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Cryptonym: AMPALM-2

Definition:
Laureano Batista Falla, military chief for the MDC. JMWAVE gave US Army permission to use Batista in 1962. Batista then became head of training site in Lacombe, Louisiana, and told Garrison the trainees were going to Manuel Artime's base in Nicaragua.
Status:
Documented
Discussion:
Batista and the MDC had a strong relationship within the MRR in 1960. Claudia Furati, ZRRIFLE, p. 157: Furati states that the 1978 HSCA Report referred to the Pontchartrain camp as "the serpent's egg". The Third Decade, Volume 3, Issue 5 Current Section: Dead Suspects - Part 4, by Scott Van Wynsberghe: Van Wynsberghe offers background on the Pontchartrain camp and Batista in particular, describing him as coming from a wealthy family. Van Wynsberghe offers evidence that Batista was closely allied with Luis Somoza, the president of Nicaragua.
Sources:

104-10164-10030: PROVISIONAL OPERATIONAL APPROVAL ISSUED ON LAUREANO BATISTA

12/14/59: Request for Approval: Provisional Operational Approval is granted. Laureano Batista is given cryptonym of AMPALM-2, bio number of 201-268277.

1994.03.04.09:18:30:310005: Reel 3, Folder I - BATISTA FALLA, LAUREANO

12/11/59: Personal Record Questionnaire (PRQ). Described as a strong Catholic, active member of the Cuban Catholic Democratic Movement (also known as the MDC). Trained in banking. "Associated with most prominent members of the banking community in Cuba, including Dr. Felipe Bazos, Dr. Justo Carrillo and Rufo Lopez Fresquet."

HSCA Report, Volume X Current Section: VII. Movimiento Democrata Cristiano (MDC)

The MDC broke into factions after the Bay of Pigs. The largest faction was known as the Rasco faction in 1961 - it became the Batista faction in 1962 - due to the efforts of its independently wealthy military chief, Laureano Batista Falla, who organized and financed its infiltration attempts. "It was one of the most active and effective underground groups in Cuba during the early 1960s...many MDC members joined the (Truth About) Cuba Committee in 1962, which was formed to counteract the propaganda of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, a pro-Castro organization in the United States...a group of about 18 Cubans did arrive in New Orleans during the summer of 1963. Leading them was a well-known Cuban exile, Victor Paneque. (His uncle,) Batista Falla provid(ed) the manpower for the training camp." Lee Harvey Oswald claimed to be a member of the FPCC in 1963. The uncle-nephew relationship of Batista Falla and Paneque is documented by Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, p. 340.

104-10164-10168: CABLE: LOCAL ODIBEX REQUESTED ROUTINE WAVE TRACES AND ANY

5/28/62 cable from JMWAVE to Director: Chief of Station reported a message stating "Liaison reports they have WAVE permission to utilize AMPALM Two. Please confirm by morning May 28." Chief of Station reply was "ODIBEX advised A-2 not connected with WAVE for over year, nor was any current use planned and WAVE had no objection they use."

104-10192-10352: CABLE RE: STATION HAS.NO RECORD ANY FUNDS PASSED TRUTH ABOUT CUBA COMMITTEE PAST OR PRESENT

6/21/62: From JMWAVE to Director (probably directed to John Tilton - his name is prominently written on the page): "Station has no record any funds passed (to) Truth About Cuba Committee past or present...info from AMCLATTER-1...on committee say it created to counteract the Fair Play for Cuba Committee...AMCLATTER says committee is creation of Dr. Fermin Peinado, member executive committee MDC...financially supported by Pepin Bosch of Bacardi Rum Company."

104-10271-10039: DISPATCH: OPERATIONAL/ ORGANIZATION

The preceding page describes him as a "bank employee" who answered to Oscar Echevarria/AMPALM-1...the following page describes AMPALM-1 as in charge of "propaganda and student action", AMPALM-2 as in charge of the "MDC - political action", AMPALM-3 in charge of "intelligence and communication", and AMPALM-4 as in charge of "MRR - paramilitary". The succeeding page describes a key contact as "station contact KUTUBE only - Nelson Raynock" -- Henry Hecksher.

Warren Hinckle and William Turner, Deadly Secrets (Thunder's Mouth Press, 1992), p. 226

"The camp had been set up (in 1962) by Gerry Hemming and Frank Sturgis at the request of the New Orleans branch of the Cuban Revolutionary Council. At the time of the FBI raid Sturgis' training camp was occupied by the...MDC under the guise of training security guards for a lumber mill in Guatemala. But the MDC military chief, Laureano Batista, later admitted to the New Orleans district attorney that the trainees actually were destined, with the approval of General Somoza, for the CIA-supported naval guerrilla base of Manuel Artime in Guatemala. (Note: AMWORLD). The camp was used by various groups of the exile far right - the DRE, 30th of November Movement, and MIRR - all of which huddled under the wing of Paulino Sierra's short-lived, mob-connected provisional government. In 1976 the Senate Intelligence Committee disclosed that the camp 'was directed by the same individuals who were involved in procuring the dynamite the FBI seized,' a reference to Rich Lauchli and Sam Benton and his Cubans, who had moved from the moribund Triple A (AMEER) to the growing MIRR (AMDITTO) of Dr. Orlando Bosch, a fanatical ex-pediatrician so far to the right that he considered the Miami Herald a tropical version of the Daily Worker."

1993.06.07.19:10:04:560000: RUPERTO JERONIMO PENA DENIES ANY KNOWLEDGE OF LEE OSWALD AND HAS NEVER

Early 1963: Rudolph Richard Davis interviewed by New Orleans FBI Cuban specialist Warren de Brueys. Davis was born in Manhattan in 1934, but lived in Cuba from age 2-26. Moved to NYC 1/12/61 spent six months with MDC and coordinated between MDC and NYPD. Early 63, Davis formed the Guatemalan Lumber and Mineral Corporation, and contacted Laureano Batista to see if MDC "had some men he might send him for work in this company's business in Guatemala...19 men were sent...unfortunately, these men, for some reason or another, came to New Orleans with the idea that they were going to be trained in New Orleans for a military operation and sent to Guatemala for additional training. He claims that when he advised of the real purpose of their travel to New Orleans, they were disappointed and some were angry with him...the home where they stayed...is located in Lacombe, Louisiana, about a mile from Highway 190 West on a secondary road...during the last days of July the FBI had seized some dynamite and other explosives stored in a Lacombe, Louisiana residence...was probably partially responsible for the (MDC members) decision to return to Miami..." Davis said he didn't know the men personally, only knew the names of Victor Paneque, Leodovino Interian, Fernando Fernandez (note: the alleged pro-Castro agent), and a man named Fornes. Davis was employed as a general agent for the Western Life Insurance Company in St. Paul, Minnesota, 2001 Canal St., New Orleans. Also an MDC delegate in New Orleans, claims he was not very active. (at p. 23) Raul Diaz at the Catholic Cuban Refugee Center in New Orleans was working with Davis to put these Cubans up in a motel after their arrival "in the last days of July" with their next stop reportedly Guatemala. They wound up going back to Miami. (FBI report, 10/2/63)

124-90019-10044: No Title

4/26/63 FBI memo from Courtney Evans to Alan Belmont: Deputy AG Nicholas Katzenbach was informed by our office about the following: "Wallace Shanley, US Customs in Miami...(told our office) that possibly there was no raid of Cuba as claimed by (Alexander) Rorke. Shanley states that he knows Rorke personally and feels that Rorke has become mentally unbalanced. Mr. Katzenbach was personally advised that Shanley has interviewed Rorke's personal associates Frank Sturgis and William Johnson, both of whom also feel that Rorke is mentally unbalanced...(Shanley advised) Rorke is in financial distress and is apparently attempting to build up a young Cuban named Laureano Batista Falla...Falla is from a very wealthy family and has a large monthly allowance."

124-90019-10251: No Title

8/26/63 memo from SAC, Miami to Director, FBI: "Batista said he was working for the 'U.S. G-2', presumably US Army Intelligence, or possibly the Dept. of Defense. Batista said that after Customs confiscated the boat, he contacted US G-2, but they refused to help him get the boat back. Batista felt abandoned by them and wanted Customs to know of his relationship with the Army, that they were responsible for having him obtain the boat, but have now abandoned him after Customs confiscated the boat...on August 8, 1963, Major Fred Swafford, office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Department of Army, advised the FBI that the name of Laureano Batista Falla originally came to the attention of the Army some time prior to May, 1962. In May, 1962, the Army checked Batista's name against the Inter Agency Source Register, and determined that no other US agency had an operational interest in him. Consequently, the Army investigated Batista with a view of using him operationally. In May, 1963, a Special Detachment of the Army, in Miami, Florida, submitted a plan for use of Batista by the Army in connection with infiltrating people and equipment in and out of Cuba. This plan was disapproved by Army Headquarters on July 30, 1963..." Also see 124-90019-10249: on 8/8/63, Swafford claims that Batista never performed a mission for the Army.

124-10223-10092: No Title

10/14/63 airgram from the Office of Coordination of Cuban Affairs, Miami to Dept. of State: "The principal action-minded - and probably most influential - member of the MDC is Laureano Batista Falla (no relation to ex-dictator Batista), age 28, who is in charge of military activities. His father is a wealthy Cuban exile who gives him a substantial monthly allowance, which presumably makes up a substantial part of the MDC's finances. Batista has been described as 'a character', an intellectual, rich, spoiled, and effeminate. He participated in a hunger strike in Miami in early 1962 against U.S. failure to take action on Cuba. He was involved in a still-unconfirmed hit-and-run air raid over Havana in April 1963 and was very uncooperative with U.S. authorities seeking to investigate the reported incident. He was prominent in a recent MDC denunciation of an alleged Castro agent in their midst, in what seemed to be nothing more than an unfounded and crude vigilante operation."

124-10369-10045: ADMIN FOLDER-O9: HSCA ADMINISTRATIVE FOLDER, LHO INCOMING COMMUNICATIONS VOLUME VI

7/17/67 urgent memo from FBI, Houston to Director and FBI, New Orleans: "Rudolph Richard Davis, Jr. located and interviewed in Houston. Denied knowledge or association with Minutemen organization at New Orleans. Did receive financial assistance, however, from John Birch Society, New Orleans. Davis recalled two contacts with Lee Harvey Oswald while residing in New Orleans during the fall of 1963 while Davis active in anti-Castro activities. Davis has no information re Minutemen activity of Oswald. Approximately two months ago Davis interviewed by representatives of Jim Garrison, New Orleans District Attorney, at Houston in connection with Garrison's probe. Approximately four months ago, Davis received $500 from Time-Life Corp to divulge location of training site at New Orleans utilized by Davis to train exiled Cubans. Purpose of training was to keep exiled Cubans busy while in United States and not for invasion purposes. De la Barre estate closely associated with John Birch Society according to Davis. Davis stated Time-Life Corp. preparing detailed story re Garrison probe and incorporating photos of Davis' training camp in article...Davis advised he had been interviewed in past by FBI, New Orleans." Gus LeBarre was with the John Birch Society and also had an Army background - G-2 supplied his fingerprints. See 124-10290-10432, p. 29.

See Also:
Contributors:
John Newman • Bill Simpich

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