. 31
( 52 .)


the penetration of the government by the extreme left and demanding a break with
Cuba. Or one of the noted personalities would deliver a speech prepared by the CIA,
and then a newspaper editor, or a well-known columnist, would praise it, both
gentlemen being on the CIA payroll.
Some of these fronts had an actual existence; for others, even their existence was
phoney. On one occasion, the CIA Officer who had created the non-existent
"Ecuadorean Anti-Communist Front" was surprised to read in his morning paper that a
real organization with that name had been founded. He changed the name of his
organization to "Ecuadorean Anti-Communist Action".

Wooing the working class came in for special emphasis. An alphabet-soup of
labor organizations, sometimes hardly more than names on stationery, were created,
altered, combined, liquidated, and new ones created again, in an almost frenzied attempt
to find the right combination to compete with existing left-oriented unions and take
national leadership away from them. Union leaders were invited to attend various
classes conducted by the CIA in Ecuador or in the United States, all expenses paid, in
order to impart to them the dangers of communism to the union movement and to select
potential agents.
This effort was not without its irony either. CIA agents would sometimes
jealously vie with each other for the best positions in these CIA-created labor
organizations; and at times Ecuadorean organizations would meet in "international
conferences" with CIA labor fronts from other countries, with almost all of the
participants blissfully unaware of who was who or what was what.
In Ecuador, as throughout most of Latin America, the Agency planted phoney
anti-communist news items in co-operating newspapers. These items would then be
picked up by other CIA stations in Latin America and disseminated through a CIA-
owned news agency, a CIA-owned radio station, or through countless journalists being
paid on a piece-work basis, in addition to the item being picked up unwittingly by other
media, including those in the United States. Anti-communist propaganda and news
distortion (often of the most farfetched variety) written in CIA offices would also
appear in Latin American newspapers as unsigned editorials of the papers themselves.
In virtually every department of the Ecuadorean government could be found men
occupying positions, high and low, who collaborated with the CIA for money and/or
their own particular motivation. At one point, the Agency could count amongst this
number the men who were second and third in power in the country.
These government agents would receive the benefits of information obtained by
the CIA through electronic eavesdropping or other means, enabling them to gain
prestige and promotion, or consolidate their current position in the rough-and-tumble of
Ecuadorean politics. A high-ranking minister of leftist tendencies, on the other hand,
would be the target of a steady stream of negative propaganda from any or all sources in
the CIA arsenal; staged demonstrations against him would further increase the pressure
on the president to replace him.
The Postmaster-General, along with other post office employees, all members in
good standing of the CIA Payroll Club, regularly sent mail arriving from Cuba and the
Soviet bloc to the Agency for its perusal, while customs officials and the Director of
Immigration kept the Agency posted on who went to or came from Cuba. When a
particularly suitable target returned from Cuba, he would be searched at the airport and
documents prepared by the CIA would be "found" on him. These documents, publicized
as much as possible, might include instructions on "how to intensify hatred between
classes", or some provocative language designed to cause a split in Communist Party
ranks. Generally, the documents "verified" the worst fears of the public about
communist plans to take over Ecuador under the masterminding of Cuba or the Soviet
Union; at the same time, perhaps, implicating an important Ecuadorean leftist whose
head the Agency was after. Similar revelations, staged by CIA stations elsewhere in
Latin America, would be publicized in Ecuador as a warning that Ecuador was next.
Agency financing of conservative groups in a quasi-religious campaign against
Cuba and "atheistic communism" helped to seriously weaken President Velasco's power
among the poor, primarily Indians, who had voted overwhelmingly for him, but who
were even more deeply committed to their religion. If the CIA wished to know how the
president was reacting to this campaign it need only turn to his physician, its agent, Dr.

Felipe Ovalle, who would report that his patient was feeling considerable strain as a
CIA agents would bomb churches or right-wing organizations and make it appear
to be the work of leftists. They would march in left-wing parades displaying signs and
shouting slogans of a very provocative anti-military nature, designed to antagonize the
armed forces and hasten a coup.
The Agency did not always get away clean with its dirty tricks. During the
election campaign, on 19 March 1960, two senior colonels who were the ClA's main
liaison agents within the National Police participated in a riot aimed at disrupting a
Velasco demonstration. Agency officer Bob Weatherwax was in the forefront directing
the police during the riot in which five Velasco supporters were killed and many
wounded. When Velasco took office, he had the two colonels arrested and Weatherwax
was asked to leave the country.
CIA-supported activities were carried out without the knowledge of the American
ambassador. When the Cuban Embassy publicly charged the Agency with involvement
in various anti-Cuban activities, the American ambassador issued a statement that "had
everyone in the [CIA] station smiling". Stated the ambassador: "The only agents in
Ecuador who are paid by the United States are the technicians invited by the
Ecuadorean government to contribute to raising the living standards of the Ecuadorean
Finally, in November 1961, the military acted. Velasco was forced to resign and
was replaced by Vice-president Carlos Julio Arosemana. There were at this time two
prime candidates for the vice-presidency. One was the vice-president of the Senate, a
CIA agent. The other was the rector of Central University, a political moderate. The day
that Congress convened to make their choice, a notice appeared in a morning paper
announcing support for the rector by the Communist Party and a militant leftist youth
organization. The notice had been placed by a columnist for the newspaper who was the
principal propaganda agent for the CIA's Quito station. The rector was compromised
rather badly, the denials came too late, and the CIA man won. His Agency salary was
increased from $700 to $1,000 a month.
Arosemana soon proved no more acceptable to the CIA than Velasco. All
operations continued, particularly the campaign to break relations with Cuba, which
Arosemana steadfastly refused to do. The deadlock was broken in March 1962 when a
military garrison, led by Col. Aurelio Naranjo, gave Arosemana 72 hours to send the
Cubans packing and fire the leftist Minister of Labor. (There is no need to point out here
who Naranjo's financial benefactor was.] Arosemana complied with the ultimatum,
booting out the Czech and Polish delegations as well at the behest of the new cabinet
which had been forced upon him.
At the CIA station in Quito there was a champagne victory celebration. Elsewhere
in Ecuador, people angry about the military's domination and desperate about their own
lives, took to arms. But on this occasion, like others, it amounted to naught ... a small
band of people, poorly armed and trained, infiltrated by agents, their every move known
in advance”confronted by a battalion of paratroopers, superbly armed and trained by
the United States. That was in the field. In press reports, the small band grew to
hundreds; armed not only to the teeth, but with weapons from "outside the country"
(read Cuba), and the whole operation very carefully planned at the Communist Party
Congress the month before.
On 11 July 1963 the Presidential Palace in Quito was surrounded by tanks and
troops. Arosemana was out, a junta was in. Their first act was to outlaw communism;
"communists" and other "extreme" leftists were rounded up and jailed, the arrests

campaign being facilitated by data from the CIA's Subversive Control Watch List.
(Standard at many Agency stations, this list would include not only the subject's name,
but the names and addresses of his relatives and friends and the places he frequented”
anything to aid in tracking him down when the time came).
Civil liberties were suspended; the 1964 elections canceled; another tale told
many times in Latin America.

And during these three years, what were the American people told about this
witch brew of covert actions carried out, supposedly, in their name? Very little, if
anything, if the New York Times is any index. Not once during the entire period, up to
and including the coup, was any indication given in any article or editorial on Ecuador
that the CIA or any other arm of the US government had played any role whatever in
any event which had occurred in that country. This is the way the writings read even if
one looks back at them with the advantage of knowledge and hindsight and reads
between the lines.
There is a solitary exception. Following the coup, we find a tiny announcement
on the very bottom of page 20 that Havana radio had accused the United States of
instigating the military takeover.2 The Cuban government had been making public
charges about American activities in Ecuador regularly, but this was the first one to
make the New York Times. The question must be asked: Why were these charges
deemed unworthy of reporting or comment, let alone investigation?

26. The Congo 1960-1964
The assassination of Patrice Lumumba

Within days of its independence from Belgium on 30 June 1960, the land long
known as the Belgian Congo, and later as Zaire, was engulfed in strife and chaos as
multiple individuals, tribes, and political groups struggled for dominance or
independence. For the next several years the world press chronicled the train of
Congolese governments, the endless confusion of personalities and conspiracies, exotic
place names like Stanleyville and Leopoldville, shocking stories of European hostages
and white mercenaries, the brutality and the violence from all quarters with its racist
Into this disorder the Western powers were "naturally" drawn, principally
Belgium to protect its vast mineral investments, and the United States, mindful of the
fabulous wealth as well, and obsessed, as usual, with fighting "communism".
Successive American administrations of Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson,
looking through cold-war binoculars perceived an East-West battleground. The CIA
station in the Congo cabled Washington in August that "Embassy and station believe
Congo experiencing classic communist effort [to] takeover government." CIA Director
Allen Dulles warned of a "communist takeover of the Congo with disastrous
consequences ... for the interests of the free world". At the same time, Dulles authorized
a crash-program fund of up to $100,000 to replace the existing government of Patrice
Lumumba with a "pro-western group".1
It's not known what criteria the CIA applied to determine that Lumumba's
government was going communist, but we do know how the Washington Post arrived at
the same conclusion:

Western diplomats see ... the part [of the Congo] controlled by volatile Premier
Patrice Lumumba sliding slowly but surely into the Communist bloc. ... Apart from
the fevered activity of Communist bloc nations here, the pattern of events is
becoming apparent to students of Communist policy. Premier Lumumba's startling
changes of position, his open challenge of the United Nations and Secretary
General Dag Hammarskjold, his constant agitation of the largely illiterate
Congolese can be explained in no other way, veteran observers say.2

Years later, Under Secretary of State C. Douglas Dillon told a Senate
investigating committee (the Church committee) that the National Security Council and
President Eisenhower had believed in 1960 that Lumumba was a "very difficult if not
impossible person to deal with, and was dangerous to the peace and safety of the
world."3 This statement moved author Jonathan Kwitny to observe:

How far beyond the dreams of a barefoot jungle postal clerk in 1956, that in a few
short years he would be dangerous to the peace and safety of the world! The
perception seems insane, particularly coming from the National Security Council,
which really does have the power to end all human life within hours.4

Patrice Lumumba became the Congo's first prime minister after his party received
a plurality of the votes in national elections. He called for the nation's economic as well
as political liberation and did not shy away from contact with socialist countries. At the
Independence Day ceremonies he probably managed to alienate all the attending foreign
dignitaries with his speech, which read in part:

Our lot was eighty years of colonial rule ... We have known tiring labor exacted in
exchange for salary which did not allow us to satisfy out hunger ... We have
known ironies, insults, blows which we had to endure morning, noon, and night
because we were "Negroes" ... We have known that the law was never the same
depending on whether it concerned a white or a Negro ... We have known the
atrocious sufferings of those banished for political opinions or religious beliefs ...
We have known that there were magnificent houses for the whites in the cities and
tumble-down straw huts for the Negroes.5

In 1960, it must be borne in mind, this was indeed radical and inflammatory
language in such a setting.
On 11 July, the province of Katanga”home to the bulk of the Congo's copper,
cobalt, uranium, gold, and other mineral wealth”announced that it was seceding.
Belgium, the principal owner of this fabulous wealth, never had any intention of giving
up real control of the country, and it now supported the move for Katanga's
independence, perceiving the advantage of having its investments housed in their own
little country, not accountable to nor paying taxes to the central government in
Leopoldville. Katanga, moreover, was led by Moise Tshombe, a man eminently
accommodating to, and respectful of, whites and their investments.
The Eisenhower administration supported the Belgian military intervention on
behalf of Katanga; indeed, the American embassy had previously requested such
intervention. Influencing this policy, in addition to Washington's ideological aversion to
Lumumba, was the fact that a number of prominent administration officials had
financial ties to the Katanga wealth.6
The Belgian intervention, which was a very violent one, was denounced harshly
by the Soviet Union, as well as many countries from the Afro-Asian bloc, leading the
UN Security Council on the 14th to authorize the withdrawal of Belgian troops and their
replacement by a United Nations military force. This was fine with the United States,

for the UN under Dag Hammarskjold was very closely allied to Washington. The UN
officials who led the Congo operation were Americans, in secret collaboration with the
State Department, and in exclusion of the Soviet bloc; the latter's citizens who worked
at the UN Secretariat were kept from seeing the Congo cables. Hammarskjold himself
was quite hostile toward Lumumba.7
The UN force entered Katanga province and replaced the Belgian troops, but
made no effort to end the secession. Unable to put down this uprising on his own, as
well as one in another province, Lumumba had appealed to the United Nations as well
as the United States to supply him with transport for his troops. When they both refused,
he turned to the Soviet Union for aid, and received it,8 though military success still
eluded him.
The Congo was in turmoil in many places. In the midst of it, on 5 September,
President Joseph Kasavubu suddenly dismissed Lumumba as prime minister”a step of
very debatable legality, taken with much American encouragement and assistance, as
Kasavubu "sat at the feet of the CIA men".9 The action was taken, said the Church
committee later, "despite the strong support for Lumumba in the Congolese
During the early 1960s, according to a highly-placed CIA executive, the Agency
"regularly bought and sold Congolese politicians".11 US diplomatic sources
subsequently confirmed that Kasavubu was amongst the recipients.12
Hammarskjold publicly endorsed the dismissal before the Security Council, and
when Lumumba tried to broadcast his case to the Congolese people, UN forces closed
the radio station. Instead, he appeared before the legislature, and by dint of his
formidable powers of speech, both houses of Parliament voted to reaffirm him as prime
minister. But he could taste the fruits of his victory for only a few days, for on the 14th,
army strongman Joseph Mobutu took power in a military coup designed by the United
Even during this period, with Lumumba not really in power, "CIA and high
Administration officials continued to view him as a threat" ... his "talents and dynamism
appear [to be the] overriding factor in reestablishing his position each time it seems half
lost" ... "Lumumba was a spellbinding orator with the ability to stir masses of people to
action" ... "if he ... started to talk to a battalion of the Congolese Army he probably
would have had them in the palm of his hand in five minutes" ...13
In late September, the CIA sent one of its scientists, Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, to the
Congo carrying "lethal biological material" (a virus) specifically intended for use in
Lumumba's assassination. The virus, which was supposed to produce a fatal disease
indigenous to the Congo area of Africa, was transported via diplomatic pouch.14
In 1975, the Church committee went on record with the conclusion that Allen
Dulles had ordered Lumumba's assassination as "an urgent and prime objective"
(Dulles's words).15 After hearing the testimony of several officials who believed that the
order to kill the African leader had emanated originally from President Eisenhower, the
committee decided that there was a "reasonable inference" that this was indeed the
As matters evolved in the Congo, the virus was never used, for the CIA's Congo
station was unable to come up with "a secure enough agent with the right access" to


. 31
( 52 .)