Nestor Izquierdo

Nestor Izquierdo

Nestor 'Tony' Izquierdo was born in the Matanzas Province in Cuba in 1936.The son of Camilo Izquierdo and Josefina Diaz, he was a devoted Roman Catholic. As a young man, Nestor worked with his father in a construction business.

In 1959 Manuel Artime emerged as a leading anti-Communist. He worked closely with the Catholic University Association (CUA). Later that year he moved to the Manzanillo region where he joined up with Carlos Prio and Tony Varona. Along with Huber Matos they planned a counter-revolution. Izquierdo joined Artime's Rural Commandos.

In 1960 Izquierdo left Cuba and entered the United States via Mexico. Along with Manuel Artime, Tony Varona, Rafael Quintero, Aureliano Arango and Jose Cardona established the Movement for the Recovery of the Revolution (MRR Party).

Izquierdo took part in the Bay of Pigs as a member of Brigade 2506. In the early 1960's, he worked closely with Rip Robertson and David Sanchez Morales in the many aggressive and successful raids against Cuba. Izquierdo also worked under Frank Castro in the Halcones Dorados (Golden Hawks).

In 1963 Manuel Artime obtained funds from the CIA via Ted Shackley head of the JM/WAVE station in Florida. Artimemoved to Nicaragua where he formed a 300 man army. Artime was joined by several other anti-Castro Cubans including Nestor Izquierdo,Frank Castro, Rafael Quintero and Felix Rodriguez.

It is believed that Nestor Izquierdo was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Independently of each other, James Richards and Gerry Hemming have claimed that Izquierdo was involved with the events in Dealey Plaza. Specifically, his role being the Dal-Tex spotter.

In April of 1977, Nestor Izquierdo, Rafael Quintero, Rafael Villaverde, Raul Villaverde, Jesus Lazo and Valentine Hernandez were the subjects of a U.S. Justice Department inquiry. In Izquierdo's case, no identifiable information could be sourced.

Izquierdo, a devout anti-communist, fought the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. His CIA case officer was Harold Feeney.

Nestor Izquierdo was killed in Nicaragua in a plane crash in 1979. Because of Izquierdo's constant fight against Communism and for his bravery, in 1992, Gilberto Casanova raised the necessary funds to construct a bronze statue of Nestor Izquierdo in Miami's Little Havana. It was created by sculptor Tony Lopez.

Nestor Izquierdo in 1972
Nestor Izquierdo in 1972

Primary Sources

(1) J. Timothy Gratz and Mark Howell, Key West Citizen (11th March, 2005)

Gerry Hemming was the leader of a group of anti-Communist soldiers of fortune who trained anti-Castro Cubans in the early 1960s at a camp on No Name Key, an island 25 miles north of Key West.

Many assassination researchers believe Hemming knows at least some of the secrets of the Kennedy assassination (some believe he participated in or even planned it). Recently he has been sharing some of these secrets with Solares Hill and his revelations may bring us closer to what has been called the crime of the 20th century.

Hemming tells us the assassination was accomplished by several autonomous, separately funded, “teams,” consisting of a shooter and a spotter. (He has yet to identify the “master planner” and has suggested he does not know who the master planner was.)

This week Hemming revealed who he believed were two of the “sponsors” of the assassination. Two men met in Haiti in February of 1963 and contributed funds for the Kennedy assassination. Both were from the Dominican Republic. One, Ramfis Trujillo, and international playboy who dated Hollywood starlets, was the son of long-term Dominican Republican dictator Rafael Trujillo, who was assassinated in May of 1961. The second man was Johnny Abbes Garcia, former intelligence director for General Rafael Trujillo. It was not the first time Garcia had financed an assassination. In 1959, Garcia hired American adventurer Alexander Rorke to smuggle eight men into Cuba on one of the first missions to kill Castro. (See Rorke story.) The motives of Trujillo and Garcia were apparent: To revenge the assassination of Rafael Trujillo, widely believed to have been organized by the CIA.

A ranking member of Rafael Trujillo’s military wrote a book in which he stated that the assassination was organized with the support of CIA agent (and future Watergate burglar) E. Howard Hunt and flashy Mafioso Johnny Rosselli, although this report is uncorroborated.

Hunt, interestingly, returned from a fact-finding trip to Cuba in July of 1960 and reported to his CIA superiors that Castro was “popular” and the only way to eliminate him would be by his assassination. The next month, acting apparently on Hunt’s recommendation, the CIA initiated its alliance with the Mafia to kill Castro. The first Mafioso the CIA recruited was Johnny Rosselli. Some believe that Hunt and/or Rosselli were involved in the Kennedy assassination.

This week Hemming revealed to Solares Hill that the assassins had a back-up plan to ensure Kennedy never left Dallas alive. According to Hemming, there was a huge remote-controlled bomb planted in one of the cars parked beyond the triple overpass at the south end of Dealey Plaza. If the assassins were not sure Kennedy had been killed by the ambush in Dealey Plaza, they would detonate the car bomb as the motorcade sped toward the hospital, ensuring the death of all the occupants of the Presidential limousine.

Hemming told us this week that, through a source in a Central American intelligence organization, he learned that a shooter in the Texas School Book Depository, spoke German and used a shoulder-mounted, carbine-firing Mauser equipped with a scope and a silencer.

This man fired not from the sniper’s nest on the southeast corner of the sixth floor of the book depository, but from the window on the west end of the sixth floor. Hemming cannot identify this German-speaking shooter by name.

There is some evidentiary support for Hemming’s report. Photos show that the window on the west end of the sixth floor was open, and there is also a photo of witnesses, after the shooting, pointing to the west end of the building. In addition, one witness reported seeing a man with a “strange-looking weapon” on the sixth floor, but she assumed before the assassination that it must have been a secret service agent.

Although not a new revelation, we also want to note Hemming’s explanation for how the assassins escaped from the sixth floor. Immediately after the assassination, a Dallas police officer called Baker rushed into the book depository accompanied by its manager, Roy Truly. They first attempted to take the elevator, but it was not functioning, so they dashed up the stairs. They encountered Lee Harvey Oswald calmly drinking a Coke in the second-floor lunch room, no more than 90 seconds after the shooting stopped.

Many people find it doubtful that Oswald could have hidden the rifle and run down four flights of stairs and purchased a Coke in that time period.

Hemming states that the assassins had disabled the elevator before the assassination, and that they escaped by ropes down the elevator shaft.

Last week we reported Hemming’s identification of Nestor Izquierdo, a black Cuban member of Brigade 2506, as the spotter in the Dal-Tex Building. We also reported Izquierdo’s close relationship with Rip Robertson, a CIA operative who ran a CIA front company on Stock Island hauling packs of arms into Cuba before the Bay of Pigs. Robertson captained one of the two boats delivering members of Brigade 2506 into the ill-fated Bay of Pigs. Some believe Robertson may have been involved in the assassination, a belief fueled by a photograph of a man watching the motorcade in Dealey Plaza who bears a striking resemblance to Robertson, as well as by Robertson’s close association with flashy Mafioso Johnny Rosselli who was involved in the CIA’s plots to kill Castro. FBI reports indicate Rosselli met twice in Miami with Jack Ruby in the months preceding the assassination.

Since our story on Izquierdo last week, our intelligence source has advised us that Izquierdo also had a close relationship with a CIA officer named David Sanchez Morales, which raises even more troubling questions than his association with Robertson.

Morales joined the CIA in 1951 and was involved in many of the CIA’s most secret and dangerous covert operations. He helped the CIA overthrow the Guatemalan government in 1954. In the early 1960s, he was in South Florida working on the CIA’s secret war against Castro. He was instrumental in the U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965. He helped capture guerilla leader Che Guevara in Bolivia in 1967. In the late 1960s, according to an unpublished story by Bryan Abas, Morales was in Vietnam, assisting in the CIA’s notorious Phoenix program that killed thousands of Vietnamese civilians as suspected Communists.

His CIA colleague Thomas Clines said that Morales was one of the most feared undercover agents to the governments of Central and South America. “A lot of leaders figured that if Morales was there,” he said, “their government was going to cave in.” If the U.S. government needed someone or something neutralized, said Cline, “Dave would do it, including things that were repugnant to a lot of people.”

Gaeton Fonzi, a well-respected investigator who worked for both the Church Committee and the House Select Committee on Assassinations, is convinced Morales participated in the assassination. In the course of his congressional service, Fonzi interviewed a long-time friend of Morales, and Morales’ Harvard trained attorney, both of whom were with Morales when he boasted, referring to the slain president, “We sure took care of that son-of-a-bitch!”

One of our sources tells us that Morales had assembled a group of approximately twelve Cuban exiles trained as assassins, to be used in anti-Castro operations, and that Izquierdo was a member of that elite hit squad. Our source has identified all the members of this operation but because several are still alive, we do not deem it appropriate to name them yet. But we can state that several researchers believe that Izquierdo was not the only member of Morales’ team who was involved in the Kennedy assassination.

It is possible Morales’ statement was nothing more than drunken braggadocio and that he had nothing to do with the assassination. However, Hemming’s identification of Izquierdo as a participant in the assassination adds strength to the conviction of those who believe that Morales was involved. This is particularly so because Hemming had no knowledge of the Morales’ “hit squad” or Izquierdo’s involvement in it. Like fellow CIA agent Rip Robertson, Morales was close to the Mafia leader Johnny Rosselli. Kennedy scholar Dennis Mahoney writes in “Sons and Brothers” that Rosselli was the only person who could make the ill-temprered Morales laugh, and that Morales and Rosselli engaged in all-night drinking binges, often joined by Robertson.

It was perhaps in one of those drinking sessions that Morales or Rosselli first raised the idea of turning the Cubans they were training to kill Castro against Kennedy instead. Morales and/or Robertson would supply the Cuban exiles, many of whom felt Kennedy had betrayed them and caused the death of many of their comrades at the Bay of Pigs, and Rosselli would supply Mafia funding and expertise (and, in the event, Jack Ruby to forever silence the patsy).

The House Select Committee on Assassinations put Morales on its witness list but was never able to interview or depose him. In May of 1978, Morales, then retired from the CIA, returned to his Arizona home from a business trip, complaining of chest pains. That night he collapsed at his home and was rushed to a Tucson hospital where he died several days later, at the age of 53.

Morales was not the only CIA officer involved with Rosselli to die during the investigation of the House Assassinations Committee. William Harvey was Rosselli’s case officer in the post-Bay of Pigs efforts to assassinate Castro. In fact it was Harvey who summoned Morales to work on the Cuban operations from the CIA base in South Florida. Harvey, like Morales, hated the Kennedys. Harvey died of complications following heart surgery in June of 1976, at age 61.

There is no evidence, and we do not suggest, that either Morales or Harvey died other than from natural causes. Several suspects in the assassination did, however, meet violent deaths while the Kennedy assassination was being reinvestigated, first by the Senate Church Committee and then by the House Assassinations Committee: Chicago Mafia don Sam Giancana was murdered in his Illinois home in June of 1975, only five days before he was to testify to the Church Committee; Jimmy Hoffa was murdered in Detroit in July of 1975; Johnny Rosselli was murdered in Miami in July of 1976; and George DeMohrenschildt, the mysterious Russian baron who had befriended the Oswalds in Dallas, apparently committed suicide in March 1977, on the same day that House Assassinations investigator Fonzi had scheduled a meeting with him.

Like Hemming’s identification to Solares Hill of Izquierdo as the Dal Tex spotter, his new revelations add additional avenues of inquiry to those who believe it is not yet too late to solve the murder that continues to haunt the American psyche.