Former Mexican president worked for CIA – declassified papers

Lazy eyes listen


According to a fresh collection of declassified records published by the US National Archives, former Mexican President Jose Lopez Portillo, who commanded the country from 1976 to 1982, was a CIA asset.

A report from a meeting of CIA personnel on November 29, 1976 was among the materials connected to a CIA investigation into the murder of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

During the talks, US intelligence official Bill Sturbitts advised his colleagues that “Mexico will soon have a new president, a man who has had control of Liaison for a number of years.”

The memo did not mention Lopez Portillo by name, but the meeting took place just a few days before he officially assumed the presidency.

He had ran as the lone candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which had ruled the country from 1929 to 2000. Lopez Portillo died at the age of 83 in 2004.

The conference recounted in the letter was held in anticipation of the publication of documents from the CIA’s investigation into Lee Harvey Oswald, the man convicted of JFK’s assassination, in mid-December 1976. Oswald had visited Mexico just before the deadly shots were fired in Dallas, and US intelligence later conducted a large-scale surveillance and phone-tapping operation there.

The Marine veteran shot the president from a sixth-floor window in an adjacent building as the presidential convoy passed by, according to authorities. Oswald refuted the claims, calling himself a “patsy.” He was shot dead in police custody two days after JFK’s assassination. Jack Ruby, Oswald’s assassin, was sentenced to death but died in jail from lung cancer.

According to the released memo, Sturbitts stated during the 1976 conference that Mexico’s new president “can be expected not to look favorably upon publicity of that relationship” with the CIA.

Lopez Portillo is Mexico’s fourth previous president to be named as a US intelligence asset. Other former presidents include Luis Echeverria (1970-1976), Gustavo Diaz Ordaz (1964-1970), and Adolfo Lopez Mateos (1958-1964).