Heatherton Christian College
21st of September 2018
Started writing on 15th of September 2018
Finished writing on the 20th of September 2018 at 8:00 pm EST
The impact of the Bay of Pigs invasion
On January 1, 1959, a young Cuban nationalist named Fidel Castro drove his guerilla army into Havana and overthrew General Fulgencio Batista. Many Cubans welcomed Fidel Castro’s 1959 overthrow of the dictatorial President Fulgencio Batista, yet the new order on the island just about 100 miles from the United States made American officials nervous. Batista had been a corrupt and repressive dictator, but he was pro-American and was an ally to U.S. companies. At that time, American corporations owned almost half of Cuba’s sugar plantations and the majority of its cattle ranches, mines and utilities. Batista was also reliably anticommunist. Castro, by contrast, disapproved of the approach that Americans took to their business and interests in Cuba. It was time, he believed, for Cubans to assume more control of their nation.
Almost as soon as Castro came to power, Castro took steps to reduce American influence on the island. He nationalised American-dominated industries such as sugar and mining, Castro also introduced land reform schemes and called on other Latin American governments to act with more autonomy. In response, early in 1960 President Eisenhower authorised the CIA to recruit 1,400 Cuban exiles living in Miami and begin training them to overthrow Castro.
In May 1960, Castro established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, and the United States responded by prohibiting the importation of Cuban sugar. To prevent the Cuban economy from collapsing the USSR agreed to buy the sugar. In January 1961, the U.S. government severed relations with Cuba and prepared for an invasion.
The Bay of Pigs invasion
Kennedy had continued Eisenhower’s CIA campaign to train a guerilla army of Cuban exiles, but Kennedy had some doubts about the plan. The last thing he wanted, he said, was “direct, overt” intervention by the American military in Cuba, the Soviets would likely see this as an act of war and might retaliate. However, CIA officers told him they could keep U.S. involvement in the invasion a secret and, if all went according to plan, the campaign would spark an anti-Castro uprising on the island.
The first part of the plan was to destroy Castro’s tiny air force, making it impossible for his military to resist the invaders. On April 15, 1961, a group of Cuban exiles took off from Nicaragua in a squadron of American B-26 bombers, painted to look like Cuban planes, and conducted a strike against Cuban airfields. However, it turned out that Castro and his advisers knew about the raid and had moved his planes out of harm’s way. Frustrated, Kennedy began to suspect that the plan the CIA had promised would be “both clandestine and successful” might in fact be “too large to be clandestine and too small to be successful.”
But it was too late to apply the brakes. On April 17, the Cuban exile brigade (Brigade 2506) began its invasion at an isolated spot on the island’s southern shore known as the Bay of Pigs. Over the next 24 hours, Castro ordered roughly 20,000 troops to advance toward the beach, and the Cuban air force continued to control the skies. As the situation grew increasingly grim, President Kennedy authorised an “air-umbrella” at dawn on April 19 six unmarked American fighter planes took off to help defend the brigade’s B-26 aircraft flying. But the B-26s arrived an hour late, most likely confused by the change in time zones between Nicaragua and Cuba. They were shot down by the Cubans, and the invasion was destroyed later that day. The CIA had wanted to keep it a secret for as long as possible, but a radio station on the beach broadcasted every detail of the operation to listeners across Cuba. Unexpected coral reefs sank some of the exiles’ ships as they pulled into shore. Backup paratroopers landed in the wrong place. Before long, Castro’s troops had pinned the invaders on the beach, and the exiles surrendered after less than a day of fighting, 114 were killed and over 1,100 were taken prisoner and some exiles escaped to the sea.
The impact on Cuba And America after the Bay of Pigs Invasion
The disaster at the Bay of Pigs had a lasting impact on the Kennedy administration. President Kennedy fired long-time CIA Director Allen W. Dulles, Deputy Director Charles P. Cabell, and the one principally responsible for the operation, Deputy Director Richard Bissell. Publicly, Kennedy assumed full responsibility for the failure, but he secretly blamed the CIA and ordered a full investigation of the operation, this failed invasion made America a international embarrassment and hurt America’s reputation . Determined to make up for the failed invasion, the administration initiated Operation Mongoose a plan to sabotage and destabilise the Cuban government and economy, which included the possibility of assassinating Castro. Operation Mongoose was designed to do what the Bay of Pigs invasion failed to do, to remove the Communist Castro regime from power in Cuba.
The failed invasion strengthened the position of Castro’s administration, which proceeded to openly proclaim its intention to adopt socialism and pursue closer ties with the Soviet Union. It also to increased paranoia in Cuba, Castro feared of another American invasion, in July 1962 Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev reached a secret agreement with Cuban premier Fidel Castro to place Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba to deter any future invasion attempt. This all led to America’s and Cuba’s intention to increase drastically, which almost ended into total nuclear destruction, this is also known as the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.