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U.S. CITIZENS KILLED OR DISAPPEARED BY CUBA’S COMMUNIST REGIME

Work in progress

The following information is derived from Armando Lago, Ph.D.’s manuscript “Cuba: The Human Cost of

Social Revolution.” A full bibliography is available on request. This summary has been prepared by T.R.A.C

-the Truth Recovery Project on Cuba- an initiative of the Free Society Project, Inc.

I. U.S. citizens executed, assassinated, or disappeared

Documented

Assassinated: 13

Executed: by firing squad: 15

Disappeared: 1

1. Armando Alejandre Jr. – Assassinated . Age: 45. Born in U.S.A.

Date: 24-02-96. Location: International airspace over the Straits of Florida. Occupation: Transit Planner with Miami

Dade County’s Dept. of Transportation. Vietnam War veteran. Place of residence: Miami, Florida. Description: Shot

down by Cuban MIG jet fighters while a passenger aboard an unarmed civilian plane in a humanitarian search and

rescue mission for “Brothers to the Rescue.”

2. Howard Frederick Anderson – Executed by Firing Squad. Age: 41.

Born in U.S.A. Date: 19-04-61. Location: 5 ½ prison, Luis Lazo, Pinar del Río province. Anderson had moved to Cuba

in 1947, where he had met his wife, Dorothy, and they had four children. Occupation: Business executive, President

of the American Legion, Havana, and avid sports’ fisherman. Place of residence: Havana, Cuba. Description: Arrested

on 03-61 and charged as a C.I.A. agent involved in an anti-Castro conspiracy. His trial, attended by Swiss diplomats,

was a sham. Prior to his execution, he was savagely tortured and his blood was forcibly extracted, a common practice

used by the Castro regime. He was buried in a ditch / mass grave. Notes: His widow and children sued the Cuban

government for damages in U.S federal court and, in April 2003, obtained an award of $67 million.

3. Louis Berlanti – Assassinated

Born in U.S.A. Date: 16-08-63. Location: Lake Okeechobee, Florida. Occupation: New York City contractor and Florida

real estate developer, President of Terra Verde Community Association Inc. Place of residence: Harrison, New York.

Description: The private airplane he was flying with his son was sabotaged and exploded over Lake Okeechobee,

Florida, killing them both. Notes: Berlanti had suffered sizable real estate losses from Castro government property

confiscations and had pledged half a million dollars to unseat the Castro regime. He and his son were members of

the "United Organizations for the Liberation of Cuba."

4. Fred Berlanti – Assassinated

Born in U.S.A. Date: 16-08-63. Location: Over Lake Okeechobee, Florida. Occupation: New York City contractor

and Florida real estate developer. Place of residence: St. Petersburg Beach, Florida. Description: The private airplane

in which he was flying with his father was sabotaged and exploded, killing them both.

5. Frederic Richard Carter – Assassinated

Born in U.S.A. Date: 11-08-1982. Location: G-2 State Security headquarters in Havana. Place of residence: Havana,

Cuba. Description: Assassinated while under arrest, victim of police brutality.

6. Enrique Cicard – Presumedly Assassinated

Age: 36. U.S. citizen. Date: 09-07-89. Location: Havana. Occupation: Colonel for the Ministry of the Interior in charge

of intelligence service. Place of residence: Havana, Cuba. Description: Reported suicide. Notes: His death was

surrounded by suspicious circumstances and was not reported in the Cuban press.

7. Earl Glenn Cobeil – Assassinated

Born in U.S.A. Date: 05-11-70. Location: Hoa Lo prison, North Vietnam. Occupation: U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel,

Vietnam P.O.W. Place of residence: Pontiac, Michigan. Description: Taken prisoner in 1967 when his Air Force jet was

shot down over North Vietnam, in January of 1968 he had been transferred to Hoa Lo Prison ( “The Zoo” ). There, he

was subjected to “The Cuban Program,” particularly vicious physical and psychological torture in an experimental

domination technique led by Cuban state security agents tested on 18 U.S. POWs held at Hoa Lo during 1967 and 1968.

After weeks of vicious beatings, unrelenting psychological torture, electroshocks, and solitary confinement, Cobeil’s

 physical and mental condition deteriorated progressively until he went into a coma and died in his cell.

Notes: Survived by a wife and two children, Cobeil’s remains were returned to the U.S. in March 1974. The head of

the Cuban torture team has been identified by other POWs as Fernando Vecino Alegret, Cuba’s Minister of Higher

Education.

8. Benito E. Cortés Maldonado –Executed By Firing Squad

 U.S. citizen by birth. Born In Puerto Rico. Date: 13-01-1959. Location: Santiago de Cuba. Occupation: Policeman.

Place of residence: Santiago de Cuba. Description: Executed by firing squad merely for having been a police officer

under Batista. His remains were not returned to the family.

9. Carlos Alberto Costa - Assassinated

Age: 29. Born in U.S.A. Date: 24-02-96. Location: International airspace over the Straits of Florida. Occupation:

Human Resources Administrator at the Miami International Airport, private pilot. Place of residence: Miami, Florida.

Description: Shot down by Cuban MIG jet fighters while piloting an unarmed civilian plane on a humanitarian search

and rescue mission for “Brothers to the Rescue.”

10. Junior Cruz – Executed by Firing Squad (*Case pending confirmation.)

U.S. citizen. Date: 1971. Description: Executed without trial.

11. Andrew DeGraux Villafaña – Disappeared

Age: 19. U.S. citizen born in Cuba. (Son of a U.S. F.B.I. agent residing in Cuba.) Date: 13-09-62. Location: Last seen

at a hospital in Cienfuegos, Las Villas province. Occupation: Student of auto mechanics. Place of residence: City of

Trinidad, Las Villas province. Descrip-tion: Escambray rebel wounded in combat. Had been taken for medical care

to a Trinidad hospital, where he was denied drinking water and subjected to psychological torture. Transferred to a

hospital in Cienfuegos, he came out of an operation, but that same night the family was told he died and had been

buried at a cemetery in Cienfuegos. It was, however, rumored that he had been executed. Notes: DeGraux had

been organizer of a student strike in Las Villas.

12. Mario M. de la Peña - Assassinated

Age: 24. Born in U.S.A.

Date: 24-02-96. Location: International airspace over the Straits of Florida. Occupation: Pilot intern with American

Airlines. Place of residence: Miami, Florida. Description: Shot down by Cuban MIG jet fighters while flying a

humanitarian search and rescue mission for “Brothers to the Rescue.

13. Rafael Díaz Becon - Executed by Firing Squad

U.S. citizen by birth. Born in Puerto Rico. Date: 1960.

14. Matthew Edward Duke – Assassinated

Age: 43. Born in U.S.A. Date: 14-05-60. Location: Area near Mariel, in Pinar del Río province. Occupation: Pilot.

Place of residence: Palm Beach, Florida. Description: His airplane was shot down by the Cuban Air Force when

he flew to Cuba to pick up fugitive Batista army and police officers. Upon landing, he was ambushed and shot

to death by Cuban army soldiers. His body was turned over to the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

15. Robert Otis Fuller – Executed by Firing Squad

Age: 25. Born in Lewiston, Cuba and registered as an American citizen in the American Consulate in Cuba at the

time.  Date: October 16, 1960. Location: San Juan Hill shooting practice field, Santiago de Cuba.

Occupation: Former U.S. Marine Officer, veteran of the Korean War. Place of residence: Miami, Florida.

Description: Landed on October 1960 in Navas Bay, Oriente province, to start a guerrilla movement with a group

led by Armentino Feria. Was captured and sentenced to death by a Revolutionary Tribunal. The summary trial lasted

only 20 minutes and ten men were sentenced to death. The appeal took 20 minutes and the execution was carried

out that same day. Executed with fellow Americans Anthony Salvard, Allen Thompson, and Anthony Zarba. The U.S.

government filed a diplomatic note of protest that was rejected by the Castro government.

Notes: Writer Norberto Fuentes recounts witnessing a 1987 meeting during which Fidel and Raúl Castro gloated

about having had the four Americans executed. On February 2003, Fuller's daughter won a default judgment against

the Cuban government in the Florida Courts.

16. Andy Graney - Executed by Firing Squad

U.S. citizen. Date: 01-62. Location: San Juan Hill, Santiago de Cuba

17. August K. McNair - Executed by Firing Squad

Age: 25. Born in U.S.A. Date: 19-04-61. Location: 5 ½ Prison, Luis Lazo, Pinar del Río province.

Occupation: Radiotelegraph operator for an anti-Castro guerilla group. Place of Residence: Coral Gables, Florida.

Description: Landed with Marcial Bello in Bahía Honda, Pinar del Rio province, on 21-03-61, to start an anti-Castro

guerrilla group. Was captured and executed.

18. Dan Mitrione – Assassinated

Born in U.S.A. Date: 08-08-70. Location: Montevideo, Uruguay. Occupation: C.I.A. agent stationed at the U.S.

Embassy in Uruguay. Place of residence: Montevideo, Uruguay. Description: Kidnapped by Tupamaro commandos

under the direction of Cuban security agents Miguel Hevia Cosculluela and Cuban Interior Minister (M.I.N.I.N.T.)

Colonel Antonio de la Guardia Font; assassinated by them after his interrogation and torture. His body was found

in the trunk of a stolen car on 10-08-70. Notes: The Nixon administration refused to negotiate his release.

19. William Alexander Morgan - Executed by Firing Squad

Age: 34. Born in U.S.A. Date: 12-03-61. Location: La Cabaña Fortress, Havana. Occupation: Commander in

Castro's Rebel Army / leader of anti-Batista's guerrillas in the Escambray mountains. U.S. Army veteran, former

paratrooper. Place of residence: Havana, Cuba. Description: Executed for participating in an anti-Castro conspiracy

 supplying arms to the Escambray guerrillas. Was betrayed by a police informer and sentenced to death in a sham

trial with notorious prosecutor Fernando Flores-Ibarra ( “Charco de Sangre "). The firing squad platoon leader,

American Rebel Army Capt. Herman Marks ( from Milwaukee, Wisconsin ), forced him to kneel before the firing squad

platoon by shooting him in the knees. Marks also delivered multiple “coup de grace “ shots to his head.

Notes: Just days after his death, on 15-03-61, Morgan’s 23-year old Cuban wife was arrested and remained imprisoned

until at least 1973. She fled Cuba in 1980 with her two daughters during the Mariel boatlift and resides In Toledo,

Ohio.

20. William Horace Patten Tabares – Executed by Firing Squad

Age: 34. Born in U.S.A. (Son of Canadian citizen.) Date: 23-09-61. Location: Guana-baquilla shooting practice field in

city of Camaguey. Occupation: Ticketing agent at Camaguey Airport / General aviation pilot for agricultural aerial-

spraying applications. Place of residence: Camaguey, Cuba. Description: Landed in Cuba to start a guerrilla movement,

was captured, and executed on charges of conspiracy against the powers of the state. Notes: His young wife, unaware

he was to be executed, unexpectedly learned of his death on Cuban radio.

21. Bill Patterson - Executed by Firing Squad.

Born in U.S.A. Date: 06-03-61. Location: City of Camaguey Place of residence: U.S.A. Description: Infiltrated into

Cuba, was captured, and executed by firing squad.

22. Rafael Pino Siero – Presumably Assassinated

U.S. citizen by naturalization (1946). Date: 22-08-77. Location: Cell in the rectangle of death punishment ward,

Combinado del Este prison, Havana. Age: 50. Place of residence: Miami, Florida. Description: Was captured in 1959

when he flew a plane to Cuba to pick-up Cuban military officers. Sentenced to 30 years in prison, in the 1970's he

was transferred to the Combinado del Este prison.

There, according to witnesses, he was assassinated in his punishment cell. The Cuban government claims he

committed suicide by hanging with a stocking. Notes: Personal friend of Fidel Castro from their university days.

Decorated World War II U.S. veteran.

23. Thomas Willard Ray – Assassinated

Born in U.S.A. Date: 19-04-61. Age: 30. Location: Cuban airspace over the Bay of Pigs. Occupation: Air Force

Captain, pilot with the Alabama National Guard. Place of residence: Birmingham, Alabama. Description: Piloting

a plane on a C.I.A. covert mission in support of the 2506 Brigade during the Bay of Pigs invasion, he was shot down

near the Australia Sugar Mill in Cuba. Having survived the crash wounded, he received a shot at close range to the

right temple. For 18 years, the Cuban government kept his frozen body at the morgue of the Institute of Legal

Medicine in Havana, exhibited as a war trophy and routinely desecrated. His daughter, Janet Ray Weininger, led

an energetic campaign to recover his remains. At one point she was asked by Cuba to pay $36,000 in storage

charges, which she refused. After receiving over 200 letters from her, Fidel Castro decided to release the remains.

Capt. Ray was buried in Birmingham, Alabama on December 1979 with military honors. Prior to his burial, an autopsy

was performed at to determine the cause of death. Notes: On November 2004, Ray’s daughter was awarded nearly

$87 million in damages against the Cuban government by a Miami – Dade county court.

24. Anthony Salvard – Executed by Firing Squad

Born in U.S.A. Date: 13-10-60. Location: San Juan Hill shooting practice field, Santiago de Cuba. Place of

residence: U.S.A. Description: Landed with a group on October 1960 in Navas Bay, Oriente province, to start a

guerrilla movement. Was captured and sentenced to death by a Revolutionary Tribunal. The summary trial lasted

only 20 minutes and ten men were sentenced to death. The appeal took 20 minutes and the execution was carried

out that same day. Was executed by firing squad together with fellow Americans Robert Fuller, Allen Thompson, and

 Anthony Zarba. Notes: The U.S. filed a diplomatic note of protest that was rejected by the Castro government.

Writer Norberto Fuentes recounts a 1987 meeting during which Fidel and Raúl Castro gloated about having the four

Americans executed.

25. John B. Skelton - Executed by Firing Squad

Date: 08-07-63. Location: Santiago de Cuba. Citizenship: Presumed U.S. citizen.

26. Allen Dale Thompson - Executed by Firing Squad

Age: 36. Born in U.S.A. Date: 17-10-60. Location: San Juan Hill shooting practice field In Santiago de Cuba.

Description: Landed with a group on October 1960 in Navas Bay, Oriente province, to start a guerrilla movement.

Was captured and sentenced to death by a Revolutionary Tribunal. The summary trial, during which ten men were

 sentenced to death, lasted only 20 minutes.  The appeal took 20 minutes and the execution was carried out that

same day. Executed by firing squad with fellow Americans Robert Fuller, Anthony Salvard and Anthony Zarba. 

Notes: The U.S. filed a diplomatic note of protest that was rejected by the Castro government. Writer Norberto

Fuentes recounts a 1987 meeting during which Fidel and Raúl Castro gloated about having the four Americans executed.

27. Robert Tuller – Executed by Firing Squad

U.S. citizen. Date: 1960. Location: La Cabaña Fortress, Havana.

28. Anthony Zarba – Executed by Firing Squad

Age: 27. Born in U.S.A. Date: 12-10-60. Location: San Juan Hill, Santiago de Cuba. Place of residence: Somerville, Massachusetts.

Description: Landed with a group on October 1960 in Navas Bay, Oriente province, to start a guerrilla

movement. Was captured and sentenced to death by a Revolutionary Tribunal. The summary trial lasted only 20 minutes

and ten men were sentenced to death. The appeal took 20 minutes and the execution was carried out that same day.

Notes: The U.S. filed a diplomatic note of protest that was rejected by the Cuban government. Writer Norberto Fuentes

recounts a 1987 meeting during which Fidel and Raúl Castro gloated about executing the four Americans.

 

II. U.S. citizens killed or missing in operations to monitor or counter the Castro regime

Documented: 12

1. Rudolph Anderson Jr. – Killed during surveillance mission

Age: 35. Born in U.S.A. Date: 27-10-62. Location: Bay of Nipe, Oriente Province, Cuba. Occupation: U.S. Air Force

Major, U-2 Pilot assigned to the 40-28 Strategic Weather Reconnais-sance Flight Program. Place of residence: Laughlan

Air Force Base, Texas. Description: Shot down by a missile while flying a U-2 Spy Plane over Cuba during the Cuban

Missile Crisis. He had taken the first photos of Soviet missile silos in Cuba. His body is still in exhibition in a refrigerated

vault at a Museum of the Revolution. Notes: Was survived by wife and three children.

2. Leo Francis Baker – Killed in combat

Born in U.S.A. Date: 19-04-61. Location: Cuban airspace over Bay of Pigs, Las Villas province. Occupation: Flight

Navigator with the Alabama National Guard. Place of residence: Birmingham, Alabama. Description: His plane, piloted

by Capt. Thomas Ray, was shot down during the Bay of Pigs invasion.

3. Robert Ellis Frost – Killed in combat

Born in U.S.A. Date: 18-02-60. Location: España Sugar Mill, Perico, Matanzas province. Occupation: Pilot. Place of

residence: U.S.A. Description: Killed In combat when his small plane was shot down by anti-aircraft fire when

bombarding a sugar mill in Matanzas province.

4. Wade Carrol Gray - Killed in combat

Born in U.S.A. Date: 19-04-61. Location: Cuban airspace. Occupation: Flight Navigator with the Alabama National

Guard. Place of residence: Birmingham, Alabama. Description: Shot down during an air support mission for the

2506 Brigade during the Bay of Pigs invasion.

5. Paul Hughes – Missing in Action

Born in U.S.A. Date: 11-60. Location: Florida Straits. Place of residence: U.S.A. Description: Disappeared during an

air bombing run over Cuba targeting strategic facilities in reprisal for the execution of four U.S. citizens on 21-10-60.

6. Jay Hunter – Missing in Action

Born in U.S.A. Date: 11-60. Location: Florida Straits. Place of residence: U.S.A. Description: Disappeared during an

air bombing run over Cuba targeting strategic facilities in reprisal for the execution of four U.S. citizens on 21-10-60.

7. Eugene Herman Koch – Killed in combat

Age: 22. U.S. citizen. Date: 17-04-61. Location: Bay of Pigs, Las Villas province. Occupation: Engineering student at

University of Villanueva, Havana. Place of residence: Havana. Description: Paratrooper, member of the 2506 Brigade,

killed in combat during the Bay of Pigs invasion.

8. William D. Pawley - Suicide

Born in U.S.A. Date: 06-63. Location: Miami, Florida. Occupation: Businessman / C.I.A. agent. Place of residence: Miami,

Florida. Description: Committed suicide after U.S. Navy ships accidentally machine-gunned the infiltration boat Flying

Tiger II, killing the entire infiltration team. He was in charge of this mission, designed to smuggle Soviet defectors out

of Cuba.

9. Mike Rafferty - Accidental death

Born in U.S.A. Date: 12-11-66. Location: Florida Straits. Occupation: Pilot. Place of residence: Florida.

Description: His B-25 aircraft crashed into the ocean after bombing a refinery in Matanzas Bay.

10. Alexander I. Rourke Jr. – Missing in Action

Age: 37. Born in U.S.A. Date: 24-09-63. Location: Cuban airspace. Occupation: Freelance writer. Place of

residence: New York, N.Y. Description: Disappeared with Geoffrey Sullivan in a Beechcraft bi-motor aircraft on a

flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Panama (after refueling in Cozumel, Mexico) during a anti-Castro mission

piloted by Sullivan. Earlier, on 25-04-63, they had bombed an oil refinery in Havana with homemade bombs, but the

bombs had failed to explode. Notes: Son of a former Manhattan District Attorney. There is an outstanding reward for

information on his whereabouts.

11. Riley W. Shamburger Jr. – Killed in combat

Born in U.S.A. Date: 04-61. Location: Cuban airspace over Bay of Pigs. Citizenship: U.S. citizen by birth.

Occupation: Air Force Major with the Alabama National Guard. Place of residence: Birmingham, Alabama.

Description: Shot down while piloting a plane in support of the 2506 Brigade during the Bay of Pigs invasion.

12. Geoffrey Sullivan – Missing in Action

Age: 28. Born in U.S.A. Date: 24-09-63. Location: Airspace over Cuba. Occupation: Commercial pilot. Place of

residence: New York City, N.Y. Description: Disappeared with Alexander Rourke, Jr while piloting a Beechcraft

bi-motor aircraft on a flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Panama (after refueling in Cozumel, Mexico) during an

anti-Castro mission. Was a veteran of several flights to Cuba in support of anti-Castro guerrillas.

 

T.R.A.C. -Truth Recovery Archive on Cuba- continues investigating reported cases and documenting previously

unreported cases. Additional information from witnesses and survivors is greatly appreciated.

For additional information, contact:

Free Society Project, Inc. P.O. Box 757  Summit, NJ 07902

Tel. 973.701-0520

Reproduction of this material is authorized as long as its source is cited.