“Of all the people I interviewed in New Orleans regarding the Kennedy assassination, Carlos Bringuier was the one I trusted most. I could see in his eyes he was always telling me the complete truth.” (Oriana Fallaci, L, Europeo, 1969.)
"The skinny guy walked into my store and started looking around," recalls Carlos Bringuier about the afternoon of August 5, 1963. "But I could sense he wasn't a shopper. Sure enough, after a few minutes of browsing he came up and extended his hand. "Good afternoon," he said. "I'm Lee Harvey Oswald."
In 1963 the CIA regarded the Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil (DRE) “the most militant and deeply motivated of all the Cuban exile organizations seeking to oust Castro." Carlos Bringuier was their representative in New Orleans. It was DRE agents who infiltrated Cuba and brought out the first reports of Soviet missile installations--to the scoffs of the White House's Best and Brightest. It took two months for anyone to finally take them seriously. A U-2 flight then confirmed every last detail of what the DRE boys had been risking their lives for months to report.
“Oswald approached me because my name was so often linked to anti-Castro activities in the local (New Orleans) news,” recalls Bringuier. “He even jammed his hand in his pocket and pulled out a roll of bills, offering to contribute to the anti-Castro cause. I was suspicious and declined, but he kept blasting Castro and Communism in very colorful terms the whole time he was in the store. He returned the next day, snarled out a few more anti-Castroisms and dropped off his training manual for the anti-Castro fight, Guidebook for Marines.”
Two days later Bringuier was astounded to spot Oswald a few blocks away from his store distributing Fair Pay for Cuba pamphlets. Carlos approached, accepted a pamphlet, ripped it to pieces and a scuffle ensued. The cops arrived, the scuffle made the news, and a few days later Bringuier and Oswald debated on New Orleans radio and TV.
Dozens of books, movies, articles and TV specials depict these events. What they DON’T depict is how, between their scuffle and debate, Bringuier and a friend Carlos Quiroga turned the tables on Oswald. Posing as a Castro-sympathizer eager to join Oswald’s Fair Play for Cuba Committee, Quiroga (who had not been in the store or involved in the scuffle) visited Oswald at his home and they commiserated for hours. “You read everyplace that Oswald was dumb, a flake, a patsy, a set-up,” says Bringuier. “Nonsense. He was a smooth operator and spoke fluent Russian.”
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.