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Cryptonym: AMSNAKE-1

Definition:
AMSNAKE-1 may possibly have been Raul de la Rua Castro, who was the chief engineer aboard the Cuban MV SIERRA MAESTRA until March 20, 1966, when he defected at Muroran, Japan.
Status:
Speculative
Discussion:
The Unidad Revolutionaria (AMSCROLL) files carried a statement from Rua Castro on April 1, 1966, in which he described his defection. A cable from Geneva on March 7, 1966, mentioned that AMSNAKE-1's matter had to be straightened out. An undated cable from London suggested a combination of AMRAIN (Raul Esparza Sr), AMSNAKE and Tamayo would provide almost 100% coverage of the Cuban sugar industry at that point in time. A dispatch in October of 1966 mentioned "such experts as AMSNAKE-1, AMRAIN-1, and AMWASP-1 (Gilberto R. Alemany)." This dispatch also stated that AMFRAME-1 (Rafael Rivas Vasquez) and AMSNAKE-1 were "being utilized to implement this campaign (note: to discourage Japan-Cuban trade in favor of expanded Japanese trade with other Latin American nations) insofar as Latin American business organizations are concerned." A dispatch in April, 1967, stated that JMWAVE were forwarding an AMSCROLL (UR, also known as Unidad Revolucionaria) prepared study authored by AMFRAME-1, in collaboration with AMSNAKE-1, to the Chief of Station (COS), Santiago. A cable on May 16, 1967, mentioned that AMRIVER-1, AMRAIN-1 and AMSNAKE-1 were defectors.
Sources:

http://documents.theblackvault.com/documents/jfk/NARA-Oct2017/2018/104-10234-10035.pdf

03/07/66: Cable from Geneva to Director: Slugline RYBAT INDEVOUT-3 PBRUMEN: "1. Had short meet with SUBJ late evening 5 March. In addition discussion AMSNAKE-1 matter, which follows separately, SUBJ stated he very worried at press reports Rolando Cubela arrested in connection plot against Castro. Per GNVA 7668, SUBJ present in Paris at Christmas 64 when Cubela also visiting there. In conversations with SUBJ and Carrillo, Cubela showed some bitterness at regime for present sideline position. On at least one of several occasions when SUBJ, Cubela, Carrillo together, student president Jose Revellon also there. 2. What worries SUBJ more than Paris contact, which after all in effect under Carrillo aegis, is fact that when he went HAVA from N.Y. fall 65, at request Cubela long time friend Marta Jimenez, SUBJ took package which allegedly contained medical books, probably to Cubela. SUBJ states that given closeness of Jimenez to Cubela, might well be mixed up in any anti-regime activity Cubela has undertaken, if press reports true. 3. Given necessarily brief period 5 March meet and need get AMSNAKE-1 matter straightened out first, unable debrief SUBJ in detail on extent his past contacts Cubela on Cuba Govt. in anticipation debrief near future, and for out info, would appreciate on continuing basis any info amplifying press reports and throwing light on nature Cubela involvement."

104-10226-10024: UNIDAD REVOLUCIONARIA (AMSCROLL)

04/01/66: Statement of Raul de la Rua Castro: "My name is Raul de la Rua Castro, and I was the Chief Engineer aboard the Cuban MV SIERRA MESTRA until March 20, 1966, when I jumped ship in Muroran, Japan. Working conditions in the Cuban Merchant Fleet also influenced my decision. I could not stand the intensified espionage on board by members of the G-2. It is worth mentioning that the plan to indoctrinate Cuban merchant crews was a complete failure. The regime has abandoned the project altogether...As a matter of fact, the lack of qualified personnel is an increasing problem, and another source of trouble aboard Cuban vessels. During the last months a total of twenty nine officials, officers and crewmembers of the Cuban Merchant Marine have defected (data of up-to-date merchant marine score)...I am very happy to have joined those of my fellow Cuban officers who preceded me in this decision. I wish to thank the 'Free Cuban Merchant Marine Committee' for all the attentions accorded me, and I am hope to rejoin our merchant fleet soon, when our vessels again sail under the flag of a free country." - - - Page 194: Raul de la Rua Castro appeared at the top of the list of Cuban merchant marine officials, officers and crewmembers who recently defected, with Rua Castro being the most recent. It is possible that AMSNAKE-1 was someone else who defected and may have appeared on this list.

http://documents.theblackvault.com/documents/jfk/NARA-Oct2017/2018/104-10234-10120.pdf

Undated: Cable from London: Slugline TYPIC MHAPRON: (Handwritten at top of cable: "AMLASH-1". Further down: "Grace".) Page 7: ..."8. At this point believe T does have info of value and would probably be worth granting him parole status. Feel he would cooperate in full debriefing and provide useful info. Suggest combination of AMRAIN (Raul Esparza Sr), AMSNAKE and T would provide almost one hundred percent coverage of Cuban sugar industry at this point in history. Decision on T does not have to be made immediately but should be done soon. In meantime will keep abreast developments via Bairn."

104-10226-10024: UNIDAD REVOLUCIONARIA (AMSCROLL)

05/18/66: Dispatch from COS, JMWAVE to Chief, WH (Info: COS, Bogota): Subject: TYPIC/AMSCROLL Letter from the National Association of Sugar Cane Growers, Cali, Colombia: "1. We forward by separate cover a copy of a letter (with translation) from Jaime Lozano, President of the National Association of Sugar Cane Growers of Cali, Colombia, that was recently received by AMSCROLL which was in response to AMSCROLL's mailing the Association the text of public statement made by AMRAIN-1 and AMSNAKE-1. Needless to say, AMSCROLL will continue the Association on its mailing list and has responded to this letter with its own letter of appreciation...(Handwritten: Roger E. Marchbank for) Philip G. Elmard (John Dimmer)."

104-10226-10024: UNIDAD REVOLUCIONARIA (AMSCROLL)

10/19/66: Memorandum from PW/Marchbank to COS, JMWAVE: Subject: TYPIC/OPERATIONAL/AMSCROLL Progress Report, 1 July - 30 September 1966: ..."Sources of information were the daily production figures of Radio Havana; analyses conducted by other experts such as F.O. Licht, Czarnikov-Rionda, the Merrill Lynch Weekly Sugar Letter, etc.; information the Station was able to pass; and the background of such experts as AMSNAKE-1, AMRAIN-1 (Raul Esparza Sr), and AMWASP-1 (Gilberto R. Alemany). The Station has seen stories based upon these releases in the Miami Herald; the Miami News; the Economic Intelligence Unit, a London publication; Alerta, a publication in Guatemala; the American Marine Engineer; the Times of America; and Diario Las Americas. In addition appropriate Station assets such as AMHIM (the Agencia de Informaciones Periodisticas - the Agency for News Information) replay much of this information..." - - - Page 4: ..."c. At the close of this reporting period the Station began a campaign to discourage Japan-Cuban trade in favor of expanded Japanese trade with other Latin American nations. This campaign has the concurrence of Headquarters and Station (REDACTION) (DIRECTOR-36495 and (REDACTION) 9962). AMFRAME-1 (Rafael Rivas Vasquez) and AMSNAKE-1 are being utilized to implement this campaign insofar as Latin American business organizations are concerned."

104-10176-10075: 201 FILE OF PROTECTABLE SOURCE.

03/17/67: Cable to Mexico City, JMWAVE (Orig: Withheld, C/WH/COG/FI): Slugline NO NIACT: PBRUMEN TYPIC: "1. HQs prefers travel AMSNAKE-1 (handwritten: 314229) be delayed until updated assessment obtained from LISAVOY-1 (para 1 Ref A) and possibly other sources MEXI (LIKRAFT (handwritten: C-106595), LITAMIL-9 (Luis Alberu Souto) and LITAFFY-1). 2. 'El Sol' MEXI daily 16 Mar reported delegates congress not scheduled return Mexico City until 23 Mar after visits Guanajuato and Guadalajara. HQs opinion if pitch made should be made Mexico City where better possibility exists isolate him from others members his delegation. However, unless hard info developed indicating Otero recruitable HQs opinion little chance success view SMOTH (MI-6) report which revealed he named vice president of cultural council on 18 Feb and LITAMIL-9 inference from conversation with Fernandez per Ref A that Otero star on rise. In addition, prestige factor which finds Otero among most illustrious delegation writers congress, i.e. Carpentier, Guillen and Fernandez also militates against successful recruitment. 3. Request Mexico ascertain as near as possible itinerary and dates travel Cuban delegation particularly its return Mexico City and probable length stay."

104-10226-10024: UNIDAD REVOLUCIONARIA (AMSCROLL)

04/20/67: Dispatch from COS, JMWAVE to COS, Santiago (Info: Chief, Western Hemisphere): Subject: TYPIC/MHSPAWN/AMSCROLL Study of Cuban/USSR Trade Relations: "1. JMWAVE forwards herewith a study entitled Economic Relations Between Cuba and the Soviet Union: How Much Dependency? Both Santiago and Headquarters are being provided with an original and one copy of the study in English and an original and one copy in Spanish. Two sets of the one table and the six charts that support the study are also being forwarded each addressee. This is an AMSCROLL (UR, also known as Unidad Revolucionaria) prepared study; the author is AMFRAME-1 (Rafael Rivas Vasquez) in collaboration with AMSNAKE-1. It was prepared in response to references A and B..."

104-10226-10024: UNIDAD REVOLUCIONARIA (AMSCROLL)

05/04/67: Cable from JMWAVE to Director: Slugline TYPIC MHSPAWN AMSCROLL AMOT: REF DIRECTOR 97866: "1. Re request para 2 ref current statistical AMSCROLL (UR, also known as Unidad Revolucionaria) study completed 3 May indicate 1967 harvest to be more in neighborhood 6.1 million metric tons which in line with responsible analyses (CF, Czarnikow-Rionda) available to AMSCROLL. Hence prefer use their conclusions but in discussion section will refer favorably to summary section of UFG-8667. This will avoid security factor of using precise AMOT (team of some 40 Cubans trained by David Morales during 1960-61 to be a new Cuban intelligence service once Castro had been ousted) conclusions. This study will be released by AMSCROLL 5 May. Will advise per ref of wire service and other pickup. 2. AMOT study of 25 April of recent rise of sugar price and their proposals to counter role of speculators forwarded TM928256 on 2 May. Draft of AMSCROLL study discussed above being forwarded priority pouch 4 May. Also forwarding pertinent extracts of sugar letters from Merrill Lynch, Czarikow-Rionda and C. Czarnikow, LTD which germaine to AMOT proposals. 3. As these and other studies reach different conclusions on size of sugar crop and due absence here of reliable info on such key factors as extent, if any, to which Soviet Union will release Cuba from its commitment to provide USSR with a 4,000,000 tons this year (JMWAVE in no position to evaluate merits of either conclusion) we defer to HQs for evaluation of implementing AMOT proposals. In addition such assets as AMSCROLL, AMHIM (the Agencia de Informaciones Periodisticas - the Agency for News Information), etc., AMRAIN-1 (Raul Esparza Sr) or AMSNAKE-1 might prepare studies attributing their info to personal experience and recently arrived refugees."

104-10226-10024: UNIDAD REVOLUCIONARIA (AMSCROLL)

05/16/67: Cable to Director: Slugline TYPIC MHVIPER: REF: RIO DE JANEIRO 3756 (IN 67134): "In selecting info requested para 2 ref on negative aspects of trading with Cuba HQs may wish consider AMSCROLL (UR, also known as Unidad Revolucionaria) series of economic reports especially Vol II No. 7 of 3 March and Vol II No. 5 of 19 December which discuss in detail sugar production problems. Also statements to press by defectors such as AMRIVER-1, AMRAIN-1 (Raul Esparza Sr) and AMSNAKE-1 may be helpful. If desired JMWAVE can pouch this material to Rio."

104-10165-10188: CABLE: AS OF 30 JUNE FOLLOWING IS STATUS OF TURNOVER TO JMCOBRA OF JMWAVE MHSPAWN ASSETS

06/28/68: Cable to Director (Info: JMCOBRA): Slugline TYPIC MHSPAWN: Page 2: ...2. "AMSNAKE-1 (handwritten: 314229) and AMWASP-1 (Gilberto R. Alemany - AMWASP-1 appears to have been scored out at least partially) to be provided with letter drop contact with JMCOBRA (also known as Station WH/Miami)."

Contributors:
Gavin McDonald

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