Forty-eight years ago this past April 17, the US lodged an attack on Cuba using Cuban mercenaries. The attack was designed to “wipe out” a budding socialist revolution. It was a miserable failure and the defeat gave the US its first indication that Cuba would never yield its sovereignty. For the next forty years, though, the US continued to try. The US used biological agents on the Cuban population, livestock and crops, tried to assassinate Fidel Castro hundreds of times, and allowed Cuban terrorists living in the US to plot and execute bombings of Cuban hotels and a Cubana airliner. The Bay of Pigs is a dirty chapter in US history, one of many.
At least on the forty-eighth anniversary of the invasion, the Cubans can relish the memory of their victory at the Bay of Pigs. ” Patria o Muerte,” indeed.
Below is a video about the attack which features former guerrilla Vilma Espin (Raul Castro’s late wife) and Fidel Castro, including the speech in which he declared the revolution to be socialist. After the video is a Prensa Latina article that looks back on the attack providing many interesting details.
“Cuba Remembers Bay of Pigs Failure
2009-04-17 | 14:57:36 EST
Havana, Apr 17 (Prensa Latina) Mercenaries trained by the United States invaded Cuba through its southwest coast on April 17, 1961, in an unforgettable failed attempt to frustrate the newborn Socialist Revolution.
The goal of the brigade of 1,500 expatriots was to set up a beachhead in the swamps of Zapata and lead from there a war that was frustrated in less than three days.
After supporting conspiracies, aerial provocations, sabotage, diplomatic maneuvers and radical economic measures, the government of John F. Kennedy and the CIA ordered the invasion through Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs).
Then, B-26 bombers disguised as the Cuban Air Force raided two airbases and one civil airport on April 15.
At the burial of the victims, Fidel Castro told the world that Cuba would fight against an imminent invasion, to defend a legitimate right to build a homeland of social justice.
With that, he had proclaimed the Cuban Revolution Socialist.
On April 17, 1961, at 01:30 am the mercenary invasion of the 2506 Brigade began. It included heavily armed amphibious units with tanks, armored vehicles, cannons, mortar and support by 30 bomber planes.
The Cuban troops were made up of combatants from the Ejercito Rebelde and National Revolutionary Police, but mostly by voluntary national guardspeople, then with little or no military experience.
On the very night of April 17th four ships and five enemy bombers were destroyed.
Those who landed could see for themselves that “Patria o Muerte” (Give Me Homeland or Death) was not a mere slogan.
The patriotic forces relentlessly charged against the 2506 assault Brigade until it surrendered on the sands of Playa Giron in barely 64 hours.