Paper on Bay of pigs

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bay of pigs

“Fi rst, I want to say that there will not be, under any conditions, an intervention in
Cuba by the United States Armed Forces. This government will do everything it possibly
can, I think it can meet its responsibilities, to make sure that there are no Americans
involved in any actions inside Cuba… The basic issue in Cuba is not one between the
United States and Cuba. It is between the Cubans themselves.” These words were spoken by
President John F. Kennedy at a press conference on April 12, 1961, just five days before
the Bay of Pigs invasion took place. Little did the American public know that in five
short days, the United States would support an attempted invasion on the Cuban
shore—unsuccessfully . The $46 million project would fail miserably, embarrassing America
and increasing the tension between the U.S. and both Cuba and the Soviet Union.

On New Year’s Day, 1959, Cuban Rebel forces, led by Fidel Castro, overthrew the existing
government led by Fulgencio Batista. Castro immediately reformed Cuba’s economic policy,
reducing the power of American companies over Cuba’s industry, as well as threatening
American profits and influence in the area. This greatly irritated the United States as a
whole, and caused the government, under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, to turn hostile
towards Castro. Just a year after Castro’s rise to power, President Eisenhower was
convinced that if the best interests of the United States were to be fulfilled, the new
Cuban government would have to be abolished. On March 17, 1960, he approved the Central
Intelligence Agency’s plan, entitled “A Program of Covert Action Against the Castro
Regime.” This program’s purpose was to “bring about the replacement of the Castro regime
with one more devoted to the true interests of the Cuban people and more acceptable to the
U.S. in such a manner as to avoid any appearance of U.S. intervention.” The plan went on
to describe four points: 1) the creation of a responsible and unified Cuban opposition to
the Castro regime located outside of Cuba; 2) the development of a means for mass
communication to the Cuban people as part of a powerful propaganda offensive; 3) the
creation and development of a covert intelligence and action organization within Cuba
which would respond to the orders and directions of the exile opposition; and 4) the
development of a paramilitary force outside of Cuba for future guerrilla action.

A few months later, in July of 1960, the Prime Minister of the Soviet Union, Nikita
Khrushchev, spoke of arming Cuba with rockets that would protect it from the U.S. In
response, President Eisenhower announced that the United States would not “tolerate the
establishment of a regime dominated by international communism in the western hemisphere.”
Richard Bissell, an aide to CIA director Allen Dulles, described a meeting that took
place in the White House on January 3, 1961, stating, “President [Eisenhower] seemed to be
eager to take forceful action against Castro, and breaking off diplomatic relations
appeared to be his best card. He noted that he was prepared to ‘move against Castro’
before Kennedy’s inauguration on the twentieth if a ‘really good excuse’ was provided by
Castro. ‘Failing that,’ he said, ‘perhaps we could think of manufacturing something that
would be generally acceptable.’ … This is but another example of his willingness to use
covert action—specifically to fabricate events—to achieve his objectives in foreign

The CIA began training a force of Cuban exiles that would ultimately man the
U.S.-sponsored invasion of Cuba, and quickly established anti-Castro radio broadcasting.
By the time Kennedy took office in January of 1961, the training and planning for the
exile invasion were nearing completion. The CIA had organized a brigade of about 1,400
exile fighters at a secluded camp in Guatemala, and was infiltrating advance teams of
organizers and saboteurs into Cuba. Kennedy had made serious commitments to the Cuban
exiles, promising to oppose communism at every opportunity, and supporting the overthrow
of Castro. During the 1960 presidential campaign, Kennedy had frequently accused
Eisenhower of not adequately handling the Castro situation. However, Kennedy was
cautious, concerned that the size of the operation would threaten his ability to deny U.S.
involvement with the exile brigade. He became increasingly worried that the role of the
U.S. in the operation could no longer be concealed.

Although Eisenhower, Kennedy and other high ranking U.S. officials denied any plans to
attack Cuba, on October 31, 1960, Cuban Foreign Minister Raul Roa, in a session at the
U.N. General Assembly, provided details on the recruitment and training of the Cuban
exiles, whom he referred to as mercenaries and counterrevolutionari es. It was clear to
Kennedy that Cuba knew an invasion was coming. Therefore, he changed the original plan,
which called for a daytime landing at Trinidad, as well as extensive air strikes to weaken
Castro’s counteroffensive. Kennedy thought the plan exposed the role of the United States
too openly, and favored a nighttime landing at Bay of Pigs, which offered a suitable
airstrip on the beach from which bombing raids could be operated. Once the bay was
secured, the provisional Cuban government-in-arms set up by the CIA would be landed and
immediately recognized by the U.S. The new government would request military support and
a new “intervention” would take place.

However, things did not turn out the way Kennedy hoped them to. On Sunday April 16, a
team of frogmen went ashore and set up landing lights to guide the operation. The
invading force consisted of 1,500 men divided into six battalions, with right-winger and
CIA-friendly Manuel Artime as the political chief. Two battalions came ashore, where the
razor-sharp coral reefs, earlier identified as merely seaweed, delayed the landing enough
to expose it to air attacks the following morning. Two ships sank about 80 yards from
shore, and much heavy equipment was lost. By 3 a.m. Monday morning Castro knew about the
landing, and the Cuban government responded almost immediately, taking a superior position
in the air during the early morning hours.

At 12:15 Kennedy received a letter from Khrushchev, in which the Soviet leader stated: “It
is a secret to no one that the armed bands invading this country were trained, equipped
and armed in the United States of America. The planes which are bombing Cuban cities
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