Down and Out in Mexico City

The Mexican Police Mug Shots of Silvia Tirado De duran and Horacio Duran Navarro taken during one of their multiple arrests conducted at the request of us officials

The Mexican Police Mug Shots of Silvia Tirado De duran and Horacio Duran Navarro taken during one of their multiple arrests conducted at the request of us officials

Lee Harvey Oswald's Mexico City travels present many official and public allegations, little conclusive verified evidence, and some have presented evolving ideas or to believe myths despite the problematic evidence. Certain assertions have sought to make definite claims regarding suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald without the necessary definite proof. Two stories that some have purported are of great importance are the allegations regarding Silvia Tirado de Duran, one claim states Oswald and others attended a party at Duran's house and they had a physical relationship. The other assertion places Oswald, Duran, and a Communist official meeting at a local restaurant but each story has significant problems.
Duran was a worker in the Cuban Consulate office where according to officials she encountered Lee Harvey Oswald but the person meeting with Duran has dissimilar features. That man was blonde-haired, short, red-faced, and poorly dressed unlike Oswald in his embassy application photographs.i This man does not resemble Lee Harvey Oswald and if we are to regard Duran's testimony, we should regard all of it. This person visits the Embassy in September while Oswald is in Mexico, but Duran's statement describes someone with other features than Oswald possessed. Duran herself in one statement admits she did not have a clear view of the man during this visit.

Despite the contrary description, Duran later identifies the actual Lee Harvey Oswald as having visiting the Cuban diplomatic compound prior. Mexican officials arrest and interrogate Duran and her husband multiple times in the days following the Kennedy assassination, Duran states her only meetings with Oswald were at the Cuban Consulate. She gives Oswald her name and the diplomatic office phone number; Oswald later adds it to the collection of names in his personal documents. Some infer her name supports a relationship, while Duran states it was normal procedure to aid in processing his requests.ii iii Thus, in Silvia Duran's earliest official statements she denies knowing Oswald beyond the brief consulate encounters.
Over a year following the final arrest of the Durans, Horacio Duran's cousin Elena Carro De Paz and her daughter Elena Paz Garro claimed a twist party had occurred. They claimed they had not previously made a statement for fear of reprisal, however it remains unclear how a year's time assured their safety if fear was their motivation. De Paz claimed she infrequently visited her cousin Horacio Duran but was invited to a party at her cousin's house. "De Paz is unable to supply a date for this asserted gathering and supplied the dates of Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, September 30, October 1, and October 2, 1963, respectively, with the most likely possibility that is was held on the evening of October 1 or 2, 1963."

De Paz claimed she and her daughter were picked up in the morning and taken to a party that some thirty people attended. She described this gathering as a "twist" party at the home of Rueben Duran and remarked on the arrival of three Americans who Silvia Duran greeted. De Paz could not determine how long the three purported Americans were present but one of these Americans was dressed in a sweater and dark pants and De Paz claims he "resembled very much press photographs of Lee Harvey Oswald. Her daughter agreed with this observation. Subsequently, photographs of Oswald in various poses were exhibited to both Mrs. Paz and her daughter at the time of the interview and they were unable to make a positive identification..."iv This vague claim lacks verifiable evidence, even those making the claim cannot expressly identify Oswald, and this is because all other people involved contend the statement.

mexican Writer Elena Garro De Paz

mexican Writer Elena Garro De Paz

When the Mexican police questioned Silvia's husband Horacio Duran Navarro previously about Oswald, he only knew the name from Silvia's prior mention of the angry consulate encounters and the press. Silvia's cousin and asserted twist party host Rueben Duran Navarro, his wife, sister in law, and multiple visiting family friends, each affirmed they did not know Oswald before the De Paz assertion.v The De Paz claim is feasibly just one of the dozens of mistaken Oswald identifications. Without a clear statement that at least has the correct date offered and verifiable facts, there is no reason to believe that Oswald met Duran beyond what most evidence presents.
If Oswald and Duran were having an affair, why could she not secure his request at the consulate? Could he not have asked her prior and saved himself the repeated visits? Why later associate with her if she could not help achieve his goal of reaching Cuba. Oswald had a room at the Hotel del Comercio in Mexico City, if he was having a physical relationship or secret meeting with Duran, why not be discreet and use it to meet her. The owner, multiple employees of the hotel, and guests never saw Oswald with another person during his vii
Officials noted the White House received a paper entitled "Possible Psychological Motivations in the Assassination of President Kennedy written by Jose Lasaga of Miami, Florida. This speculative paper attempted to establish the motivation of Oswald in the assassination of President Kennedy was Fidel Castro or a Castro agent...the paper alleged that Oswald held an extended interview with the Cuban Ambassador in Mexico City who he met in a restaurant on the outskirts of Mexico City." Reporter Salvador Diaz Verson had told the restaurant claim to Lasaga. Diaz Verson "was interviewed and stated he was at offices of the newspaper 'Excelsior' on November 25, 1963. There he learned through the Mexican press that the Mexican Government had arrested on Silvia Duran, that Duran allegedly had Oswald as a guest in her house during his visit to Mexico, and that Duran placed Oswald in contact with officials of the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City."viii  As the claims mount, no verifiable support beyond rumor and Diaz Verson is forthcoming.

The entire claim of the restaurant meeting relies upon anti-Castro essay citing a prior rumor. Additionally, "Diaz Verson went on to claim that he was told by Dr. Borrell Navarros, an exiled Cuban newspaper man employed by "Excelsior", that Oswald had a private meeting with Silvia Duran and a Cuban official. Officials subsequently interview him and Navarros states he did speak with Diaz Verson about Oswald. Yet he confirms never telling Diaz Verson "...the story credited to him by Diaz Verson concerning the visit to a Mexico City restaurant by Oswald and Silvia Duran. Borrell had never heard this story or any similar story. Borrell knew of no meeting between Oswald and Cuban Embassy officials other than the meetings that allegedly occurred at the time Oswald allegedly visited the Cuban Consulate in Mexico City. Borrell knew nothing concerning any visit by Oswald to the home of Duran"ix
An official source was unable to locate the asserted Caballo Blanco Restaurant, the alleged location of an Oswald meeting in Mexico City, but found a Caballo Bayo restaurant. The source questioned the restaurant's employees and offered photographs of Cuban Consul Azcue Lopez, Cuban Ambassador Armas, Silvia Duran, and Oswald. None of the employees identified them. However, Dolores Ramirez De Barrieo was the owner of the local restaurant Oswald had visited, the Calle Bernardino de Sahagun "immediately adjacent to the Hotel De Comercio." She remembered Oswald eating several meals alone.x
Salvador Diaz Verson prior circulates the story consistently among the Mexican media, which embraced the speculation. One reporter "Fernandez Varela admitted he had not understood the story too well and perhaps confused it 'a little when he retold it'." When Diaz Verson was asked by officials about eventual variances in his different accounts Diaz Verson admitted he did make statements to...the FBI...slightly at variance with each other, and both at variance with what he related to another Special Agent..." "He declared he did not regard anything he heard, or said he heard in Mexico, as evidence, or of serious importance he stated he had engaged in loose talk and repeated theory and speculation and when challenged as to his sources, he was ashamed to admit an irresponsible naming of sources."

Diaz Verson eventually told officials "...when visiting the newspaper office of Excelsior, he did not listen closely to the eighteen or twenty newsmen who were there, expressing ideas, theories, and speculation, regarding the visit of Lee Harvey Oswald to Mexico. Diaz Verson stated he took no notes on what was said by the reporters as he knew at the time it was only speculation and newsman conversation; Dr. Borrell Navarro was the only person present whose name he knew and Diaz Verson simply attributed some thing said to Borrell Navarro which Borrell Navarro did not say...." "...Diaz Verson stated he cannot honestly separate as to source, what he heard from about twenty newsmen, what he read in the Mexico City newspapers, and what he heard from Dr. Borrell Navarro.xi
Diaz Verson stated he was extremely distressed an ashamed of his irresponsible talk as he is a professional newsman. He said he writes for the AHORA, a Spanish language newspaper in New York...He stated he has written nothing concerning what heard regarding the Oswald case in Mexico, as he recognized he had nothing newsworthy, and no facts which he could substantiate. Diaz Verson declined to take a polygraph examination stating it would only humiliate him further, and show what he had already admitted."xii
The only meetings of Lee Harvey Oswald and Silvia Duran with some evidence were their possible discussions at the Cuban Mexico City diplomatic compound. However, some of the same evidence disputes it was always Oswald at some of those brief exchanges. No significant evidence supports any romance, secret meeting in a restaurant, or in a shared car. Due to the misinformation of a reporter, the speculation of witnesses and officials, and decades of evolving claims, much has been made of a story with little verifiable facts.
C.A.A. Savastano
TPAAK Facebook

i. House Select Committee on Assassinations, Segregated CIA file, Reel 7, Folder H - Silvia Tirado de Duran (Soft File), Results of the Interrogation of Silvia Duran and her husband Horacio Duran Navarro, p. 3, National Archives and Records Adminstration Identification Number: 1994.05.31.12:51:10:960005

ii. Ibid
iii. Ibid, Letter regarding Lee Harvey Oswald and Silvia Tirado De Duran, November 26, 1963
iv. Ibid, Lee Harvey Oswald, December 11, 1964
v. Ibid, Translation of Interrogations, p. 4  
vi. Federal Bureau of Investigation file, Oswald Mexico City File (105-3702), Section 11, Oswald in Mexico City, Part D. Hotel Accommodations of Lee Harvey Oswald, p. 54  
vii. Ibid, pp. 55-57   
viii. HSCA Seg. CIA file, Microfilm Reel 7, Folder H,  Duque-Golitsyn, Silvia Tirado De Duran (Soft File), Re: Lee Harvey Oswald, January 29, 1964 pp. 1-2
ix. Ibid, p. 2
x. FBI file, Oswald MC File, Sec. 11, p. 57
xi. HSCA Seg. CIA file, Re: LHO, Jan 29, 1964, p. 3
xii. Ibid pp. 3-4

Edited: December 2017

Related Podcast

Oswald in Mexico City