Bay of Pigs Invasion Bay of Pigs Invasion
Bay of Pigs Invasion
- Before jumping into the details of the Bay of Pigs invasion I want to make sure we understand the environment in Cuba and the United States leading up to the invasion.
- So, going into the late 1950s Cuba was controlled by this guy right over here: Batista
- and he was a dictator that was supported by the United States.
- Just to give a sense of what he was like. Here's a quote from John F Kennedy in 1963.
- So this is after his already had oil the Bay of Pigs has happened, the Cuban Missle Crisis has happened.
- He was not a big fan of Fidel Castro. But with that said in hindsight, JFK did say this,
- this is pretty objective assessment of what Batista was like as the dictator of Cuba.
- This is John F Kennedy saying this:
- I believe there is no country in the world
- including any and all countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation
- were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country's policies during the Batista regime.
- To some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the US.
- Now we shall have to pay for those sins. So even JFK in hindsight is saying that Batista
- was really not the best person and it really was not a good idea for the US to support such a
- corrupt dictator for so long in Cuba. This is Batista
- right over here, riding with some US generals in a parade when he was visiting DC. So you can imagine
- he was not a popular person in control in Cuba and in 1959 you have a successful revolution against him.
- In 1959 there is a revolution and the revolution is led by this character, Fidel Castro, and
- his kind of two right hand men are Raoul Castro and Che Gueverra right over here
- and they take control of Cuba. They're part of this nationalistic, revolutionary movement. Now the one thing
- they do do, and they are left-leaning from the beginning, people assume that they're maybe communist or
- quasi communist. But even from the get go as soon as they take power, they start taking over lands that were owned by,
- well, one that was private cuban property, some of it that was United states property. Their arguement would
- probably have been that this was wealth, private property that was ill gotten, that was gotten in the time of Batista,
- but they did on a broad sweep , so they took over a lot of private land, a lot of private property, which also lead people think
- hey, this is not just a nationalist revolution but also a communist revolution but you could also imagine
- that once they take over there this huge migration of Cubans to the United States and there, it's
- primarily middle class, upper middle class, educated Cubans who were really afraid of what Fidel Castro
- was doing in terms of taking over of private land, taking people's properties. so you start having this
- cuban exile community really focused around Florida and mainly Miami and they're still there.
- And they're very unhappy with this fidel castro character right over here. So when we fast forward to 1961 JFK beocmes president,
- He got selected in early 1961. We're now fast forwarding to April 1961 so JFK has only been president for a few months. But you can
- imagine a lot of levels you have all of these cuban exiles, upper middled class, educated, middle
- class, cuban exiles who hate fidel castro. He's taking over their lands he's turning it into what looks like a left
- estate. This is all happening within the context of the cold war, the US is afraid of
- countries falling to communism. It looks like fidel castro is a communist, so the US decides the fact
- that you have all of the exisles who wanna oust him to the US porbably wants to oust him just because
- he's a communist and they're afraid that he's going to align himself with the soviet union. So in conjunction
- with the cuban exiles and the cia, and this right here is the director of the central intelligence
- during the Kennedy administration or at least the beginning part of the Kennedy administration, this is Allan
- Dulles, his brother is John Foster Dulles, where Dulles airport is named after and he was a US secretary of state.
- They decide to they want to oust Fidel Castro but they want to do it in a way that the US does
- not look like the one doing the invasion, so what they do is they plan an invasion where they
- take cuban exiles and they get 1400 men to sign up to be kind of part of the CIA backed , US backed force
- to invade cuba and overthrow fidel castro and a lot of this was based on the premise and you can imagine
- this evenhappened in the iraq war, where the CIA, the American president. They kind of surround themselves with people who tell
- them, who want give them a very optimistic, hopeful scenario telling them , look we represent what the rest
- of the cuban people want, they'll say look if we just start a revolution, fidel castro will be over thrown
- the reality that came out, at least at that point in time, in early 1960s fiedel castro was actually
- pretty popular with the cuban people and you can imagine he was at that time popular with the poor
- people who did not have land and now all of the sudden you have this leader for the people, I don't know
- about his popularity now but at that point he was propbably much more popular than the exiles and the
- cia would have had kennedy believed. so they plan this attack
- Kennedy says oh, if we can get rid of Fidel Castro then that derisks the possibility of having this
- communist nation right off of the florda coast. so they plan this invasion and you know it's shady to
- begin with because they didn't want to make it look like an official american invasion they wanted to
- make it look like a pure cuban counter-revolution to some degree that really mixed up every thing and
- made it look and it really was suspect bcause they really were doing something that was not what it really
- was. But the invasion the way it all worked out was that by April 15th and this is just going into the
- details of the day
- So they had the fourteen hundred exiles
- They had some ships, some planes they marked them
- They either removed the markings so that it didn't look like they were American
- ships or planes
- Or they put false markings of the Cuban military
- So that it would cause some confusion or whatever
- So on April 15 1961
- Remember this is only a few months into Kennedy's administration
- They start air attacks
- Which launch from Nicaragua and they go to Cuba
- And the whole point of these air attacks was to kind of soften the Cuban airforce
- for an eventual invasion by the 1400 exiles
- and so they have eight aircraft, eight bombers
- Leaving Nicaragua they bomb Cuba at a base outside of Havana
- and a base near or not too far from the current Guantanamo Bay
- and the point or goal is to destroy the Cuban ariforce
- It turns out that they didn't do it
- They did it to cause confusion, due to the Cuban airforce markings on the planes
- You had eight planes going and doing the bombing
- One of them gets shot down
- and a ninth plane actually leaves from Nicaragua and they falsely put bullet holes
- in it to make it look like it was hit with anti aircraft guns
- and had it defect to Florida
- So I guess the idea behind this was to make it look like there was a Cuban
- pilot who takes off from Cuba or somehow gets out of Cuba
- With a Cuban plane and then tries to destroy a bunch of Cuban aircraft
- and then defects to the United states
- That's the impression that they wanted to create
- It's not so clear if the Cuban's actually fell for it
- When that happened in 1961 almost everyone saw it as an American attack
- Then you fast forward to the night of April 16th
- and this whole time everyone was expecting a US attack
- This all leads to the fact that this was not a well orchastrated series of events
- It's pretty well established that some of these exiles were just not as tightlipped as they should have
- been about the invasion. It got out to Soviet intelligence so the Cubans knew that an invasion was immenent
- So on April 16th you have a false or decoy attack
- right over here, decoy boats with loud speakers on them
- that made them sound like they were firing to cause confusion
- and it did temporarily cause Castro to look in that direction
- because they were on hair trigger notice expecting an immenent invasion
- that was not the real one. This was on the evening of April 16th
- When you go to the early morning of April 17th you have the real invasion
- You have the 1400 Cuban exiles with CIA and US military support (but all of that was hidden )
- To actually invade at the Bay of Pigs
- and to make a long story short it was kind of a invasion that did not go well
- It has been blamed on bad planning, on incompetance at some parts of the invasion
- If the invasion lasted from April 17th which was the first day of the invasion
- By April 19th the invading force or counter revolutionary force made up of the 1400 cuban exiles
- had been pushed back to the beaches
- and for the most part a little over 100 of them were killed
- and over 1000 of them were captured and later executed
- and then later on in the year Fidel Castro makes a deal with the United States
- Where he hands over the captured exiles to the United States in exchange for 58
- million dollars in aid and supplies and the rest
- so this at least from a military point of view was a complete debaucle from the United States point of
- view and when you imagine after this happened people in the United States started
- pointing fingers
- You have the CIA and the exiles blaming the Kennedy administration
- saying that look he was not willing to do what it takes to actually do a proper invasion
- He was not willing to supply the proper air support once the invasion started happening
- He was not willing to commit more US troops once the invasion started looking like it was not going in
- the direction of the exiles
- Kennedy on the other hand blames the CIA
- He says look this was just done and planned incompetently
- He also says that "You gave me all sorts of misinformation, you told me that once the invasion
- started there was all sorts of resentment against Fidel Castro that would cause this broader
- uprising, which never ever happened."
- This is actually a quote from John F Kennedy that he said after the Bay of Pigs invasion
- "The first advice that I am going to give to my successor is to watch
- the generals and to avoid feeling that because they were military men their opinions on military manners
- were worth a damn" JFK
- This is JFK after the Bay of Pigs invasion
- You can dig deeper and figure out who probably was in the right here
- But the bottom line here is that this lead to all round negative consequences for the US
- After this kind of strength in Fidel Castro's hold on Cuba
- He was like hey that was the US's best shot
- Huge embarrassment for them it allowed his to concentrate his control
- It also caused him to now become very openly communist
- Before the Bay of pigs invasion he was kind of trying to get the US to somewhat like him
- Although they would not like him because he was taking over private property and he was clearly left
- But after the Bay of Pigs invasion he definetly aligned himself closely with the soviet union
- So he became much more open about being a Marxist, Lenninist, communist state
- and because he as afraid of the future US invasions he was open to what eventually leads
- to the Cuban Missile Crisis which is the Soviet Union actually placing balistic missiles with nuclear
- war heads in Cuba within short reach of the United states. It set up this whole
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