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Gerard "Gerry" Droller (1905? - 1992) was a CIA officer involved in the covert 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état and the recruitment of Cuban exiles in the preparation of the abortive Bay of Pigs Invasion in April 1961.

  • Alias Frank Bender (For Frank Bender, the facial reconstruction artist, see Frank Bender)
  • Alias Gerry Drecher''[1][2]
  • Alias Mister B
  • Alias Don Federico

BiographyEdit

Gerard Droller was born in Germany. He worked with Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the Maquis in France during World War II.

In September 1949 he was recruited into the Central Intelligence Agency, and became the CIA desk officer for Switzerland. One unspecified report said he was responsible for the reorganization of West Germany "and the consequent strengthening of German-American relations". Later he worked in Formosa where he helped Chiang Kai-Shek "organize his government and army".[3]

In 1954 Droller helped organize the CIA operation to overthrow Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz. Others involved in this project code-named Operation PBSUCCESS included Frank Wisner, Richard M. Bissell Jr., Tracy Barnes, E. Howard Hunt, David Atlee Phillips, David Sanchez Morales, Jake Esterline, William "Rip" Robertson and William Pawley.[3]

On 21 April 1959, Droller had a three-hour meeting with Fidel Castro in a hotel room in New York after the latter's visit to Washington.[2][4][5]

In early 1960, Droller became involved in Operation 40, formed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to eliminate Fidel Castro.

In June 1960, Droller was sent to Miami, as Chief Political Action (C/WH/4/PA) under Jacob Esterline to help organize the overthrow of Fidel Castro in Cuba. Adopting the name Frank Bender, he posed as a wealthy steel tycoon. His main task was to recruit and organize the political leaders of anti-Castro Cuban exiles in the Miami area, assisted by E. Howard Hunt alias "Eduardo". He recruited Manuel Artime who became the leader of Movimiento de Recuperación Revolucionaria (Revolutionary Recovery Movement), (MRR), and later Brigade 2506. During 1960 and 1961, Droller organized the setting up of training camps for Cuban exiles at Useppa Island, Florida, and at Retalhuleu, Guatemala by arrangement with Guatemalan president Miguel Ydigoras. He helped recruit Cuban exiles into a paramilitary force subsequently named Brigade 2506 that, with considerable finance from the CIA, carried out the abortive invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs on 17 April 1961. He did not speak Spanish, and he was not universally liked by the Cuban exiles.[3][6][7][8]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. Szulc (1986) (possible transcription error of Castro narrative?)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Anderson (1997), p.417 (1959)(quote)On April 21, after giving a talk at Princeton, Fidel agreed to a meeting with a CIA official who had asked Lopez Fresquet to act as go-between. They spoke in private for over three hours. The CIA man, Garry Drecher, a German-American emigre who used the alias of "Frank Bender," told Lopez Fresquet afterward that he was convinced Castro was an "anti-Communist" and that they had agreed to exchange information about Communist activities in Cuba.(endquote)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Spartacus biography http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKdroller.htm
  4. Thomas (1971), p.431
  5. Szulc (1986)
  6. Kornbluh (1998), pp.20,212
  7. Rodriguez (1999), p.16
  8. Wyden (1979), p.32

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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