JFK+50: Volume 5, No. 1922BAY OF PIGS INVASION BEGAN 55 YEARS AGO
Bahia de Conchinos, Cuba (JFK+50) A force of 1400 Cuban exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs on the southern coast of Cuba fifty-five years ago this morning, April 17, 1961.
The exile force, known as Brigade 2506, trained in Guatemala and was led by Jose Miro Cardona, head of the anti-Castro Cuban Revolutionary Council.
The brigade came under heavy fire from Fidel Castro's army as they hit the beach.
The invasion, intended to overthrow Castro's communist regime, was hampered by bad weather and a shortage of ammunition. President John F. Kennedy, fearing his country's involvement in the invasion would become publicly known and possibly escalate into a nuclear war with Cuba's ally, the Soviet Union, cancelled a second planned air strike.
In regard to the CIA's view going in, Jim Rasenberger writes that the CIA "almost certainly" expected the President to eventually make US military support available to the brigade.
And what if the invasion had succeeded? Clayton Fritchey believes the United States "would have been an occupying force in Cuba faced with...house to house" fighting in Havana which would have brought resentment of the United States in Latin America.
Interestingly, Rasenberger concludes....
"The peculiar truth may be that the result Kennedy got was the VERY BEST he could have desired. If he achieved this result accidentally, then he was lucky. If he achieved it intentionally...then he deserves a place as one of the most coldly calculating presidents in history."
Despite Mr. Rasenberger's conclusion, the decision to approve the invasion has been listed as one of the Top Ten presidential mistakes of all time.
"The Brilliant Disaster, JFK, Castro and America's Doomed Invasion of Cuba's Bay of Pigs," Jim Rasenberger, Scribner, New York, 2011.
Map of Cuba