Allusions related to Luisa Calderon in the Kennedy case are still offered by a few as relevant and the incident and accompanying decades of speculation have fueled a feasible myth. Some attached undue importance to unproven allegations that endure of a Communist plot without substantial evidence. The episode, despite its supporters, is what one prominent researcher refers to as a "mountain built out of a molehill".i ii Problems included a phone call with a horrible connection, both speakers encountered trouble clearly expressing their ideas, mistranslation, and calls prior that support Calderon had no foreknowledge of the assassination.
Central Intelligence Agency official S. D Breckenridge privately chided Congressional investigators regarding the matter. "A conversation by Calderon is assigned inference-- quite tenuous...based on an early mistranslation of what she said. That inference was then used as the basis for critical treatment of the Agency's not reporting it to the Warren Commission. When the correct translation was brought to the attention of your investigator--quite frankly, destroying the original inference--your investigator held to his original thesis and merely substituted the correct translation, blandly preserving the rationale based on a different set of statements. That the author was wed to the treatment he had already contrived seems to be the kindest explanation."iii
Breckenridge continues, "Having asserted significance for Calderon, based on the mistranslation (the assertion continuing after the translation showed it to be in error), the author then seizes on a suspicion of a DGI defector that Calderon might have been CIA--or American--agent. Without reference to what the defector knew (which was nothing), the fact is quite clear the CIA did know. Calderon was not CIA...CIA does not know that she was a DGI (Cuban Intelligence) agent; it doubted it." While the Agency treatment of the Calderon affair was seemingly reliable in some respects, this last assumption was incorrect. Luisa Calderon was feasibly a paid Cuban Intelligence asset.
"Luisa Calderon, since she returned to Cuba, has been paid a regular salary by the DGI even though she not performed any services. Her home is in the Vedado section where rents are high...Before going to Mexico, she worked in the Ministry of Exterior Commerce...Her title was General of the Communist Youth...Calderon was transferred directly from her position in the Ministry...to a post in Mexico, a matter of surprise to the Source." Intelligence assets could obtain official cover in various governmental operations to conceal their secret motives and provide diplomatic protections.
With Calderon's DGI connection supported, a second contention is that Calderon was a CIA asset. DGI defector Vladimir Lahera Rodriguez, also known as AMMUG-1, reported the information. The Agency balked at the allusion stating "This information, therefore, is unconfirmed information is not suitable for dissemination, It is possible that this information was not provided to the Warren Commission either because there was no basis in fact for the allegation or because the allegation was of substantive concern to the Agency. If the allegation were true, the consequences for the CIA would have been serious."iv
"It would have demonstrated that a possible CIA operative, well placed in the Cuban Embassy, may have possessed information prior to the assassination regarding Oswald and/or his relationship to the Cuban Intelligence Service and that Service's possible involvement in a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy." Apparently the Agency did have some interest in Calderon and the possibility that she was a DGI officer would have made her a target based on her alleged intelligence relationship.v Yet significant evidence does not currently demonstrate asserted connections between the Agency and Luisa Calderon.
Some attempt to utilize Norberto Hernandez's suspicions based on a letter sent to Calderon and claim proof of a connection to Lee Harvey Oswald. However, in Monroy's statements to the Agency he reveals "I thought that Luisa Calderon might have had contact with Oswald...she had been involved with an American in Mexico. The information which I refer was told by a DGI case officer named Norberto Hernandez de Curbelo...Hernandez told me hers was a peculiar case and that he believed that she had been recruited in Mexico by the Central Intelligence Agency although Manuel Pinerio, the Head of DGI, did not agree." This second hand assertion is unconfirmed and relies on the unproven belief of Hernandez.
"As I recall. Hernandez had investigated Louisa Calderon...the DGI had intercepted a letter to her by an American who signed his name as OWER (Phonetic or something similar. As you know pronunciation of Anglo-Saxon names is difficult in Spanish so I am not sure of how the name mentioned by Hernandez should be spelled. It could have been Howard or something different. As I understood the matter, the letter from the American was a love letter but indicated that there was a clandestine professional relationship between the writer and Luisa Calderon."vi Yet Monroy does state, "I do not know if this could have been Oswald."vii
Others instead demand these unproven allegations are substantial and proof of a Communist assassination plot. Yet the evidence does not support these assertions. Without substantial evidence, no Communist plot has ever been demonstrated, nor a connection between Lee Harvey Oswald and Luisa Calderon. The Calderon Affair remains largely unimportant speculation and not significant evidence of a conspiracy.
i. Rex Bradford, Lessons Learned from 40 Years of Coverup, November 20 , 2004, History Matters, historymatters.com
ii. Rex Bradford, More Mexico Mysteries, Part III, May, 2002, historymatters.com
iii. House Select Committee on Assassination, Segregated CIA Files, HSCA Report on Agency Comments, Box 61, 1979, National Archives and Records Administration Identification Number: 1993.08.04.13:46:54:650005
iv. CIA Document, Russ Holmes Work File, Pg. 89 As for the Agency's witholding of Information, 1964, p. 2, NARA ID: 104-10428-10072
vi. CIA Document, Russ Holmes Work File, AMMUG-1 Information on Lee Harvey Oswald, May 8, 1964, p. 3, NARA ID: 104-10400-10118
vii. HSCA, Segregated CIA Collection, Box 6, Debriefing of Source with information on Oswald Case Re Luisa Calderon, May 7, 1964, NARA ID: 1993.07.02.17:43:13:090310
Edited: December 2017
Down and Out in Mexico City