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Countdown to the JFK Assassination - 50 years ago today: Oswald in Mexico City
Fifty years ago today, Lee Harvey Oswald stepped off a bus in Mexico City and checked into a $1.28-a-day room at the spartan Hotel del Comerico, four blocks from the terminal. The journey from New Orleans had taken Oswald two days and nearly 30 hours on three buses.
Just before noon, three-weeks shy of his 24th birthday, Oswald walked into the Cuban Mission and said he urgently needed a transit visa for Cuba. Frustrated that he could not instantly get one, he then walked two blocks to the Soviet Embassy. There, Oswald used a combination of bluster and lies to try and land a Soviet visa. The Russians told him to come back the following day.
Meanwhile, the two KGB agents who met with him cabled KGB headquarters in Moscow for instructions. They were told in no uncertain terms that the Russians considered the former defector “unstable” and that the next day they should turn him away diplomatically.
“We considered him nuts,” Yuriy Nosenko, the KGB agent who handled Oswald’s original defection file, later told me. “It took us almost no time to say no to his request for a visa.”