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BERLIN (Reuters) - Cuba lay behind the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Lee Harvey Oswald and its agents provided the gunman with money and support, an award-winning German director says in a new documentary film.
Wilfried Huismann spent three years researching "Rendezvous with Death," based on interviews with former Cuban secret agents, U.S. officials and a Russian intelligence source, and on research in Mexican security archives.
The film, shown to journalists in Berlin on Wednesday, says Oswald traveled to Mexico City by bus in September 1963, seven weeks before the Kennedy shooting, and met agents at the Cuban embassy there who paid him $6,500.
Oscar Marino, a former Cuban agent and a key source for the documentary, told Huismann that Oswald himself had volunteered for the assassination mission and Havana had exploited him.
"Oswald was a dissident. He hated his country...Oswald offered to kill Kennedy," Marino said in the film.
"He was so full of hate, he had the idea. We used him...He was a tool."
He said he knew with certainty that the assassination was an operation of the Cuban secret service G-2, but would not say if it was ordered by President Fidel Castro.
Oswald was shot dead by Jack Ruby two days after killing Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
The film argues Cuba wanted to eliminate Kennedy as the chief enemy of its Communist revolution, and portrays him and Castro as dueling opponents each trying to assassinate the other first.
Former CIA official Sam Halpern told Huismann: "He (Castro) beat us. He bested us. He came out on top, and we lost."