Thursday, April 7, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 5, No. 1912


Havana, Cuba (JFK+50) Fifty-four years ago today, April 7, 1962, the prisoners captured by Fidel Castro's army at the Bay of Pigs almost one year earlier were convicted of treason here in the Cuban capital.

The trial of the more than 1000 prisoners began on March 29.  Up until that time, most of them had been incarcerated at an old fortress-like prison called Castillo del Principe*.

The invasion at the Bay of Pigs, approved by President John F. Kennedy, took place on April 17, 1961.  The Central Intelligence Agency had convinced JFK that the Cuban exile brigade would be successful in overthrowing the Castro regime. The President, however, wanting to limit United States direct involvement as much as possible, cancelled a second planned air strike.

Castro's army killed 118 of the exiles, losing 176 of his own soldiers in the process.  1,179 prisoners were sentenced to 30 years in prison while 60 wounded and sick prisoners were sent back to the United States on April 14.

The Kennedy administration worked many months to gain the release of the Bay of Pigs prisoners.  That was accomplished in December 1962 after the transfer of $33 million in food and medicines to Castro.

*Castillo del Principe was built between 1767 & 1779 by the Spanish government.  It's purpose was to help defend Havana. CdP was named after Charles of Bourbon, future successor to King Charles III. 


"Bay of Pigs Prisoners Trial, March 29," The Chicago Tribune, March 21, 1962,

"On this day, December 24," BBC,

Castillo del Principie
Havana, Cuba
Photo by Vmmf