Sunday, March 3, 2013

Castro Says CIA Uses Raider Ship


New York Times
November 1, 1963 
Page 1

He Asserts Cuba Captured Small Boats From Vessel – Miami Owner Denies It

By The Associated Press

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. Oct., 31 – Premier Fidel Castro charged last night that the Central Intelligence Agency was operating a raider ship called the Rex, and that she had been used in a sabotage mission against Cuba. He said two small boats from the Rex and several C.I.A. agents had been captures.

Premier Castro described the Rex as a 150-foot diesel vessel flying the Nicaraguan flag. He said she was based in West Palm Beach.

A vessel called the Rex, 174 feet long, returned to Palm Beach Monday and was tied up today in the Port of Palm Beach. She flies the Nicaraguan flag and carries large searchlights, radar and a crane on the stern. Two motor launches were missing from their davits.

The port director, Joel Wilcox, said, “The dockage is paid by the Sea Key Shipping Company from a post office box. I know nothing of the Rex’s activities. “

Oil Man Claims Ship

J.A. Belcer, a Miami oil company executive, told The Miami Herald that the Rex belonged to him, but denied hat it had participated in raids against Cuba.

He said he bought the vessel from the Paragon Company, identified by The Herald as a Nicaraguan firm formerly owned by the family of Luis Somoza, an ex-President of Nicaragua.

Mr. Belcher told The Herald that for most of the year he had leased the Rex for electronic and oceanographic research to the international division of the Collins Radio Company of Dallas. He said the ship’s captain, identified as Alexander Brooks, had told him the Rex had never been in Cuban waters.

Premier Castro, in a radio and television broadcast, said that the captured agents might face death sentences.

In his three-hour speech, the Premier accused the C.I.A. of “stepping up its activities against Cuba in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Flora.”

He accused the Central Intelligence Agency of murdering workers, landing weapons and infiltrators in Cuba, hiring saboteurs and using postal packages to send explosives into Cuba.

“This was the kind of aid the United States sent to Cuba after the hurricane,” he said. “They thought they had their opportunity after the hurricane. This explains and justifies Cuba’s rejections of the United States offer to aid.”

There are two other mysterious vessels of Nicaraguan registry operating out of ports of Florida’s southeast coast. One sometimes changes color.

The Leda is tied up at Port Everglades and the Port of Fort Lauderdale, 45 miles south of Palm Beach. She is registered from Greytown, Nicaragua, which is now known as San Juan del Norte.

A Miami man who knew a crewman on the Villaro said today, “She was a funny ship. She changed colors all the time. Sometimes the hull would be blue with a green deck. Other times it was gray with an orange deck. My friend said she was working in oil exploration.

Coast Guard headquarters in Miami said it had no listing for any of the ships or their companies.

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