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Cryptonym: AMTURVY-13

Definition:
Mario Salabarria Aguiar. A document in 1977 stated that Mario Salabarria Aguiar was AMTURVY-13 and his 201 number was 201-738504.
Status:
Documented
Discussion:
A dispatch in July of 1964 stated that Mario Salabarria Aguiar was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 1948, for his part in the violence between two factions of Cuba's National Police that occurred in September of 1947. Salabarria was then a major in the police and his faction were apparently aligned with the Movimiento Socialista Revolucionario (MSR), while the opposing faction were linked to the Union Insurreccional Revolucionaria (UIR), a right-wing group. The UIR's leader was killed in the violence between the two factions and Salabarria was charged with his murder. The dispatch later stated that Salabarria was pardoned and released from prison in November of 1961 by the Castro Government. In addition, a memo in August of 1965 stated that Mario Salabarria Aguiar had been arrested, along with 27 others, in an alleged plot to assassinate Fidel Castro in June or early July of that year. Salabarria had apparently worked closely with Dr. Bernardo Milanes (AMCROAK-1) in the assassination plans. The CIA had known of Salabarria's intentions to assassinate Fidel Castro since June of 1963. The memo also mentioned that Salabarria had known AMTURVY-1's brother (Arturo Maria Jesus Varona Alonso) for 20 years. He was the brother of AMCONCERT-1. Salabarria's confidant was AMTURVY-4, who was a long time friend of QUANTUM-51.
Sources:

104-10176-10191: INTELLIGENCE REPORT: POLITICAL ACTIVITIES IN CUBA

01/08/48: Intelligence Report by Walter D. Shane of Habana Office: Titled: Movimiento Socialista Revolucionario (MSR): "1. Source A (AMADON #1), a member of a revolutionary group indirectly associated with the MSR, advises that the MSR is strictly speaking a political party as distinguished from a revolutionary group. The leaders of the MSR today are Julio and Mario Salabarria, Roberto Perez, Rolando Masferrer, and Manolo Castro. Julio Salabarria is a veterinarian with offices in Habana who has been active in revolutionary groups for years. Mario Salabarria is the former Chief of the S.I.I.E.. Salabarria's case in the military tribunal is still awaiting disposition. He is charged with the murder of Emilio Tro who was killed in September 15, 1947, Marianao, Cuba. Perez is a lawyer who may still be connected with the Partido Socialista Popular (Communist Party of Cuba). Masferrer is the director of the magazine 'Tiempo en Cuba', and Manolo Castro is the Cuban Director of Sports. Castro's trial for illegal trafficking in arms is pending in the United States District Court, Jacksonville, Florida, and has been adjourned to the March Term, 1948. 2. The same source says that members of the MSR are strongly opposed to the Communists as represented by the PSP and have as their primarily objective the establishment of an honest government in Cuba. The members of the MSR are spending every effort currently, outside of force, to rid the government of dishonest politicians. In the event they attain power themselves and they are successful in placing officials in office, they have already established a policy that if one of their members proves to be dishonest in public office he will be killed. Members of the MSR taking public office know that this is the action that will be taken against them..."

104-10506-10030: JULIO SALABARRIA AQUIAR (AMTURVY-4) 201-89013

Summer 1963: "At his first meeting with AMTURVY-1 (Arturo Varona), in the summer of 1963, Salabarria said he was a member of a group plotting Castro's death, and needed money and weapons in order to carry out the plan (AMCROAK-1 was also a member of this group). In return for this assistance, Salabarria offered to carry out minor sabotage operations for AMTURVY-1's 'American contacts' (how he knew of these contacts is unknown, unless AMTURVY-1 told him)."

104-10506-10031: MARIO SALABARRIA AGUIAR (AMTURVY-13) 201-738504

Re October 1963: "Subject: MARIO SALABARRIA AGUIAR (AMTURVY-13) 201-738504 - brother of Julio Salabarria. ..."AMTURVY OPERATION: The AMTURVY Operation was designed for the purpose of conducting sabotage operations against Cuba. It consisted of a net of 13 AMTURVY assets whose primary function, apart from sabotage, was the preparation of target studies and analysis of sabotage operations. The files contain only one reference to assassination, that in 1963 and the continuation of the same plan through to 1965. Based on a review of the files, it is apparent that the following assassination plan could have been known to the Cubans, including the overall purpose of the AMTURVY Operation...Through his confidant, AMTURVY-4 (Enrique Diaz Fernandez) sought contact with AMTURVY-1 (Arturo Maria Jesus Varona Alonso)....4. In October 1963, when the Agency was satisfied with Salabarria's bona fides 'we' (the Agency) managed to get a few pistols, revolvers, and sabotage materials into Salabarria's hands, through AMTURVY-4. At this time AMTURVY-4 was receiving materials from the Agency through the pouch of the (REDACTION) Embassy in Havana. AMTURVY-4 was being assisted in this matter by QUANTUM-51 (NOTE: possibly Jaime Caldevilla of the Spanish embassy in Havana). Whether or not the materials for Salabarria's assassination plan came through the (REDACTION) pouch is unknown." Page 3: "6. By early 1964, however, the Agency had become dissatisfied with Salabarria and his proposed assassination plan, and had notified the AMTURVY net (in particular AMTURVY-1, AMTURVY-4, and AMCROAK-1) to cease working on the assassination idea. Salabarria's later attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro was not approved by the Agency, and he was in fact informed of the Agency's opposition to his plan..." 06/00/77, CIA document.

1993.07.20.08:05:37:460530: DEBRIEFING OF SAL MORGAN

7/10/64: Dispatch from COS, JMWAVE to Deputy Chief, WH/SA: Page 3: ..."b....Subject remained with the National Police until September 1947 when he became inadvertently involved in the incident known as the 'Battle of Marianao.' As Subject explains it, the National Police was at that time split into two warring factions. One group was headed by Mario Salabarria; a major of the police, and was politically allied with the 'Movimiento Socialista Revolucionario (MSR).' The other Police faction was headed by Emilio Tro Rivero, the chief instructor of the police academy, and consisted of right-wing thugs who were later to weld themselves into the 'Union Insurreccional Revolucionaria' (UIR). UIR was eventually sponsored by Carlos Prio Socarras and used by him to eliminate various left-wing threats to his presidency. The then President, Ramon Grau San Martin, however, attempted to play one group against the other giving neither complete control of the Police. On September the 15th, Salabarria lead a band of his trusted lieutenants in an open attack on Tro's residence in Marianao, Havana, and the two groups proceeded to shoot it out in the streets. Subject joined the melee as a member of a neutral police contingent which attempted to restore order. The 'battle' lasted almost a full day until the Army was called in to quell the disturbance...Tro was killed in the 'battle' and Salabarria was put on trial for his murder and sentenced to 30 years imprisonment almost a year later..." Page 11: ..."(1) Mario Salabarria identifiable with Mario Salabarria Aguiar (201-738504). A raw report received from (REDACTION) dated 2 October 1963 indicates that Salabarria was pardoned and released by the Castro Government in November of 1961, having served in Cuban prisons since his original conviction in 1948 (see above)..."

104-10308-10022: DISPATCH: OPERATIONAL/TYPIC/AMCROAK-1/AMTURVY-13 ALLEGED ATTEMPT TO ASSASSINATE FIDEL CASTRO

Mid-1965: Memo by Philip Elmard/John Dimmer: The subject who was reportedly arrested in June or July of 1965 was AMTURVY-13. "It is believed that AMCROAK-1 was arrested because of his own indiscretion and because he did not heed our instructions to keep away from AMTURVY-13."

104-10308-10021: MEMO FOR: ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION OF CASTRO JUNE 1965

08/24/65: Memo from Walter T. Cini, C/WH/C/MO (Originated: Susan L. Darling) to Acting Deputy Chief, WHD for Cuba: "1. On returning to Madrid on 10 August, QUANTUM-51, (REDACTION) who has been in Havana for years, reported that Mario Salabarria Aguiar, former Commandante in the Cuban National Police 1944-47 and chief of Police Intelligence (SIIE) 1945-47, and 27 unidentified persons were arrested for conspiring to kill Fidel Castro late in June or early July 1965. According to QUANTUM-51 who talked with members of his family, Salabarria had sworn to avenge the death of Eufemio Fernandez Ortega, former National Police Captain. As the leader of this conspiracy, Salabarria worked closely with Dr. Bernardo Milanes Lopez who drew up the assassination plans and allegedly obtained money and weapons from the United States. Milanes, according to QUANTUM-51's information, was arrested before the plotters were ready to carry out their plans. Salabarria then advanced the date set for the assassination. The conspiracy was discovered and he was arrested. When his wife learned that Salabarria was to be condemned to death, she went to Fidel to plead for her husband's life. Fidel, who at one time had been their friend, denied knowledge of Salabarria's case but assured her that his life would be spared. According to QUANTUM-51, Salabarria's wife knows nothing further of her husband's fate. 2...The Agency has known of Mario Salabarria's conspiratorial activities and personal dedication to his role as Fidel's murderer since the summer of 1963. At that time Salabarria was seeking weapons and funds for his mission. Through his confidant, AMTURVY-4, a barkeep on the Havana waterfront and a long time friend of QUANTUM-51, he sought contact with AMTURVY-1, then a minor GOC official. Salabarria had known AMTURVY-1's brother, AMCONCERT-1, for twenty years and he assumed that AMTURVY-1 was in touch with the Agency through AMCONCERT-1 in Miami..."

157-10014-10178:

00/00/75: SSCIA document: Miscellaneous Records of the Church Committee: Pages 136 (Page 2 of document entitled: The CIA in Cuba: Chronological Summary of Cuban Allegations): ..."(14) March, 1964, a plan to assassinate Castro by Mario Salabarria Aguiar, a 'gangster', who had contacts with the CIA through its agent Dr. Bernardo Milanes Lopez, who sought support in Spain from Tony Varona and Juan Bosch, listed as friends of Salabarria. The CIA gave Salabarria weapons and 'great sums of money' for a scheme which involved installing a 30 or 50 caliber machine gun in a vehicle and waiting for Castro to pass by..."

104-10103-10183: MEMO: DOCUMENTATION OF CASTRO ASSASSINATION PLOTS.

08/11/75: Memo from Raymond A. Warren, Acting Chief, Latin American Division to The Review Staff: Page 9: ..."(1) Mario Salabarria Aguiar. There is a 201 file on the individual. A POA was requested on subject for use as an operational support asset in an intelligence gathering net inside Cuba. We did not deal with him directly but communicated through third parties. In early March 1964 subject proposed an operation to his contact to assassinate Castro and asked for pistols, a submachine gun equipped with a silencer, several .30 caliber machine guns, and some dynamite. On 9 March 1964 CIA advised his contact to tell subject that CIA would not help him in this effort. According to CIA records, subject and his accomplice were arrested in June or July 1965 and sentenced to 30 years confinement. (2) (REDACTION) There is a 201 file on the individual. He was recruited in December 1963 to be a source of intelligence within Cuba. At the time of his recruitment he told CIA of his plans to assassinate Castro and other Cuban government officials. He said that he was one of the principal conspirators involved in the plot, together with Mario Salabarria Aguilar. Subject requested CIA assistance for the attempt. CIA immediately informed him that the USG did not condone such attempts and no commitments were made to assist him..."

157-10014-10046:

08/19/75: SSCIA testimony of Mr. Halley (Theodore Shackley): Pages 113-114: ...."Mr. BARON: Do you have any knowledge of any efforts to assassinate Fidel Castro run out of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base? Mr. HALLEY: No, I do not. As you know, Guantanamo had a number of Cuban exiles in it, people who have taken refuge in the base at one time or another. During the time that I was the Station Chief in Miami we did have contacts with people at Guantanamo. We did use them for intelligence collection purposes, but I do not have any linkage between that intelligence project and assassination. Mr. BARON: Were paramilitary operations run out of Guantanamo Bay? Mr. HALLEY: They were not during my time as Station Chief in Miami by CIA. There was an office of ONI, Office of Naval Intelligence representative on Guantanamo. I have no knowledge of what they may have been doing during various periods of time. I am talking about CIA. Mr. BARON: Any other names that struck a chord with you in this report? Mr. HALLEY: Well, you have a name here, Mario Salabarria Aquiar; that name rings a bell with me, for what reason, I do not know. You know, we would have to run a name trace to get a rundown of what is in the files and what is in the central index for me to be able to comment on it...This name, Ramon Grau Scerio, it rings a bell with me. It is quite possible that he may have been a collection agent, just as is written here. I am making a deduction, but again, I would have to look at the name traces, but it is a name that rings a bell with me. Mr. BARON: You do not remember him in connection with an attempt to poison the Prime Minister in June of 1965 as it says there? Mr. HALLEY: No, I do not..."

Contributors:
Brian Benson

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