JFK+50: Volume 5, No. 1928CUBAN FREEDOM FIGHTERS FEEL TWICE BETRAYED
Little Havana, Miami, Florida (JFK+50) Fifty-three years ago today, April 23, 1963, Premier Fidel Castro, communist dictator of Cuba, freed the last group of prisoners taken captive by his army at the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961.
Of the more than 1300 Cuban refugee freedom fighters who took part in the invasion, less than 900 are still living. 120 died in the invasion while the remainder became POWS.
Although most of them were released in December 1962 and the rest on this day in 1963, the men of Brigade Asalto 2506 felt betrayed and now with the recent agreement to normalize relations between Communist Cuba and the United States, they feel betrayed again.
Julio Gonzalez-Rebull said...
"The brigade's members have been betrayed twice, once in April 1961, and now in December 2014."
Julio and many other former POWS meet frequently at the Bay of Pigs Museum here in Miami. The museum, which opened 29 years ago, displays the large Brigade 2506 flag that was presented to President John F. Kennedy in Miami in December 1962.
Julio recalls the day as one of renewed hope as the President, off script, said..."This flag will be returned to this Brigade in a free Havana." Julio was one of those invited to an event marking the 50th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs in 2011. He was saddened that some of the members of the United States Congress "didn't even know about April 17, 1961."
As Jim Rasenberger puts it...
"...the Kennedy administration would be nostalgically recalled as Camelot, as if it were a fairy tale. In fact, those five days in April 1961 were the beginning of the end of a fairy tale, when the curtain fell on one story of America and began to rise on quite another."
"Bay of Pigs Survivors on US-Cuba Thaw: 'Two American presidents betrayed us,'" by Richard Luscombe, The Guardian-US Edition, December 23, 2014, www.theguardian.com/
"Brilliant Disaster: JFK, Castro and America's Doomed Invasion of Cuba's Bay of Pigs," by Jim Rasenberger, Scribner, New York, 2011.
Flag of Brigade 2506