JFK’s conspiracy theory debunked in Mexico 57 years after Kennedy assassination
Most conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy have been refuted. Kennedy was not killed by a gas-powered device powered by aliens or by the actor’s father Woody Harrelson. But speculation about Kennedy̵
7;s November 22, 1963 assassination in Dallas continues, fueled by unpublished classified documents, bizarre ballistics, and the claim of the killer, Lee Harvey Oswald – who was later killed on live television while in police custody – that he was “just an enemy.” Several experts on JFK’s murder, such as former New York Times investigative reporter Philip Shannon, see Mexico as the best place to find answers about a possible conspiracy and who is behind it. Just over a month before Kennedy’s assassination, Oswald took a bus from Texas to Mexico City. He arrived on Friday morning, September 27, 1963, and left very early on Wednesday, October 2, according to US and Mexican intelligence. Was Oswald the kind of James Bond crook who went south of the border to ally himself with communists, Cuban revolutionaries and spies – or just a mad killer? I dug up this question while researching my book on conspiracy stories in Mexico, and I think I found something that everyone else missed: a hole in the story of the man himself who started a stubborn conspiracy theory about Oswald’s Mexico journey. Communist Mexico City Mexico was a Cold War hotspot in the mid-20th century, a refuge for Soviet exiles, American leftists fleeing the anti-communist persecution of McCarthyism, and supporters of the Castro regime in Cuba. Every communist and democratic country had an embassy in Mexico City, the only place in the Western Hemisphere where these enemies coexisted more or less openly. According to witnesses from the Cuban and Soviet diplomatic missions, Oswald visited their embassies several times on Friday and Saturday. He desperately sought visas for those countries that Americans were then barred from visiting. It is said that the processing of such documents will take months, Oswald got into a heated dispute with the Cuban consul Emilio Azque. Oswald also forced the cancellation of a KGB volleyball match on Saturday morning when he was brandishing a weapon at the Soviet consulate before crying and leaving. These events are well documented by the CIA, which had expanded its operations in Mexico in the 1960s to monitor communist activities, even hiring 200 aides from Mexico. The Mexican secret service, whose files from the 1960s era Mexico had recently begun to declassify, also tracked down Oswald on September 27 and September 28, 1963. However, Oswald’s whereabouts remained unknown for the next three and a half days. . Conspiracy Theory Is Born A major conspiracy about Oswald’s undocumented time in Mexico City links him to dangerous Mexicans on the left side of the Cold War. This story arose in March 1967, when the American consul in the Mexican coastal city of Tampico, Benjamin Ruil, bought drinks for local journalists. One of them, Oscar Contreras Lartiga, a 28-year-old El Sol de Tampico reporter, told Ruil that he had met Oswald in 1963 when he was a law student at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Contreras said he was in a provincial campus group and that Oswald had asked the group for help in obtaining a Cuban visa. According to Contreras, Oswald spent two days with these students from the National Autonomous University, after which he met again a few days later at the Cuban embassy. Obviously scared for his life, Contreras wouldn’t tell Ruil much more. He said he himself traveled to Cuba, knew people from the Castro regime and blew up a statue of a former Mexican president on campus in Mexico City. Contreras feared persecution for his political activities. However, Contreras said this was not the first time he had shared his story. After JFK was shot, Contreras told Ruyle, he had commented to his editor that he had recently met with Oswald. The Contreras Question Contreras’s account hinted at suspicious, hitherto unknown connections between Oswald and communist Cuba made shortly before JFK’s assassination. His story is, according to a statement later sent by CIA headquarters, “the first solid investigation we have into Oswald’s activities in Mexico. “U.S. government officials needed to know if Contreras was a reliable source. Three months after Ruil’s happy hour, a CIA agent from Mexico City went to Tampico to interrogate Contreras. During the six-hour interrogation, Contreras still refused to go into details, but he said Oswald never mentioned murder – only repeatedly said that “it must reach Cuba.” In 1978, a researcher from the US Commission on the Selection of Murders named Dan Hardway went to Mexico, to investigate JFK’s murder.He failed to interview Contreras despite several attempts, but warned in an influential report that his account should not be rejected.New York Times reporter Shannon, who interviewed Oscar Contreras for a 2013 book about Shannon writes that Contreras – whom he calls a “prominent journalist” – “went much further” in their interview than with the CIA, claiming that “much wider contact and between Oswald and Cuban agents in Mexico. ” Dan Hardway, now a lawyer in West Virginia, still believes in Contreras. After reading Shannon’s book, he reiterated in 2015 that Lee Harvey Oswald may have been part of a wider Cuban intelligence network. A hole in the net, Scar Contreras died in 2016, so I couldn’t interview him myself. But in my investigation, a small detail of his biography caught my attention – an apparently neglected contradiction that could undermine his entire history. In Contreras’s account, he escaped from the campus of the National Autonomous University and moved to Tampico around 1964. However, Contreras also claims to have told his “editor” about his meeting with Oswald after Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. College newspapers are not common in Mexico, and Contreras was a law student. So how could he have an editor in 1963? I thought his newspaper, El Sol de Tampico, might contain the answer. Digging through his archives, I discovered that the newspaper ran a Sunday gossip column in the early 1960s called Crisol. Carscar Contreras became a Crisol reporter on June 6, 1963, and continued to write the gossip column in September and October of that year. While Lee Harvey Oswald was in Mexico City, Contreras was 300 miles away in Tampico. In lavish prose, faded editions of the local newspaper show, he chronicles lavish wedding receptions, quinceañeras, and yacht trips from Tampico’s high society. Three dark days I believe that the archives of Sol de Tampico discredit Contereras’ account. A political correspondent can live far from where his newspaper is published. But for the gossip columnist, that would be a waiver. This revelation plunged Oswald’s 1963 trip to Mexico back in the dark. There are other conspiracy theories, including that Oswald had a Mexican mistress who led him to a party of communists and spies. But Mexico is more likely to have no hidden clues to JFK’s murder. Conspiracy theories offer assurances of depth and closure, a promise that the greatest mystery of the 20th century is solvable. But from what we know about what Oswald did and what he didn’t do in Mexico City, he was an unstable, disorganized loner who couldn’t even handle road logistics. The murder of JFK is a cold case. And in Mexico, only exhausted potential customers remain. This article was republished by The Conversation, a non-profit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. Written by: Gonzalo Soltero, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). Read more: * Bob Dylan brings links between the murder of JFK and the coronavirus as a great relief * What better forensic science can reveal about the murder of JFK Gonzalo Soltero received funding from the Newton Advanced Scholarship from the British Academy.