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Monday, May 9, 2011


Alpha 66 ranks among the most violent and most notorious of the Cuban-exile groups devoted to overthrowing FIDEL CASTRO’s regime in Havana. Official histories of the organization claim it was founded in PUERTO RICO sometime in the latter part of 1961.
The group’s cryptic name allegedly combines the first letter of the Greek alphabet (marking “the beginning” of exile campaigns against Castro) with the number of men present at its founding (66).
Throughout 40-odd years of arson, bombing, murder, and futile commando raids against CUBA, Castro has charged—and U.S. intelligence “insiders” privately agree—that Alpha 66 enjoys covert support from the FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI),the CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (CIA), and other organs of the U.S. government. (In 1976, Alpha 66 leader Antonio Veciana Banch told the CHURCH COMMITTEE that his group was actively supported by the CIA from 1960 to 1973, during which time the group participated in CIA-MAFIA plots to kill Castro.)

That relationship has not always been a friendly one, however. Following the BAY OF PIGS fiasco, Attorney General Robert KENNEDY staged raids against exile training camps run by the CIA in conjunction with elements of the Mafia, the KU KLUX KLAN, and other criminal groups. Antipathy toward President John Kennedy was so pronounced among right-wing Cuban exiles that they remain prime suspects in the 1963 JFK ASSASSINATION, and members of Alpha 66 were questioned in 1977 by the HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON ASSASSINATIONS.
While acts of TERRORISM linked to Alpha 66 could fill a hefty volume of their own, prosecutions in the United States have been few and far between. Five armed members of the group were captured in Cuba in December 1968, but U.S. authorities made no effort to punish Alpha 66 for violating neutrality laws.
Two years later in September 1970, Cuban authorities announced the capture of nine more Alpha 66 commandos on the island. Terrorist actions in Cuba continued through the 1990s—including three drive-by shootings at the same Havana hotel between March 1994 and May 1995—while the FBI professed inability to find the men responsible. Similar failure resulted in various crimes committed on U.S. soil, thereby strengthening the widespread belief that Alpha’s efforts were endorsed from Washington.
The group remains active today, claiming chapters in various U.S. cities with large Cuban-American populations.


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