Jose Raul de Varona
Chief of the G2 - Intelligence
US Army Retired
G2 – Brigade 2506 (#2511)
Born In Camaguey, Cuba, 29 November 1937.
From 1950 to 1958 attended schools in the United States
Florida Military Academy, St. Petersburg, FL
Battle Ground Academy, Franklin, TN
George Peabody Demonstration School, Nashville, TN (Graduated from high school 1956)
George Peabody College, Nashville, TN (1956-1958)
Travelled to Cuba for the Christmas holidays in December 1958. January 1, 1959, Fidel Castro took over the government of Cuba.
I was concerned about the new government and in which directions it was moving as I had information that Castro was pro-communist. Due to this, I decided not to return to the US and stayed in Cuba and see how things developed.
I enrolled in the University of Villanova in Havana when it was reopened in October 1959. This gave me the opportunity to join the MRR (Movimiento de Recuperacion Revolucionaria), whose director Dr. Manuel Artime also was President of the Agrupacion Catolica.
Dr. Artime was already in the United States meeting with government officials to request help and support to train a group of men to invade Cuba.
On February 1960, Dr. Artime sent a representative to Havana to recruit members of the MRR to travel to the US and participate in trainings and preparations toward an invasion to liberate Cuba.
Left Cuba in March 1960 to join the first group of students to participate in the training.
On May 1960 we were taken to Useppa Island, an island on the southwest coast of Florida. We underwent numerous testings. The main members of the Headquarters were selected at this time.
On July 1960 we were divided in two groups, one went to Panama the other to Guatemala. I was sent to Guatemala to start the base for the training camp. I was named the Chief of Supplies/Administrator. I resigned from this position on October 1960 to train as a guerilla force.
After the Presidential elections, November 1960, the group was reorganized from a guerilla force to a conventional force, and then the Brigade 2506 was created. I was selected by the Chief US advisor to be the Chief of Intelligence of the Brigade.
We landed in Cuban soil on April 16, 1961 at 2300 hrs. I was caught and made prisoner on April 28.
On 24 December 1962, I returned to the United States together with the other members of the Brigade Headquarters on the last plane that left Cuba.
On April 11, 1963, I received a direct commission in the US Army as a Second Lieutenant.
Served in Vietnam from August 1967 through December 1969.
On 1972 graduated from Auburn University, Auburn, AL with a bachelor in Political Science.
On 1974 graduated from the Inter American University, San Juan, PR with a masters in Education, Administration and Supervision.
Was promoted to Colonel on January 1, 1986 and retired from the Army in April 1, 1993.
Upon retirement from the Army, I moved to Miami and bought a pharmacy. I created Florida Independent Pharmacies Association (FIPA) to represent the small independent pharmacies of South Florida at the legislation in Tallahassee. I was elected President of the associated and acted as such for 12 years until I fully retired in 2007.
Intelligence / Communications
Aureolio was born in Sagua La Grande, Las Villas Province (when there was 6 provinces) in 1937. His primary and secondary schooling were in Sagua and after finishing the secondary he began studying engineering at the University of Havana. His studies were interrupted due to the closing of the University because of the revolution. In the beginning, the revolution was against then Cuba’s dictator Fulgencio Batista and was never proposed as something against a democracy. In 1958 he came to US to continue his studies, as the reopening of Havana University could not be foreseen. He was in the US when Castro overthrew Batista. He canceled his registration at the New York University and in April 1959 returned to Cuba and the University in Havana. In 1960 he took part in protest against what he considered to be the leftist tendencies of Castro’s government. In april 1960 he was living at Agrupacion Catolica Universitaria (ACU) which is a catholic student association, and he was contacted by another member to participate in what eventually became the 2506 Brigade. They landed in Cuba and he was captured on May 2nd, 1961. After over a year in Cuban prisons he was returned to the US, upon payment of ransom moneys, in December 1962.