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  1. 1. Bay of Pigs Invasion 1 Running Head: BAY OF PIGS INVASION Bay of Pigs Invasion Name: University: Tutor: Course: Date:
  2. 2. Bay of Pigs Invasion 2 Introduction Cuba is known around the globe for its rich political history. In fact, this country’s past plays an important role in the history of other nations such as the United States and other European countries, as the Cuban people fought for its freedom against foreign oppressors as well as from dictators. From the Spanish occupation up until the reign of Cuban President Fidel Castro, this country has undoubtedly taken a stance in order to maintain its independence. This will for freedom is evident in the Bay of the Pigs Invasion. The Bay of the Pigs Invasion was a well-known military and political attempt of the Cuban exiles to overthrow the leftist government of Fidel Castro. This plan was actually backed by the United States as the US Central Intelligence Agency trained and supported the anti revolutionary exiles for the planned invasion. This plan was launched sometime in April of 1961 which is about three months right after John F. Kennedy assumed power in the White House. Despite their training, the exiles were defeated by the Cuban armed forces that were equipped and supported by the Soviet Bloc countries which included East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Soviet Union among many others Although the outcome of the debacle was complete failure, this event became an important part of the Cuban history. It particularly caused this country to be wary of foreign support which then led to other major political and national events. Apart from this, the unsuccessful invasion ignited various controversies and criticism in the Kennedy administration. Consequently, it has also made ripples in the current foreign relations of Cuba with the United States. This research paper will give an in depth look on the infamous Bay of the Pigs Invasion. It will begin by giving a political background behind the failed plan. Similarly, this research study will also explore result of this unsuccessful coup with the past and the current foreign policies and relation of the Cuban government.
  3. 3. Bay of Pigs Invasion 3 Background As the leftist government of Fidel Castro assumed the power, the Eisenhower administration of the United States assigned the Special Activities Division of the Central Intelligence Agency or the CIA to train, equip, as well as lead the Cuban exiles in a plan to invade southern Cuba. The ultimate goal of this preparation was to eventually overthrow the Castro regime. With Eisnehower’s go signal, the CIA was confident that it was capable of defeating the Cuban armed forces as they have already experienced them in action during the 1954 Guatemalan coup d’état (Jones, 2008, p. 113). The CIA started to recruit numerous anti-Castro Cuban exiles. However, it was only after three months when training was carried out in the southern region of Florida. During this period, the guerillas were trained to handle US fire arms. Amphibious landings and other boat handling took place at the Island of Puerto Rico. Similarly, underwater demolition training was held in New Orleans. Gunnery and flight training were held in Alabama while tank training was held at Fort Benning, Georgia as well as in Fort Knox, Kentucky. The Central Intelligence Agency initially proposed for a ship-borne invasion at a city located in Trinidad, Cuba. On March of 1961 however, newly elected president Kennedy selected the Bay of Pigs option largely because the area features an airfield which is suitable for a bomber operation. It was also during the same month when the CIA along with the Cuban guerillas formed the Cuban Revolutionary Council or the CRC. It was led by the former Prime Minister of Cuba Jose Miro Cardona who was also selected as the de facto leader- in waiting for the intended new Cuban government (Jones, 2008, p. 113). . Invasion
  4. 4. Bay of Pigs Invasion 4 The CIA along with the guerillas planned several prelude invasions in order to divert the Cuban Armed Forces. One of them was held on the night of April 14 when a planned diversionary landing took place in the Oriente Province. A number of US Navy Destroyers were positioned offshore near the bay in order to give the appearance of an invasion fleet. Likewise, a deception flight was executed by the exiles. The deception flight caused Raul Roa, Cuba’s Foreign Prime Minister, to accuse the US government of aggressive air attacks. Likewise, these diversionary tactics prompted the Cuban government to arrest and detain suspected anti-revolutionary citizens. By April 16, CIA once again organized a mock diversionary landing at the province of Pinar del Rio. Several small boats that towed rafts which contained broadcasting sound effects were used to lure the armed forces away from the Bay of Pigs area. By the dawn April 17, two CIA officers along with the Underwater Demolition Team made their way inside the Bay of Pigs. This group headed a troop of about 1,300 Cuban exiles who were also armed with US weapons. However, the unloading of the troops was delayed because of damaged boats and engine failure. This allowed some militia in the area to warn the Cuban armed forces via radio (Schulzinger, 2003, p. 342). At daybreak, aircrafts and ships started to attack the area while some CEF ships continued to unload troops. Paratroops also arrived, which provided a much needed distraction while the ships unloaded the remaining troops. Only after a couple of hours, hundreds of militia cadets started to set foot in the area but many suffered casualties because of the air attacks. The following day, more Cuban troops supported by tanks arrived at the Playa Larga. However, the United State’s B-26 jet which was piloted by CIA officials pursued on attacking the Cuban militia, police, and soldiers with rockets, bombs, and napalm. This resulted in heavy casualties on the Cuban side.
  5. 5. Bay of Pigs Invasion 5 Although the Cuban guerillas along with the CIA troops seemed to have won during the first few days, Castro’s army began to retaliate as they defeated the exiles. President Kennedy, on the other hand, decided to go against the option of further supporting the invasion by not sending additional US troops. However, he authorized the use of several fighter jets and US destroyers. Consequently, the invasion was brought to an end by Fidel Castro’s government. The fighting ended on April 19 as the exiles were either killed or taken as prisoners (Jones, 2008, p. 113). Casualties and Invasion Aftermath The unsuccessful invasion caused numerous casualties not only to the Cuban army but to the American and Cuban guerilla troops. In fact, the air crews who were killed in action included about six Cuban air forces, four American pilots, and ten Cuban exiles. Apart from this, CIA Intelligence reported that about 114 Cuban guerillas were killed during the attack. US data also reported a total of 4,000 to 5,000 deaths during the conflict (Jones, 2008, 113). Apart from the casualties, the failed attack also resulted to the execution of prisoners. In fact, between the months of April to October of 1961, hundreds of executions were implemented as a response to the invasion. Insurgent leaders which include Manuel Lorenzo Puig Miyar, Eufemio Fernandez, Rafael Diaz Hanscom, and Humberto Sori Marin among many others were arrested and sentenced to death (Jones, 2008, p. 113). There were also reported 1,204 members of the brigade 2506 who were captured by the Cuban forces. The Cuban government then agreed to sign an agreement with the Kennedy administration to exchange the prisoners for a sum of $53 million in food and medicine. By December of the following year, the ransomed prisoners were flown back o Miami while the others where allowed to leave Cuba (Schulzinger, 2003, p. 342). In addition to the deaths and casualties, this conflict also resulted to much criticism of the Kennedy administration. Numerous political critics questioned the US government for
  6. 6. Bay of Pigs Invasion 6 even allowing the invasion to take place. Some pointed out the inadequate support of the US. According to official CIA report, the failed attempt was a result of several factors. This would include CIA’s failure to properly assess the risks as well as the failure to have stable contingency plans. CIA also concluded that there was a poor internal communication between the government and the staff. Apart from this, the CIA also admitted that there was not enough involvement from the Cuban insurgent leaders which caused them to have insufficient information about the Cuban Armed Forces. Language barrier also got in the way as there were very little interpreters that helped them communicate with the Cuban accomplices. In spite of the trainings, CIA also deemed a lack of adequate armaments which resulted to failure. Accordingly, this event also created a huge impact on Cuban government. After the conflict, Fidel Castro’s administration became more wary of the US support and intervention. This unsuccessful attempt also made Castro more popular than ever as more and more Cubans began to recognize his nationalistic sentiments as well as his economic policies. Bay of the Pigs and the US-Cuba Relations As mentioned, the failed invasion in the Bay of the Pigs resulted in several changes within the Cuban government as well as their relationship with the United States. One of the most immediate results of this event was the ever increasing tension between Cuba and the United States which has been dragged for more than forty years. The tension between the two countries reached its peak in 1962. It was particularly ignited when a US reconnaissance reported that missile bases were being constructed in Cuba. The United States government, on the other hand, used all its power to pressure the Soviet Union to remove and dismantle the missile bases. The crises only ended when then President Kennedy agreed with the United Nations and the Soviets to remove the missile in exchange for a no-invasion pact.
  7. 7. Bay of Pigs Invasion 7 Trade relations were held up by the United States. In fact, all trades with the Cuban government were prohibited in response to the increasing involvement of Cuba with the Soviet Union. Only after a year, the United States also ordered the cessation of financial as well as travel transactions with Cuba (Perez, 2003, p. 283). The political and trade relationship of Cuba and the United States did not improve during the 80s. In fact, in 1981, President Ronald Reagan’s administration continued to tighten the embargo against island. The US government also re-established its rule on the travel ban as they prohibited its citizens from spending dollars in Cuba (Perez, 2003, p. 283). During the early 1990s, the US’s trade embargo against the island was reinforced with the Cuban Democracy Act or more popularly referred to as the Torricelli Law. This Federal law prohibits US foreign based subsidiaries from trading with Cuba. The key points of this policy would also include sanctioning that any country trading with Cuba could be in great risk of not receiving any aid from the United States government. There will also be a limited trade of currency from the US to Cuba which will result to the restricted access of the Cuban government to the US currency. According to the US government, this sanction seeks to promote a harmonious transaction with Cuba by applying direct sanctions to its government (Roy, 2000, p. 84). In 1996, the US government has once again re-established its embargo with the island through the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996. Also known as the Helms- Burton Act, the federal law extends the embargo to foreign companies trading with Cuba (Roy, 2000, p. 84). One of the main points of this act was the provision that any non-US company that forms trade relations with Cuba may be barred from entering the United States. This means that foreign companies should choose between trading with Cuba and the much larger market of the United States. Apart from this, the Helms-Burton Act also decrees that prohibition of television broadcasting from the US to Cuba. This law also seeks out to oppose
  8. 8. Bay of Pigs Invasion 8 the inclusion of Cuba in any International Financial Institutions. This sanction is also applicable to maritime shipping as ships or any vessels that docked in any Cuban ports will not be allowed at any US ports for a minimum period of six months (Roy, 2000, p. 84). The passing of the Helms-Burton Act prompted violent and harsh reaction from various countries which include Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Argentina, and other US allies. This act was likewise condemned by numerous international organizations such as the European Union and the Council of Europe. According to these countries and organizations which enjoy normal trade relations with Cuba, the Helms-Burton Act is a law that is against the spirit of both the international and sovereignty laws. Apart from this, this Act violates the right of sovereign countries from trading with other nations as the United States indirectly dictates how they should conduct their trading affairs. Similarly, this Federal Law was also condemned by different humanitarian groups particularly because such sanctions will only affect innocent civilians and citizens (Perez, 2003, p. 283). As a response to this US regulation, the European Union filed a complaint to the World Trade Organization. However, the EU eventually dropped the objection in favor of finding a negotiable solution. The European Union then initiated a council regulation which binds all of its members. The regulation decrees that the territorial provisions of the Helms Burton Act will not be enforced within the EU. Likewise, other countries that enjoyed trade relations with Cuba followed EU’s step of counteracting the Helms-Burton Act. The United Kingdom, for instance, introduced a provision which counteracts the US federal rule of embargo against Cuba. Alternately, Mexico and Canada also passed laws such as the Law of Protection of Commerce and Investments from Foreign Policies that Contravene International Law of Mexico and the Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act which both neutralize the effects of this US federal rule.
  9. 9. Bay of Pigs Invasion 9 Apart from the pressures laid by the International community, various farmers and American agribusinesses also challenged the Helms-Burton Act. The government then responded by relaxing the sanction with the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act. Signed in October 2000, this law allowed the trade and selling of agricultural goods as well as medicines to Cuba, particularly because of humanitarian reasons. The Cuban government initially declined such negotiations as they see it only serving US interest. The Cuban government eventually caved in to the engagement as it has encountered casualties from a large hurricane in 2001 (Roy, 2000, p. 84). Aside from trade, the conflict that happened more than forty years ago still affects the travel relations between the United States and Cuba. Although the US government does not prevent the US citizens from traveling to the island, it sanctions that US citizens are not allowed to spend money in Cuba. Such federal rule also requires an individual to be licensed by US jurisdiction in order to engage in such activities while traveling within Cuba. The US government also announced that a special task force shall be formed as a way of pursuing the violators of the trade embargo against Cuba (Perez, 2003, p. 283). Forty years after the debacle in the Bay of Pigs, little has changed between the relations of the United States and Cuba. Up until now, the US government is still enforcing their embargo regulations against the country of Cuba. For years, the United States has maintained its stance that it will only stop the embargo once the Cuban government pursues democratization. Consequently, the Cuban government also continues to hold its ground by resisting any forms of aid from the United States. Instead, it has supported itself by simply trading with other countries. Despite their opposing beliefs, the two nations have both voiced their desires to negotiate and resolve their differences. Although the dispute continues, these two countries are still hoping their long-standing clash will be settled and placed aside in order for diplomacy to prevail.
  10. 10. Bay of Pigs Invasion 10 References Jones, H. (2008). The Bay of Pigs. USA: Oxford University Press. Perez, L. (2003). Cuba and the United States: Ties of Singular Intimacy. USA: University of Georgia Press. Roy, J. (2000). Cuba, the United States and the Helm-Burton Doctrine: International Reactions. USA: University Press of Florida. Schulzinger, R. (2003). A Companion to American Foreign Relations. USA: Blackwell Publishing.