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Cryptonym: UNPOLKA

Definition:
UNPOLKA was the cryptonym for the French journalist, Victor Franco (1930 - February 18, 2018). A cable on October 6, 1976, stated that Castro took umbrage at UNPOLKA's 1962 book on Cuba "La Revolution Sensuelle" (The Sensual Revolution).
Status:
Documented
Discussion:
Victor Franco wrote this book, and thus was UNPOLKA. The cable in October of 1976 also mentioned that UNPOLKA's principal contact in Cuba was Roberto Salas, who had spent 10 years in U.S., before returning to Cuba when Castro seized power, and had accompanied Ernesto ("Che") Guevara to Algiers. Franco also wrote "The Morning After: a French Journalist's Impressions of Cuba Under Castro" in 1963, and "The Club Mediterranée" in 1972.
Sources:

124-10206-10255:

03/09/60: Letterhead memorandum from New York to Director of FBI: Subject: July 26 Club of New York: Page 2: ..."Other individuals identified by Lorenz as attending meetings of the July 26 Movement in New York were Elsa Salas, 'Bobby' Salas, Nilda Nunez and Olga Blanca. Lorenz has not seen Elsa Salas for several months, but when they last met at a meeting of the July 26 Movement, Elsa Salas said she was 'fed up' with the Movement and was considering dropping her membership. Lorenz was under the impression that Elsa Salas frequented the Cuban Consulate in New York City, and possibly even worked there is some capacity, but she was unable to now recall why she had formed this impression..." - - - At the bottom of page 2: ..."1 - New York (105-39279) (ROBERT SALAS)..." Elsa Salas was above him on the list. Perhaps a relative?

104-10175-10216: AMUPAS/1:.CALLS

10/07/60: CIA document: Titled: "AMUPAS/1...INFORMATION RECEIVED: a. SUBJ was at the Salas apartment the night before and found out that Fidel is not returning to the UN. However he is sending his plane (Britannia) to NY to pick up the President of Guinea to take him to Cuba. Corrales, head of INRA photographers, has commissioned 19-year old Roberto Salas to make trips around South America taking pictures of the exploitation of those countries by American business. Roberto is apparently a very bright young man, very close to his father, and an excellent photographer - a favorite of Raul Roa's..."

104-10098-10253: CONTACT WITH ROBERTO SALAS, CUBAN PHOTOGRAPHER

11/12/63: Dispatch from COS, Mexico City to Chief, SAS (Info: Chief, WHD; COS, JMWAVE): Subject: TYPIC - DEGRIP - Contact with Roberto SALAS, Cuban photographer: "1. During his most recent trip to Havana, DEGRIP established contact with a Cuban photographer named Roberto Salas, a 'Patria o Muerte' type of revolutionist who is now residing in Havana where he works for the newspaper Revolucion. Salas claimed to have been working in New York City during the insurrectionary days of Fidel Castro. In 1959 he was arrested by American authorities, accused of illegal carrying of firearms and espionage activities. He says that the House Committee on Un-American Activities zeroed in on him at this time. He was released on $5,000 bail posted by Cuban Ambassador (fnu) Bisbe, and soon thereafter left the country, jumping bail. He admits to having been guilty of just about everything he was charged with. From the US he went to Guatemala and was in that country at the time an ill-fated Castro-organized expeditionary force invaded Panama. 2. Salas put on an exhibit of his photographs in Havana during DEGRIP's presence there and insisted upon taking DEGRIP to see his work. The printed exhibit program revealed that Salas was born in New York in 1940 of Cuban parents, studied in the US and Cuba, worked as a photographer, worked for the revolutionary newspaper Sierra Maestra in New York, and later returned to Cuba where he now works for the newspaper Revolucion and the magazine Cuba."

104-10216-10007: SUBJECT MISSED MEETING WE HAD SET UP PRIOR HIS DELAYED DEPARTURE FOR CUBA.

10/06/76: Cable to Director: Slugline WNINTEL RYBAT UNPOLKA KMSTONE: "1. UNPOLKA missed meeting we had set up prior his delayed departure for Cuba...following his preliminary report on his Cuban visit. 2. His travel to Cuba was to prepare a volume on country for prestigious French guide Bleu Travel series...Told that an interview was laid on for him with an important personage 12 September. He expected to meet the director of inst. but was surprised to find that the interview was with Castro. 3. Castro began by roughly unbraiding UNPOLKA for his 1962 book on Cuba 'La Revolution Sensuelle', saying that he remembered Guevara had also spoken harshly of UNPOLKA years ago and making heavy handed pleasantry that they had thought of arresting UNPOLKA remembering how he had written of Cuba. Atmosphere grew more relaxed, however, as Castro observed that, after all, they had discovered that some of the individuals UNPOLKA had criticized had, in fact, subsequently proved traitors to the cause. Specifically mentioned: A. FNU Cubela...(UNPOLKA had no explanation for surprising leniency toward someone who was thought to have made an attempt on Castro's life). B. FNU Franqui...(Although UNPOLKA was not clear in his recollection of exactly what was said, he got impression that Franqui had possessed some information or documents embarrassing to Castro or the regime...4. Castro went on to ask UNPOLKA whether he would be ready to come back to do another book on Cuba...(UNPOLKA sensed that this was principal thing on Castro's mind). UNPOLKA sidestepped by saying that he would have to be given same freedom to travel that he had enjoyed first time. There was not resolution to this proposal...6. UNPOLKA stated that his principal contact in Cuba was a high official of Init. Roberto Salas. He stated Salas in late 30's. Had spent 10 years in U.S., returning to Cuba when Castro seized power, and had accompanied Guevara to Algiers." (CONTINUED BELOW).

104-10216-10007: SUBJECT MISSED MEETING WE HAD SET UP PRIOR HIS DELAYED DEPARTURE FOR CUBA.

10/06/76: Cable to Director: Slugline WNINTEL RYBAT UNPOLKA KMSTONE: "Salas travels abroad frequently. Will be visiting Belgium in February. According to UNPOLKA, Salas seemed to be sensible, not doctrinaire, open minded, perhaps slightly venal, i.e., someone we might find amenable to an approach...We have scheduled next meeting for 12 October, with Fiasconaro present, to review and develop above preliminary report and debrief UNPOLKA on Mario Averhoff Puron, his contact at Cuban Embassy here on guide blue project. Appreciate HQs traces by (REDACTION) opening of business 12 October on Salas. Also appreciate any HQs guidance, requirements based on above. Can HQs confirm that Castro-UNPOLKA meeting took place..."

https://books.google.com/books/about/La_r%C3%A9volution_sensuelle.html?id=BWVKAAAAMAAJ&redir_esc=y

(1962) La Revolution Sensuelle (The Sensual Revolution) by Victor Franco. - - - Franco also wrote other books (such as "The Morning After: a French Journalist's Impressions of Cuba Under Castro" in 1963 and "The Club Mediterranée" in 1972): https://www.google.com/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=inauthor:%22Victor+Franco%22 - - - https://www.amazon.com/morning-after-French-journalists-impressions/dp/B0007DT4TS

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Franco

"Victor Franco (1930 in Baghdad – 18 February 2018) was a French journalist who was awarded the 1963 Albert Londres Prize for La Révolution sensuelle. [1] He died in Montélimar on 18 February 2018 at the age of 87. [2]"

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Contributors:
Gavin McDonald

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