Javier Souto & Jose Regalado – Bay of Pigs – Veteran Interviews

Javier Souto

Javier was born in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, on December 15, 1938. In Cuba, he attended La Salle Elementary school in Sancti Spiritus and La Salle High School in Havana, graduating in 1956. After that he attended Villanova University in Havana and the University of Havana. In the U.S.A. he attended Miami-Dade College and the University of Miami where he graduated from the School of Business in 1967. Souto is a veteran of the Bay of Pigs Invasion (a founding member, #2504) where he was active in the infiltration teams. He served for several years, after the Bay of Pigs, with the CIA sponsored Special Missions Groups. Commissioner Souto was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in November 1984. Javier D. Souto was the first elected Miami-Dade County Commissioner representing District 10 in April 1993. He was reelected in 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2006. His commission district includes portions of Kendall, Westchester, and Fontainebleau. Javier is married to Berta Cepero. They have three adult children, Javier arrived in Miami-Dade County from Cuba on March 25, 1960, and has lived in Miami ever since.

Jose Regalado

UBS International Inc., Coral Gables, Florida
1994-2004 Vice President International Investments – Retired in 2004
Merrill Lynch International, Miami, Florida
1987-2004 Senior Financial Consultant
1985-1987 Senior Vice-president Tesoro Savings and Loan Association
Head of Private Banking
San Antonio, Texas
Bank of America Latin American Division
1969-1985 Vice President and Manager, Metro America Soc. Financiera, Caracas Venezuela
Manager, Quito Branch in Ecuador
Senior Credit Administrator for Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Chile based in Caracas
Assistant Vice President Latin American Section, Los Angeles International Office
1960-1967 Bay Of Pigs Invasion Brigade, Intelligence Officer, Infiltration Teams – Miami, Guatemala,
Panama – Infiltrated in Cuba 02/14/1961 to train guerillas in Matanzas Province and help
The underground in Havana prior to the Bay of Pigs Invasion

1969 University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Master of Business Administration
In International Business
1967 Mount St. Mary’s College, Los Angeles, Ca, Major in Spanish and Business Education
With a Minor in Economics
1987 Merrill Lynch MBA Training at Princeton, NJ as International Financial Consultant
1988 Mortgage Broker License State of Florida
1979 Bank of America Professor of Control Documentation for Officer Candidates in Latin
1959 Universidad Católica de Santo Tomas de Villanueva,
Marianao, Habana, Cuba. Graduated as C.P.A. B.A. In Sciences
Major in Accounting and Economics

Born in Marianao, Havana, Cuba – 08/15/1937 son of Jose Regalado Sanz, Spanish from Barcelona and Rufina Santana Iglesias from Pinar del Rio, Cuba.
Civil Status – Married 53 years ago, 4 children, 10 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren – US Citizen

Life in Pre-Castro Cuba:
Born in Marianao, Havana, Cuba.
Lived at same address in Marianao until married on 06/23/1956.
1941-1954 – From Pre-primary until graduation from High School attended same school. Colegio De La Salle of the Order of the Christian Brothers of St. Juan Bautista De La Salle. High School with emphasis in Humanities.
1954-1959 – B.A. in Sciences (Ciencias Comerciales) Universidad Católica de Santo Tomas de Villanueva in Marianao, Havana, Cuba.
Married to Nancy Salas Perez, 06/23/1956 the daughter of General Rafael A. Salas Canizares, killed by Revolutionaries in 1956. He was the National Chief of Police in Cuba.
1957-1958 traveling in Western Europe. Lived in Madrid for 6 months and returned to Havana prior to the fall of the Batista Government. Due to my wife’s family attachment to the Government of Fulgencio Batista Revolutionaries looted our house on January 1, 1959 and I was forced to be present during the looting of my house.
January 12, 1959 while driving to my parent’s home in the outskirts of Havana, I was kidnapped by elements of the July 26 Movement in the area of the Country Club and tied to a tree. They claimed that we had millions stashed away and they wanted $100,000 or else my mother-in-law, my wife, and I will be killed. They gave me 48 hours to get the money. A dear friend of mine Dr. Jose Roiz, a minority stockholder in one of our companies and a gun collector, upon learning about the predicament I was in offered himself with a couple of friends to set a trap up for the revolutionaries at my parent’s home. When they came for the money Jose Roiz, his friends and I engaged them in a firefight and they escaped. We hid in a couple of places, but these criminals took my father in a hostage to the Bureau of Investigations. They sent a message that they will let him go if I turned myself in. I did as requested and when they began accusing of crimes against the revolution a friend of mine and a top member of the Revolution who was visiting the police installation ordered we be set free immediately. After the above mentioned I managed to leave Cuba on April 9, 1959.
In Miami, I founded the Anti-Communist Crusade, and during 1959 was arrested 11 times by the police and Sheriff in Miami. The Charge was that I was conspiring to overthrow the Government of Cuba and thus was violating the Neutrality Act. They took me to Washington and were ordered to register as an agent of foreign organization intent in the overthrow of a friendly government.
I also took control of a PT boat (World War II surplus) in the Miami River and installed a Shortwave Radio Station and an Interceptor Radio Station on board the vessel. The interceptor radio station was operated to monitor the Cuban Intelligence Corps in Havana or G-2 and intercept their transmissions in Cuba. I rented a slip at Dinner Key in Coconut Grove, and every evening took off for International Waters to broadcast to Cuba. This took place until I ran out of money and was forced to transmit from the Marina in Miami. The FBI in Miami, one day alerted about the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) was coming to the boat to confiscate the radio equipment. I dismantled and hid the radio equipment. The FCC confiscated the PT boat.
In addition, during the summer of 1959 I flew a couple of times to the Western region of Cuba to drop weapons and ammo in the Sierra de los Organos to guerillas fighting against the communists. These guerillas were trained by Austin Young an American and Peter Lambton a British subject that we sent to Cuba to train and assist the rebels. Peter Lambton was captured and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Furthermore, during 1959 the U.S. Government branded us with the label of Radical Elements of a Rightwing Conspiracy bent on overthrowing the Government of Cuba. However, when then President Eisenhower finally became convinced the threat posed by the Communist Government in Cuba they, I mean the U.S. Government suddenly stopped their policy of persecution and constant harassment against us and thy they started treating us as Freedom Fighters Democratic Heroes bent on liberating the oppressed people of Cuba. A 180 degrees turnaround.
August 20, 1960. I left Miami for Guatemala to join the operation being organized under the sponsorship of the U.S. Government. On that particular day (I was 23 years old) I was taken to a farm in Southwest Miami, the only thing I remember is that the farm was planted with guava trees. My driver’s license and any other material that could identify all the Cubans at the place were requisitioned from us the 41 Cubans at the place. Khaki uniforms were provided to us and then at sunset we were asked to board into covered trucks, driven to an airport somewhere in the area. I suspect the Airport was the Homestead Air Force Base. In that place, we boarded a DC-6 with no markings and the windows painted black. The pilot and crew were not American but of Eastern European stock. The reason for us not carrying ID was done in case the airplane crashed into the ocean or land nobody was going to be able to identify our remains.
Early the next morning we arrived in Guatemala, at San Jose Buenavista. They, the American liaison officers asked from us not to say a word, in order to avoid giving away our nationality due to our particular and uncommon accent as Cubans. We boarded a couple of Guatemalan Army buses and taken to a Coffee plantation: “Finca Helvetia” high up in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Western Guatemala, the place was right in front of Santiaguito Volcano, next to the Santa Maria Volcano. The nearest city down below was Retauleu (our Air Force Base was built next to Retauleu not far from the Pacific Coast and the Port of Champerico.
In Helvetia, we got our serial numbers. They started at 2501. My serial number was 2649 and I became the 148th member of the pioneers that wanted to liberate our country from communism. From Helvetia they took me to another place in the mountains, this place became “Base Tax” our main Training Base and we built everything that was required to function as a training camp. This place was cold, particularly so during the night, several barracks for dormitory and others for classrooms were built, the Headquarters barrack and the U.S. training and supervisory personnel was built. A Chapel, a small hospital, the commissary, kitchen with mess hall, latrines, showers, and a small prison for anyone caught violating the code of military conduct.
At the entrance to the Base, a large Water Tank was built and the pipe system was laid going all the way down to a river that ran about 300 meters down below. Water pumps installed and the water was able to flow down to the showers and the kitchen by gravity. We built explosives, ammo and weapons bunker away from the Base.
I remember the covert names of some of the American and foreign personnel at the Camps: Col. Carl James (El Cojo), Col Valeriano (Philippine), Taylor (black American) a psychologist. We also had a few Eastern Europeans specialists in demolition, weaponry, infiltration, exfiltration, intelligence gathering, interrogation techniques, discipline of silence and field recon. We also had a Tibetan.
As head of the Training Camp was Capt. Ranger Cuban Army Oscar Alfonso Carol, Jose Andreu (2501) (G-1), 1st. Lt. Cuban Army Manuel Blanco Navarro (G-2). Former first Lt. Cuban Army Jose Perez San Roman, etc.
We became part of the Gray and Black Teams. The Gray Teams mission was to infiltrate Cuba and join the underground. Gather intelligence, select an objective and get ready to receive the Black Teams for operations across the Island. The Teams consisted of Team A, B, and C for Pinar del Rio in Western Cuba. Team D and E for Havana City, and Havana Countryside. Team F for Matanzas. Team G for Las Villas, Team H for Camaguey, and Teams I and J for Oriente in Eastern Cuba. Once the teams are completed then the rest of the recruits will join Team K or Task Force to attack and take over the Isle of Pines and free the political prisoners in the Island. The Air Force was to provide us with supplies by air and fire support and bombing raid over specific economic and/or military objectives. The Navy to supply, for infiltration and exfiltration and the Hospital Ship to provide medical services to the force and/or the peasants and the underground.
However, once the CDRs in Cuba became operational, the original plan for the Gray and Black Teams had to be abandoned and modified with the creation of a Light Expeditionary Brigade later named: Brigada de Asalto 2506 in honor of our first casualty Carlos Rodriguez Santana “Carlay.” He died during an exploratory march in the mountains close to the Training Base when he fell off a cliff and died.
December 4, 1960 the Brigade was created and about 89 individuals, among them I was separated from the Brigade to form the Infiltration Teams. The next day we left the base and were taken to San Jose Buenavista, at a cattle ranch that also had a small sugar factory to train in ambush and other tasks. After a few days in that place, we were flown to an undisclosed location in the same type of plane with no marks and windows in black. The crew the same Eastern Europeans and with joining us in the flight to nowhere (Jungles in Panama close to the Atlantic Ocean) the “Black Falcons” (from a comic strip) a Russian, a Polish, a Latvian, an Estonian, a Lithuanian, and a German a former General in the German Army specializing in interrogation techniques. At the new place, a guerilla and counter insurgency training camp in the Panama Canal Zone. we started in the the process to demilitarize our behavior, act as civilians, wake up late in the morning, dress as pleased. Go to the demolition field and do with explosives as pleased: demolish power towers, bridges, locomotives, trucks, set Improvised Explosive Devices and/or go to the firing range and play with weapons from behind the Iron Curtain, Israeli, Finnish, German, British etc. We also had class in infiltration, ex filtration, airdrops, reception committees, evasion and escape, psychological warfare, dead drops, signaling etc.
Finally after Christmas in 1960, that we celebrated in the jungle and had our midnight mass. Come January 16 they briefed some of us that we did not pass mustard and it was decided to bring us back to Guatemala to join the Invasion Brigade. I was one that did not qualify to infiltrate in Cuba. That night we left the camp, said good-by to the ones remaining behind and the flight took us to the Air Force Base in Retalhuleu. The next day was spent in a barrack away from the pilots and support personnel. They informed our group that we are the ones that had been chosen to infiltrate Cuba and join the underground and the guerilla movement. That night we march to the plane at the end of the strip and much to our elation and emotional surprise, our Air Force came to us with the Cuban Flag to pay honor to the Infiltration Teams, the first ones that was going to join the fight for freedom in Cuba.
The plane took us to an airstrip south of Miami, and from there to a large edification in the middle of a tomato farm. This place was large enough for us, there was a Cuban cook, no guards, a few Americans to teach us secret writing, refresh infiltration techniques, and the cover story to be used in case anyone came to the farm was as follows:
We are part of a group of young Cuban doctors sponsored by Cuban doctors in the United States to help us pass the Foreign Board examination. I was assigned to the First Infiltration Team to go into Cuba. Moreover, the Team was made of Jorge Rojas Castellanos (Josue) as Team Leader, Jorge Gutierrez Izaguirre (sheriff) Radio-operator, Jorge Recarey Ubieta (Julio Cesar) Weapons Officer, Antonio Abel Perez Martin (abuelo) Psychological Warfare, and Jose Regalado Santana (Juan Rodriguez Soto) Intelligence Officer. I was 23 years old.
We made four trips to Cuba. Taken by car to Key West to the pier of the former Havana Ferry, the boats used owned by Santiago Babun and his brothers. The two boats used for our mission, one was the “Wasp” painted in black and very fast. The crew consisted of Kikio Llanso as Captain, Rolando (Musculito) Martinez {One if not the most brave and valiant individual I have ever met}. Roberto (el ancla) Varona, and Castellanos as radio-operator of the Wasp. The other, smaller, boat was the Rifer II and the Captain was Capt. Villa, a Spaniard. The first mission we had to come back because there was no one waiting with the reception committee in the Coast. The Place was called “The Punto Fundora” chosen by Jorge Fundora (Patricio). The area in the North Coast of the Havana Province close to the border with Matanzas to the East. The real name “Puerto Escondido” a small beach with a couple of beach houses near the mouth of a small river. In the background hills leading to the Via Blanca (the four lane highway connecting Havana with Varadero Beach. Annexed to this you will find a detailed narrative of our mission in memory of Jorge Rojas Castellanos (executed by firing squad at the age of 26 in the Cabana Fortress In the sunset hour of 09/22/1961).
Coming back to Miami.
After the time as guest of the Italian Ambassador in Havana, we left for Panama. Jorge Recarey, Antonio Abel Perez Martin, and myself from the Infiltration Team #1 at Punto Fundora. The Communists had taken prisoners Jorge Rojas and Jorge (Sheriff) Gutierrez Izaguirre. Jorge Rojas was executed and Sheriff gravely wounded in combat and sent to prison for 17 years.
We left Cuba via Mexico for Panama and after over a month in Panama, we flew to Miami with a Visa Waiver to join our families. Once in Miami in October 11, 1061 I joined a group of members of Brigade 2506 under Roberto Perez San Roman Commander of the Heavy Weapons Battalion at the Bay of Pigs. With just two weeks of being in Miami, I was asked to lead a Commando Team to sabotage the cable car that took copper and gold mineral from the Matahambre Mines in Northern Pinar Del Rio Province to the Port of Santa Lucia. The mission was to land at the mouth of the Santa Lucia River with a silent outboard engine Catamaran and wade the river uphill to the towers from which the cable in use to carry the mineral to the Port was located. The explosive to be used was a “form charge with a clock tied to the cable that attached the towers to the group. After setting up the charges go back to the Catamaran and back to the mother ship. The training and test prior to the mission took place in the Everglades about an hour by light plane from Miami. We spent a couple of days working with the blueprints of the towers, a replica of the towers and the cables used and the support of the former mining engineers that worked at Matahambre before the nationalization by the Communist Government.
Something was about to happen that made me resign from this mission. The American liaison with the CIA came to me and told me. Well Jose, we are going to take you back to Miami, to your homes and wait there to be contacted after the ship that will take you people is repaired. I replied back, to Miami we are not going back, this will be like telling Fidel Castro everything about our mission. There is no security in Miami, from day one there has not been any security in Miami. The whole town has been penetrated with agents from Cuba, the U.S. media, The Miami Herald, and la Madre de los tomates. No sir, we are not going back. However, Jose, he replied we have to go back to Miami. In addition, to Miami we went back. The next day while walking to have breakfast at Casa Badia in 8th Street. I came across Bernard Barker (Watergate) and who was the liaison used by the Mr. Ralph Berle Operational Head for the CIA to bring Manuel Artime (Civilian Head of the Invasion) to the U.S. he also was instrumental in recruiting Carol, Blanco, and the other young officers graduated from the Military School in Cuba to join with the MRR activists led by Artime and Emilio Martinez Venegas in Useppa Island around may of 1960 that led to the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Barker told me “Pepito” I just come from the Revolutionary Council and Dr. Miro Cardona and he informed me that you are leading a commando operation to destroy the Matahambre Mines. I went berserk, I got so mad when Barker told me Pepe you can’t go you have to abort the mission, the whole thing have been compromised. I immediately got in touch with Roberto Perez San Roman and the American Liaison to inform then about the need to abort the operation and to inform about the details about the security breach that I was completely sure was going to happen when in Miami. The U.S. officer refused to abort and this prompted me to hand out my resignation and left. The mission left for Cuba and they were lucky to have the ship breakdown again and towed back to port. A Militia Battalion was in wait for them at the mouth of the Santa Lucia River.
A few weeks later, I joined Angel Luis Guiu (Marcos Williams) he had a group of trained saboteurs and needed my expertise to infiltrate Cuba. The Americans, they were not interested in helping to liberate Cuba, but their interest was to gather intelligence about possible missiles coming to Cuba from Russia. About this, I could not care less; my only interest was to free Cuba from oppression. I decided to resign and got a job in the private sector. I could not trust the U.S. Government since I was “expendable.”

Once the rescue of the Brigade became a fact and they finally arrived in Miami. The officers in the Brigade were invited to join the U.S. Armed Forces as Second Lieutenants based at Fort Benning, Georgia. To the best of my knowledge, I am the only officer in the Brigade 2506 that refused to join the U.S. Army, notwithstanding the invitation was enticing, I only cared about Cuba. I was convinced that this was part of plan to take well-trained and motivated individuals with a very high moral out of Miami and to disperse them all over the U.S. and the World. The reasons behind all this were in order to defuse the Cuban situation and consolidate the Cuban Communist Government in power.
I turned down the invitation and left with my wife with $80 in my pocket for Los Angeles, California. We settled in Los Angeles, I register at Mount St. Mary’s College and later was accepted at the University Of Southern California (USC) and got an MBA in International Business. My days as a freedom fighter were over. I had learned a sad and tragic lesson that in a country of ours; the government let down our allies and friends, assist, and support our enemies.
José (Pepito) Regalado #2649
Infiltración Team #1 Punto Fundora Cuba
February 14, 1961

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