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Cryptonym: ECSIGIL-2

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Luis Vargas led an anti-Castro guerrilla group in the Escambray in the early 60s, and may be the same person who became a penetration within the group surrounding Quito Communist leader Rafael Echevarria Flores and Ecuador's Communist Party in the succeeding years.


9/21/60 CIA telegram: "Sinesio Walsh, guerrilla leader in the Escambray mountains, heads a group of 207 men and has three prisoners. He is operating in the vicinity of Veguitas. Morale of his troops is high...Joaquin Menbibere, aka 'Kino', has agreed to merge his forces of about 80 men with Walsh. (Field comment: It was previously reported that Menbibere had about 400 men.) Comandante Rizo, former Batista officer, has about 300 men...he was last operating near Pico Tuerto (sic)...Comandante Evilio Duque aka Comandante Luis, former 26 July officer, has a little over 100 men and is operating in the area of Crucero Carolina...Luis Vargas is operating in Loma Buenos Aires...His strength is not known, and he is constantly on the move...Arrayo Bernaje aka Roberto Herrera, who is operating in southeast sector of Escambray, has 73 men, is fairly well armed, and is constantly on the move...Manuel 'Mancio' Calzado...operating in the Rio Negro area, has 50 men poorly armed. 'El Filipino' (true identity not known), who was former member of Comandante Pena (FNU) troops, has about 103 men. He took command of troops of Pedro Rodriguez, who was killed by government troops. Field dissem: State Army Navy Air FBI."


1/15/61 cable from RIMM to BELL: "...In past message you made reference to 2617...the groups...of the Escambray are commanded by Pacheco alias Conco...and Luis Vargas. The latter are near Hanabanilla. Osvaldo Ramirez is in Baraoz (as received) he moves a great deal."


12/29/61: Cable from Quito to Director: Slugline REDCAP LCIMPROVE: "1. (REDACTION)ACCENT reports Loginov traveling on KLM ticket left QUIT 16 December PAA Flight 720 with connection PAA Flight 502 on 18 December. Carried one bag weight 18 kilos. 2. (REDACTION)SIGIL-2 member Communist Party Ecuador who had close contacts Dynamo team in QUIT said Loginov activities apparently confined to interpreting for team. Believes no other contacts. Thought him very quiet, disinterested, a little stupid. C/S Comment: *According GAYA QUIT press respectively Valentin Leguinov arrived GAYA from LAPA on 1 Dec as translator for soccer team."

Inside the Company, CIA Diary (1975) by Philip Agee: Pages 237-238: https://archive.org/stream/pdfy-DAzR701tP2dL_DNu/inside-the-company-cia-diary-philip-agee_djvu.txt

..."Quito 24 May 1963...John Bacon, the Station Reports Officer, and I suggested to Dean that we prepare an incriminating document to be used against Antonio Flores Benitez — to be planted on Flores when he arrives at the airport. There's a chance, of course, that he'll come overland from Colombia or that he'll arrive in Guayaquil, but Dean likes the plan and asked us to go ahead. The document will appear to be Flores's and Echeverria's own report to the Cubans on the status of their organization and on their plans for armed action. We are describing what we know about the organization, filling in with imagination where necessary, on the basis of the information from the ECWHEAT telephone tap and reports from Cardenas and Vargas, our two best penetrations of the Echeverria group. We are emphasizing (for propaganda afterwards) Flores's penetration agents in the Ministry of Defense, Army communications, the presidential bodyguard and the presidential archives. We are also planning to mention relations with Araujo's group and Gonzalo Sono Mogro, who seems to be training a separate organization in explosives and weapons. Quito 26 May 1963: It has been a busy week-end. Bacon and I finished the 'Flores Report' yesterday and he took it out to Mike Burbano to put in final form, correct Spanish and proper commie jargon. He knows this usage best because he's the cutout for Cardenas and Vargas. No question but that we've got a really sensational and damaging document..."

Inside the Company, CIA Diary (1975) by Philip Agee: Pages 93-94:

This is our most important penetration operation against the Communist Party of Ecuador and consists of two agents who are members of the PCE and close associates of Rafael Echeverria Flores, principal PCE leader in the sierra. The agents are Mario Cardenas, whose cryptonym is ECSIGIL-1, and Luis Vargas, who is ECSIGIL-2. They have been reporting for about four years since their recruitment as 'walk-ins' after their disillusionment with the PCE. Although the agents are close friends and originally came to the station together, they have since been discouraged from associating too closely, so that if one is ever blown, the other will not be contaminated. The separation is also designed to prevent their collaborating over what they report. Cardenas is directed through a cutout, Mario Cabeza de Vaca a Quito milk producer who became a US citizen through military service in World War II but returned to Ecuador afterwards. He is married to an American who runs the food and liquor commissary of the US Embassy. Vargas is directed through another cutout, Miguel Burbano de Lara, who is the Quito airport manager of Pan American-Grace Airways. The cutouts are not supposed to know each other's identity, although each knows that Vargas and Cardenas are reporting, and they meet separately with the station Reports Officer, John Bacon, who handles this operation. Although neither of these agents holds important PCE elective positions, they are extremely close to Echeverria and the decision-making process in Quito. They receive information on practically all matters of importance, and the ECSIGIL project accounts for an average of about five or six disseminated intelligence reports in Washington each week..."

See Also:
Bill Simpich • Gavin McDonald

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