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The Bay of Pigs / Playa Girón

From Granma International:
"In mid-April 1961, the nation's militia units, the Rebel Army and the police crushed the carefully prepared Operation Pluto as if it were a sandcastle. This U.S government operation was designed to banish the Cuban Revolution and its example from the face of the continent.

Some 1,500 men trained by the CIA, equipped with the U.S. Army's latest weapons and with strong air cover, were forced to surrender in barely 72 hours of combat. History recognizes this defeat as the greatest ever suffered by the United States in Latin America.

The fiasco had a strong impact on U.S. society and imperialist circles; for many months and even years a controversy raged about who was to blame, even though President John F. Kennedy assumed personal responsibility for the failure.

Kennedy advisor Arthur M. Schlesinger wrote what the U.S. establishment press was too cowardly to say. According to him, the truth was that Fidel Castro was a much more formidable enemy, leading a regime much better organized than anyone had suspected. His patrols pinpointed the invasion practically from the first moment. His planes reacted quickly and forcefully. His police eliminated any possibility of rebellion or sabotage behind the lines. His soldiers remained loyal and fought bravely, he added.

As has been repeated often through these four decades, the liquidation of the invasion in less than 72 hours closed the door to direct U.S. intervention, and prevented the greater loss of lives on both sides.

With that U.S. defeat, the myth of that power's invincibility began to crumble. From that time on, many things in the world began to change for the better, but at the same time, the most reactionary sectors of U.S. society increased their hatred toward the small island that had dared not only to confront the United States, but to defeat it.

Forty years later, Cubans—proud of that feat—celebrate it and take inspiration from it, in order to continue fending off the unceasing attacks by that same enemy."

Images
Star Please visit PlayaGirón.cu for three galleries of Cuban images of the invasion.
Star The Washington Post has a slide show of images from the American point of view.

Sounds
Star "Playa Girón," by Silvio Rodriguez.

Documents
Star "Declassified." The following messages were sent by the British ambassador in the United States to the British Foreign Office. These telegrams include conversations held between Allen Dulles, then director of the CIA, in which he suggests a plot to prevent British arms sales to Cuba, in order to oblige Cuba to obtain arms from the Soviet Union. He ties the events to what occurred in Guatemala, when the Arbens government's purchases of arms from the socialist countries served as a pretext for U.S. military invasion. This declassified document was presented to the Cuban press by Thomas S. Blanton, director of National Security Archive affiliated with George Washington University.

Other Resources
Star PlayaGirón.cu. The official Bay of Pigs resource site of the Cuban state.

from: Moreover &
Cuba Information Access

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» Vilma Espín
(1930- )
Helped organize November 1956 Santiago de Cuba uprising; leader of July 26 Movement in Oriente Province and member of its National Directorate; fighter in Rebel Army; president, Federation of Cuban Woman since 1960 founding; currently member of Communist Party Central Committee and Political Bureau.