Sunday, December 29, 2013



Miami, Florida (JFK+50) Fifty-one years ago today, December 29, 1962, President John F. Kennedy, accompanied by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, paid a visit here in Miami to welcome the released prisoners of the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion.

The brigade of anti-Castro Cuban exiles hit the beach at Cuba's Bahia de Cochinos on April 17, 1961.  They had been secretly trained and supported by the United States Central Intelligence Agency.

President Kennedy was presented the flag of Brigade 2506 by Erneido Oliva.

The President, at a ceremony held at the Orange Bowl,  accepted the flag and said:

"I can assure you that this flag will be returned to this brigade in a free Havana."

JFK Accepts Flag of Brigade 2506
Miami, Florida
December 29, 1962
Photo by Cecil Stoughton
JFK Library Image

JFK continued...

"You are here following an historic road.  Seventy years ago, Jose Marti*, the guiding spirit of the 1st Cuban struggle for independence, lived in exile on these shores.  

You come to us from behind prison walls.  But you leave behind more than 6 million countrymen who are also, in a very real sense, in a prison.

On behalf of my government and my country, I welcome you to the United States.

I bring you my nation's respect for your courage and belief in your cause.

Your small brigade is a tangible reaffirmation that the human desire for essentially unconquerable."

              JFK and Mrs. Kennedy in Miami
                         December 29, 1962
                  Photo by Cecil Stoughton
                         JFK Library Image

*Jose Marti (1853-1895), born in Havana, traveled through Latin America, Spain and the United States raising support for the cause of Cuban independence.

Marti was a key figure in Cuba's war for independence from Spain and gave his life for the cause on the field of battle.

Jose Marti was also a poet and essayist whose works include themes of freedom, liberty and democracy.

                 Statue of Jose Marti
                       Central Park
                     New York City

JFK+50 Note:

Today's post has been revised from our post of December 29, 2012.