ReutersMost conspiracy theories surrounding President John F. Kennedy’s assassination have been disproven. Kennedy was not killed by a gas-powered gadget triggered by aliens or by actor Woody Harrelson’s dad.But hypothesis about Kennedy’s Nov. 22, 1963 homicide in Dallas continues, fueled by unreleased categorized paperwork, weird ballistics and the declare of murderer Lee Harvey Oswald—who was later killed on dwell TV whereas in police custody—that he was “just a patsy.”Several JFK assassination specialists, like the previous New York Times investigative reporter Phillip Shenon, see Mexico as the very best place to seek out solutions relating to a potential conspiracy and who was behind it.Just over a month earlier than Kennedy’s killing, Oswald took a bus from Texas to Mexico City. He arrived Friday morning, Sept. 27, 1963 and left very early on Wednesday, Oct. 2, in line with American and Mexican intelligence.Was Oswald a sort of rogue James Bond who went south of the border to consort with communists, Cuban revolutionaries and spies—or only a deranged killer?I dug into that query whereas researching my ebook on conspiracy narratives in Mexico, and I believe I discovered one thing everyone else missed: a gap within the story of the very man who began a tenacious conspiracy idea about Oswald’s Mexico journey.Lee Harvey Oswald’s Mexico visa from 1963, with entry and exit stamps. Mexican Secretary of the InteriorMexico was a Cold War scorching spot within the mid-20th century, a haven for Soviet exiles, American leftists fleeing the anti-communist persecution of McCarthyism and sympathizers with Cuba’s Castro regime. Every communist and democratic nation had an embassy in Mexico City—the one place within the Western Hemisphere the place these enemies coexisted kind of overtly.According to witnesses from the Cuban and Soviet diplomatic missions, Oswald visited their embassies repeatedly on Friday and Saturday. He was desperately searching for visas to these nations, which Americans have been then prohibited from visiting.Told such paperwork would take months to course of, Oswald bought in a heated argument with the Cuban consul, Emilio Azcué. Oswald additionally compelled a KGB volleyball match on Saturday morning to be canceled when he brandished a weapon on the Soviet consulate, earlier than bursting into tears and leaving.Story continuesThose occasions are nicely documented by the CIA, which within the 1960s had ramped up its Mexico operations to watch communist exercise, even hiring 200 Mexican brokers to assist. The Mexican Secret Service, whose 1960s-era recordsdata Mexico has lately begun to declassify, additionally tracked Oswald on Sept. 27 and Sept. 28, 1963.Oswald’s whereabouts for the following three-and-a-half days, nevertheless, stay unknown.Lee Harvey Oswald throughout a press convention after his arrest in Dallas. GettyA primary conspiracy about Oswald’s undocumented time in Mexico City places him involved with harmful Mexicans on the left facet of the Cold War.This story originated in March 1967, when the American consul within the Mexican coastal metropolis of Tampico, Benjamin Ruyle, was shopping for drinks for native journalists.One of them—Óscar Contreras Lartigue, a 28-year-old reporter for El Sol de Tampico—advised Ruyle he’d met Oswald in 1963 when he was a regulation pupil at Mexico’s National Autonomous University.Contreras stated he’d been in a pro-Castro campus group and that Oswald had begged this group for assist getting a Cuban visa. According to Contreras, Oswald spent two days with these National Autonomous University college students, then met up with them once more just a few days later on the Cuban Embassy.Evidently afraid for his life, Contreras wouldn’t inform Ruyle way more. He stated he himself had traveled to Cuba, knew individuals within the Castro regime and had blown up the statue of a former Mexican president on campus in Mexico City. Contreras feared persecution for his political actions.Contreras did say this wasn’t the primary time he was sharing his story, although. After JFK was shot, Contreras advised Ruyle, he’d commented to his editor that he’d lately met Oswald.CIA Spyhunters Knew Lee Harvey Oswald Was in Dallas Days Before JFK’s AssassinationContreras’ account hinted at suspicious, beforehand unknown connections between Oswald and communist Cuba made shortly earlier than JFK’s assassination.His story was, in line with a memo later despatched from CIA headquarters, “the first solid investigative lead we have on Oswald’s activities in Mexico.” U.S. authorities officers wanted to seek out out if Contreras was a reliable supply.Three months after Ruyle’s joyful hour, a CIA official from Mexico City went to Tampico to query Contreras. During the six-hour interrogation, Contreras nonetheless refused to enter particulars, however he did say Oswald by no means talked about assassination—solely that he stated repeatedly he “had to get to Cuba.”In 1978, a researcher from the U.S. House Select Commission on Assassinations named Dan Hardway went to Mexico to research the JFK assassination. He was unable to interview Contreras regardless of a number of makes an attempt, however in an influential report warned his account shouldn’t be dismissed.The New York Times reporter Shenon, who interviewed Oscar Contreras for a 2013 ebook on the JFK assassination, additionally discovered Contreras credible. Shenon wrote that Contreras – whom he calls a “prominent journalist” – “went much further” of their interview than he had with the CIA, alleging “far more extensive contacts between Oswald and Cuban agents in Mexico.”Dan Hardway, who’s now a lawyer in West Virginia, nonetheless believes Contreras. After studying Shenon’s ebook, he reiterated in 2015 that Lee Harvey Oswald might need been a part of a wider Cuban intelligence internet.Contreras wrote for Sol de Tampico on Oct. 6, 1963. The ConversationÓscar Contreras died in 2016, so I couldn’t interview him myself.But in my investigation, a minute element of his biography grabbed my consideration—an apparently neglected contradiction that would undermine his total story.In Contreras’ telling, he fled the National Autonomous University campus and moved to Tampico round 1964. Yet Contreras additionally allegedly advised his “editor” about his encounter with Oswald after the 1963 Kennedy assassination.College newspapers aren’t frequent in Mexico, and Contreras was a regulation pupil. So how might he have had an editor in 1963?I believed his hometown paper, El Sol de Tampico, may maintain the reply. Digging by means of its archives, I discovered that the newspaper ran a Sunday gossip column within the early 1960s referred to as “Crisol,” or “melting pot.”Óscar Contreras grew to become the reporter for “Crisol” on June 6, 1963, and continued writing the gossip column in September and October that 12 months.While Lee Harvey Oswald was in Mexico City, Contreras was 300 miles away in Tampico. In flamboyant prose, pale again problems with the native paper present, he chronicled the luxurious marriage ceremony receptions, quinceañeras and yacht excursions of Tampico’s excessive society.What Lee Harvey Oswald’s Mother Told MeI consider the Sol de Tampico archives discredit Contereras’ account.A political correspondent might dwell removed from the place his newspaper is printed. But for a gossip columnist, that may be dereliction of responsibility.This revelation plunges Oswald’s fall 1963 journey to Mexico again into the darkish.There are different conspiracy theories, together with that Oswald had a Mexican mistress who took him to a celebration of communists and spies.But it’s extra seemingly Mexico holds no hidden clues to JFK’s assassination.Conspiracy theories provide assurances of depth and closure, a promise that the largest enigma of the 20th century is solvable. But from what we find out about what Oswald did and didn’t do in Mexico City, he was a risky, disorganized loner who couldn’t even deal with travel logistics.JFK’s assassination is a chilly case. And in Mexico, solely exhausted leads stay.Gonzalo Soltero is a professor of narrative evaluation on the School of Higher Studies, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoRead extra at The Daily Beast.Get our high tales in your inbox day-after-day. 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