Almost 40 years after his death following an alleged bar brawl in Key Biscayne, Ricardo Morales, known as “Mono” (monkey) is coming to life again. Morales was your typical Cuban exile on the surface. An honest political refugee who left his homeland looking for freedom and a piece of the American dream. A loving father and provider for his family. He never even received a parking ticket in his life. But Mono wasn't who he seemed.
Morales was a Cuban intelligence (G2) double agent. A CIA spy. A sniper instructor for the CIA. A hit man. An anti-Castro militant. A counter-intelligence chief for the CIA in Venezuela. An FBI informant. A DEA informant and he also personally knew Lee Harvey Oswald, whom he trained in a CIA sniper training camp. Mono was also in Dallas in 1963 when JFK was assassinated.
In 1981, a year prior to his death, Mono took his sons shooting like all Cuban fathers did with their sons back then, in anticipation that someday, their sons would return to liberate Cuba from the Castros. Morales jr, recently told that his father, in a rare display of openness, revealed some information about his CIA work and mentioned that his days were counted for revealing too much to a Venezuelan writing his memoirs. He also told them to ask him anything they wanted before he couldn't. Morales jr. said his brother asked: "Papi who killed Kennedy?"
Mono told his two sons that two days before the Kennedy assassination, his CIA handler told him and his Cuban "clean-up” team to go to Dallas for a mission and standby in case things went wrong. And that while in Dallas, the shooting occurred. After the assassination, they were ordered back to Miami without any knowledge what their mission had been. Apparently no "cleaning" was needed. Mono never told his son what "cleaning" meant. And he also told them that he did not know of the plans to assassinate Kennedy either. Mono told his sons that when he saw the photo of Lee Harvey Oswald [after the assassination], he realized that this was the same character he had seen in the CIA training camp. "When Papi saw the photos of Oswald, he realized that he was the same person," Morales jr. said.
The claims made by Ricardo Morales Jr. during a show on Miami’s Actualidad Radio 1040 AM, add to one of the long-held theories about the JFK assassination—that Cuban exiles working for the CIA—had been involved. But the claims also point the finger at the CIA, which some observers believe could help explain why President Joe Biden backed off last week on declassifying the remaining documents in the case. Morales Jr. told the Miami Herald in a recent interview, that his father said to them that he didn’t believe Oswald killed Kennedy because he had witnessed his shooting skills at the training camp and he said "there was no way that guy could make those shots."
Morales jr. said he believes his father told the truth at a moment he was fearing for his life after losing his government immunity and protection. He feared never seen his family again and had the need to reveal some of his secrets.
While Lee Harvey Oswald was determined as the lone shooter in Kennedy’s assassination, a 1979 classified report contradicted the 1964 Warren Commission's conclusion that JFK was killed by one lone gunman. The report instead concluded that the president was likely slain as the result of an assassination team of likely multiple shooters using similar weapons and synchronized timing. The House Select Committee, which also interviewed Morales, said they couldn’t preclude the possibility that Cuban exiles were involved.
There have been previous reports that a group of anti-Castro Cuban exiles, including the leader of the organization Alpha 66, Manuel Rodriguez Orcarberro, met at a house in Dallas days before the assassination, and that Oswald was seen visiting the house or being in the area. As that theory goes, very capable and daring Cuban exiles, who felt betrayed by Kennedy’s unexplained and illogical actions during the 1961 Bay of Pigs operation and his secret deals with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev after the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis not to invade Cuba, which cemented Castro's hold on the island, could have planned to kill JFK. After all "revenge" is a time honored Latin tradition.
Whatever happened, after advocating for the documents’ release, President Biden ordered the postponement last week citing the impact of the COVID pandemic on the declassifying efforts and the need to protect “against identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or the conduct of foreign relations that is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in immediate disclosure.” What?
We now know that “Monkey,” was a former intelligence agent for the Castro's STASI built G2 intelligence agency, and who later worked for the CIA, the FBI, the DEA, Israel’s Mossad and Venezuela’s DISIP intelligence agency during the 1960s and ‘70s, and who knows who else. According to CIA documents declassified in 2017. Morales was terminated as a CIA contract worker in 1964, after a CIA mission with fellow Cuban operatives in the Congo against Soviet insurgency in central Africa, because he was “too wise and too clever for his own good," whatever that meant.
His son said his father was in Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis and was working as a double agent, feeding false information to Cuban intelligence services after he was already a CIA asset.
Morales was an in fact a very interesting and complex character. After his death, in 1982, he was even linked to a plot to kill Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1976, the Herald reported in 1991. But the fact that Morales avoided prosecution time after time, and that his name seems to pop up in so many government agency records, indicates that he was indeed involved in clandestine operations.
Morales’ son also made another claim that might solve another 1980s murder mystery. "On his deathbed, my uncle," another interesting character in his own right, "confessed he killed Rogelio Novo in retaliation for my father’s murder,” Morales jr. said. Novo was the owner of Rogers on the Green, the Key Biscayne restaurant and bar where Morales was gunned down in December 1982. No one was ever arrested in Novo’s death nor Mono's adding to the mysteries including a series of other killings, including the death of Mono's lawyer months before Mono himself was killed.
"Papi's death destroyed my family,” Morales jr. told the Herald. The family split and scattered all around the country, fearing retaliation. They still do.