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The Bay of Pigs Invasion

Cold War event
by

Mark Regan

on 2 June 2010

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Transcript of The Bay of Pigs Invasion

The Bay of Pigs Invasion Intro Question:
Why was the US bothering with Cuba? The US supported the dictator of Cuba, Fulgencio Batista, and his US friendly policies. Fidel Castro threatend to disrupt these policies.
1950's-
Cuba was ruled by an unpoular dictator, Fulgencio Batista, who had US support. Cuban resentment led to to a popular revolution, overthrowing Batista in January of 1959 The Cuban Revolution: In 1947 Fidel Castro joined the Cuban People's Party. Castro was attracted to the party's campaign against curruption, injustice, poverty, unemployment and low wages. The Party accused the government of taking bribes and running the country to the benefit of the US's corporations that had factories in Cuba. In 1952 Castro became the candidate for the Cuban People's Party. As a great public speaker, he soon gained many followers. The Cuban People's Party was expected to win the election but during the campaign, General Fulgencio Batista declared Marshal law and didn't hold to free elections as promised. Castro decided that revolution was the only solution. In 1953, Castro, attacked the Mocada army barracks with 123 armed men and women. The revolution was a complete flop. Castro was lucky that the lieutenant who arrested him disobeyed orders to have him executed and delivered him to the nearest civilian prison. Captain Pelletier, of the prison, was instructed to put poison in Castro's food. He refused and instead revealed his orders to the Cuban people. Pelletier was court-martialed but, concerned about world opinion, Batista decided not to have Castro killed. Under pressure from the Cuban population, Batista decided to release Castro after he had served only two years of his 15 year sentence. Batista also promised elections but it was obvious that they would not take place, and Castro left for Mexico where he began to plan another attempt to overthrow the Cuban government. After building up a stock of guns and ammunition, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and eighty other rebels arrived in Cuba in 1956. Their plan was to set up their base in the Sierra Maestra mountains. On the way to the mountains they were attacked by government troops. By the time they reached the Sierra Maestra there were only sixteen men and twelve weapons. For the next few months Castro's guerrilla army raided isolated army garrisons, gradually built-up their stocks of weapons. When Castro's guerrillas took control of land they distributed the land amongst the peasants. In return, the peasants helped the guerrillas fight Batista's soldiers. The Cuban Revolution Batista started to question the public to find information on Castro. Many innocent people were tortured. Suspects, including children, all who were publicly executed and then left hanging in the streets for several days as a warning to others. These actions increased support for the guerrillas. Fulgencio Batista responded by sending more troops to the Sierra Maestra. There were now 10,000 men hunting for Castro and his 300-strong army. Although outnumbered, the guerrillas inflicted defeat after defeat on the government's troops. In the summer of 1958 over a thousand of Batista's soldiers were killed or wounded and many more were captured. Unlike Batista's soldiers, Castro's troops had developed a reputation for behaving well towards prisoners. This encouraged Batista's troops to surrender to Castro when things went badly in battle. Complete military units began to join the guerrillas.
Castro takes control The United States supplied Batista with planes, ships, tanks, and the latest technology such as napalm. All failed to win them victory against the guerrillas. In March 1958, the United States government, suggested fair elections be held. Even so the people showed their dissatisfaction with his government by refusing to vote. Castro was confident he could now beat Batista in a head-on battle. Leaving the Sierra Maestra mountains, Castro's troops began to march onto the main towns. After consultations with the United States government, Batista decided to flee Cuba. Senior Generals left behind attempted to set up another military government. Castro's reaction was to call for a general strike. The workers came out on strike and the military was forced to accept the people's desire for change. Castro marched into Havana on January 9,1959, and became Cuba's new leader. Some of Castro's new laws also upset the United States. Much of the land given to the peasants was owned by corporations in the United States. So was the telephone company that was nationalized.
In response the US started to ban Cuban goods such as sugar. Castro refused to be intimidated by the United States and adopted even more aggressive policies towards the US. In the summer of 1960, Castro nationalized United States property worth $850 million. He also negotiated a deal with the Soviet Union and other communist countries in Eastern Europe to purchase the sugar that the United States boycotted. The Soviet Union also agreed to supply the weapons, technicians, and technology denied to Cuba by the United States. Affiliating with the Soviet Union President Dwight D. Eisenhower was in a difficult situation. The more he attempted to punish Fidel Castro the closer he became to the Soviet Union. The main fear was that Cuba would become a Soviet military base. To change course an attempt to win Castro's friendship with favourable trade deals was likely to be interpreted as a humiliating defeat for the United States. Instead Eisenhower announced the embargo on Cuba In 1960 Eisenhower retired and the problem of dealing with Castro was passed on to John F. Kennedy. When John F. Kennedy replaced Dwight Eisenhower as president of the United States he was told about the CIA plan to invade Cuba. Kennedy had doubts about the operation but was afraid he would be seen as soft on communism if he refused permission. On April 14, 1961, B-26 planes began bombing Cuba's airfields. After the raids Cuba was left with only eight planes
and seven pilots. Two days later five merchant ships carrying 1,400 Cuban exiles arrived at the Bay of Pigs.
The The attack was a total failure. Two of the ships were sunk, including the ship that was carrying most of the supplies. Two of the planes that were attempting to give air-cover were also shot down. Within seventy-two hours all the invading troops had been killed, wounded or had surrendered. At the beginning of September 1962, U-2 spy planes discovered that the Soviet Union was building missle silo's, thought for Nuclear missles. There was also an increase in the number of Soviet ships arriving in Cuba which the United States government feared were carrying new supplies of weapons. President Kennedy complained to the Soviet Union about these developments and warned them that the United States would not accept offensive weapons (SAMs were considered to be defensive) in Cuba. And so begins the Cuban Missle Crisis. Almost ending the world... In the three years that followed the Cuban Revolution, 250,000 Cubans out of a population of six million left the country. Most of these were from the upper and middle-classes who were financially worse off as a result of Castro's policies. Of those who stayed, 90 per cent of the population, according to public opinion polls, supported Fidel Castro. However, Castro did not keep his promise of holding free elections.
Castro was also becoming less tolerant towards people who disagreed with him. Ministers that questioned the wisdom of his policies were replaced by people who had proved their loyalty to him. In March 1960 Richard Bissell (US CIA agent) had drafted a top-secret policy paper entitled: A Program of Covert Action Against the Castro Regime (code-named JMARC) Politicians who publicly disagreed with him faced the possibility of being arrested. Writers who expressed dissenting views and people he considered deviants such as homosexuals were also imprisoned. (Bay of Pigs Invasion) Made of only Cuban exhiles. Not a single American could set foot in this affair, so Kennedy could claim there was no US involvment Exit Question:
What led to the Bay of Pigs invasion and its failures?
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