page Also see 180-10104-10354, p. 18: Arcacha had been an Army Captain in the Batista regime. He left Cuba and came to Venezuela on 6/5/59. He was arrested on 6/29/59 during the "big cleanup following the attempt on the life of President Betancourt." July 1960: See 180-10104-10354, p. 17: ONI memo - naval attache Robert Huse interviewed Arcacha and another Cuban named Rolando Zubizaretta are in Venezuela, seeking assistance from the Chief of the US Naval Mission. Arcacha is selling textiles to make a living. He had been confined for 16 days after the reaction to the attempt on Betancourt; Zubizaretta for 11 days.

104-10107-10000: FRENTE REVOLUCIONARIO DEMOCRATICO

"In late 1960 or early 1961 the CUBAN REVOLUTIONARY COUNCIL (CRC) was forced to coordinate and direct FRD activities and this group was headed by Agency and White House sponsored Dr. Jose MIRO Cardona, assisted by Manuel ARTIME and Dr. Antonio VARONA. (Note: Cardona was AMBUD-1, Artime was AMBIDDY-1, and Varona was AMHAWK) Both the FRD and the CRC continued to function until October 1961 when the FRD was completely absorbed by the CRC in order to avoid the confusion resulting from duplication of personnel, activities and funding."

104-10227-10083: MEMORANDUM: FUNDING OF AMIRON AND AMBUD ORGANIZATIONS

4/12/61 memo: "With the launching of the AMBUD organization (Note: Cuban Revolutionary Council, or CRC) we are faced with the immediate need of re-appraising our funding relationship with AMIRON...AMIRON has served its purpose and now that we have AMBUD, (AMIRON) no longer needs to exist."

124-10371-10039: ADMIN FOLDER-V5: HSCA ADMINISTRATIVE FOLDER, INFO RE DAVID FERRIE

File review on David Ferrie: Since April 1961, Ferrie identifies himself as active with the Cuban Revolutionary Front, "an anti-Castro organization with headquarters in Miami, Florida." Collecting "food, money, medicine and clothing". Interviewed by FBI agents on 8/22/61. Jack Martin in New Orleans "surmised" Ferrie may have trained Oswald how to use a telescopic sight. Also said Oswald was arrested with Ferrie's library card in his possession. Ferrie and associates were arrested for "vagrancy" 11/25/63 and later released. Martin described as unreliable and Ferrie described as nuts. Interviewed by New Orleans' DA's office. Library card in Oswald's possession was in his name. (p. 123) Sergio Arcacha Smith became the New Orleans FRD delegate on 11/11/60 and reported to the FBI regularly about its activities.

104-10235-10223: DISPATCH-CUBAN EXILE NAVAL MATTERS

6/20/61 memo from Stanley Zamka, Chief of Base, JMWAVE to Chief, WHD. Reports that AMIRON had a "barracks house" at 1313 Northwest Eighth Avenue, in Miami.

1993.07.20.14:07:44:370280: FERRIE, DAVID WILLIAM - OS/SAG FILES FOR HSCA STAFF MEMBERS

8/30/61 New Orleans police memo says that Layton Martens is the second in command to Sergio Arcacha Smith, "who is conducting a counter revolutionary movement in New Orleans against Fidel Castro in Cuba. Also connected with this organization is one Captain Dave Ferrie." Ferrie and Martens are included in another memo in the "file of Kenneth Tolliver" stating that in the early 1960s Ferrie and Martens were members of the Civil Air Patrol (note: the same one as Lee Oswald). Martens is OS file 617 294, Ferrie is OS file 523 949, Smith is OS file 523 948, Tolliver is OS file 538 049.

James Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, pp. 247-248

"Sergio Arcacha Smith had been a prominent Cuban diplomat for the Batista regime before it was overthrown by the Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro. As Arcacha stated on his personal resume, he was Cuba's diplomatic consul in Madrid, Rome, Mexico City and Bombay (at the latter station under Batista). After he left the diplomatic service, Arcacha had by 1959 prospered enough as a business executive in Latin America to have his own factory in Caracas, Venezuela. He became active there in an anti-Castro group, which may have initiated his involvement with the CIA. On June 29, 1960 he was arrested by the government of Venezuela and charged with plotting to assassinate Venezuelan president Ernesto Betancourt. He was released on 7/14/60. The American Embassy came to his immediate assistance, issuing nonimmigrant visitor visas to him and his family so they could depart from Venezuela. After arriving in the US, Arcacha Smith became the New Orleans delegate of the FRD...which a CIA document on Arcacha states 'was organized and supported by the Agency'. The FRD 'was used', the CIA noted, 'as a front for recruitment of Brigade 2506 for the (Bay of Pigs) invasion.' Arcacha admitted in a 1967 polygraph test that he and David Ferrie, while working for the CIA, 'helped train the Bay of Pigs invasion force with M-1 rifles'. When the FRD was phased out, Arcacha established a New Orleans chapter of the CRC, the Cuban 'government in exile' organized by the CIA. Guy Banister, the detective/intelligence agent who would guide Oswld in the summer of 1963 in New Orleans, also worked closely with Arcacha Smith in 1961-1962. Banister helped set up an organization to raise funds for Arcacha Smith's branch of the CRC. Banister and Smith both had their offices in the Balter Building in New Orleans. They moved together in early 1962 to the Newman Building at 544 Camp Street, the same address that Oswald used for one of his FPCC leaflets when he was arrested in New Orleans...

James Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, pp. 247-248 (continued)

"...on 8/9/63, for disturbing the peace. According to Arcacha's New Orleans public relations man, Richard Rolfe, Arcacha said frankly to him that he was under the thumb of the CIA, which in public he always referred to as the 'State Dept'. (Arcacha) was also seen with Lee Harvey Oswald. David Lewis, a former employee of Guy Banister, stated to the New Orleans DA's office that he witnessed a meeting in the late summer of 1963 at Mancuso's restaurant in New Orleans between (Arcacha), (Oswald), and a man named Carlos whose last name Lewis didn't know (who may have been Arcacha's and Oswald's mutual friend Carlos Quiroga). Lewis said Arcacha, Oswald and Carlos 'were involved in some business which dealt with Cuba', and that Arcacha 'appeared to be the boss'...'Arcacha' was the name given by CIA double agent Richard Case Nagell to identify one of the participants besides Nagell and Oswald in a late August 1963 planning meeting for killing Kennedy...(Arcacha was identified) by Mac Manual as one of Rose Cheramie's companions, who she said told her they were going to Dallas to kill Kennedy...

180-10075-10168: SWORN TESTIMONY OF OREST PENA

Orest Pena testimony in 1978: "...I know that (Sergio Arcacha Smith) was very close to Warren C. de Brueys. He was very close to David Ferrie...Ferrie (taught) me how to fly Cessnas..." He wouldn't respond about whether Oswald knew Smith or Ferrie because he feared that Arcacha Smith would sue him - he had spent more than $20,000 in attorney's fees since 1963. Twelve hours before Ferrie died, he sought out Pena and said he wanted to speak with two people - one of them was Arcacha Smith. Pena spoke with Jim Garrison's deputy Frank Maloche and told him this. "Banister and Sergio Arcacha Smith were very close." At p. 6: In New Orleans, Sergio Arcacha Smith was in charge of the Cuban Revolutionary Front/CRC/AMIRON. de Brueys frequently spoke with Arcacha Smith and Ferrie. Ferrie took Arcacha Smith "almost very day to his house after the office was closed." p. 10: "The (Balter) Building had three or four different entrances." Pena sometimes met with de Brueys in that building. At p. 10: "If I cannot prove the truth of what happened with Warren C. de Brueys which to me is the most important person in the Kennedy assassination, why should I give any other allegations?" Pena was a big supporter of JFK, and opposed Batista. Many of the Spanish seamen that came to his bar supported Fidel Castro.

Contributors:
Bill Simpich

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