My dad was on that second moppie you mentioned in your article. They were picked up by the merchant ship and taken to
where they were in jail and questioned until the Panama CIA
intervened and got them out. I’d love to know
more. I only know the stories my dad told me but would love to
read any additional research you have on this.
He mentioned a few things but didn't really like to talk much about it. You could get more info from some guys that were actually there. The Rex's physician is still around, he remained my parents doctor until my dad's death. His name is Dr. Armando Cruz. Had is practice on 8th st and 87th but don't know if he's still there. I remember another gentleman that served with my dad. He remained good friends with my dad. Havent seen him since my dad's funeral in Oct 2009. His name is Pepin Pujol. He's elderly but was in good health. I believe he had some rank in the ship, not sure. there were a few others that use to come around but don't think they're still alive.
By the way, from what I remember of the story you cited in your article, that was their last mission of over 100 missions to the island. The mopies actually made it to shore and they were tied before they realized it was a trap, according to my dad, when all hell broke loose. He jumped in the water and had to cut the rope that had his boat tied. He didnt remember how he got back on board. But he got back in and they were able to head out. They had casualties on board. They didnt know what had happened to the other Moppie and the Rex had gone. They later saw from afar the glow of the freighter being attacked. They thought it was the Rex under fire. He didnt mention their stopping the merchant ship by firing any weapons. He said they signaled the ship and their story was that they had gone out to fish but had engine trouble. Of course no one would believe them because their boat was all shot up. But they werent allowed to talk and that was their story and they were sticking to it. I think they were in
for about 2 or 3 months, not sure. They were questioned but they wouldnt
veer from their fishing story and then finally a Panama CIA
operative showed up. Once they were in contact, they were told they would
be brought back home. He said they were sure they were going to be killed
since the CIA didnt want any of this out.
He was surprised they actually brought them home. They were
concerened about the Rex but they were told the ship made it back safely and he
later got the full story from his shipmates. Those are just my
recollections of what he mentioned of that mission.
I'll ask my older brother if he wants to share any info. I know he was involved as well but he's never said anything. He would know more than me. I'll send him a copy of your article.
Btw, I just googled pepin pujol and he seemed to have stayed busy even at his advanced age. His full name is Jose Hilario "pepin" Pujol.
It appears he was the captain of the "santrina" which in 2006 was connected to posada carriles and anti castro activities.
It's the guy featured on www.latinamericanstudies.org/pujol.htm. He would be a veritable fountain of info for you if you get him to talk to you.