How the Bay of Pigs invasion began – and failed – 60 years on – BBC News

Fidel Castro had reached power slightly more than two years before, on 1 January 1959, when his forces brought down the government of Fulgencio Batista, whom they accused of being authoritarian and corrupt.

Sixty years after the Bay of Pigs invasion – the failed attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba – the island continues to celebrate its victory while the invaders who survived live on in the US with the satisfaction of having done their duty.

Despite substantial popular support for Castro, many Cubans did not agree with his revolution and left for exile.

The Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 was doomed to fail even before the first shot was fired. The Brigade still blames Washington.

From the White House, US President John F Kennedy cancelled at the last minute the US air strikes that would have neutralised Castro’s aviation.

He did so because he felt the United States could not appear to be behind the invasion. Being seen as such would not only damage its international reputation, but would also give an excuse to the Soviet Union, which at that time was consolidating its position as a key ally of Castro, to respond and provoke an unprecedented nuclear conflict.

Under these circumstances, the attack by the determined but inexperienced youths who dreamed of “liberating Cuba from Castro” lasted less than 72 hours.

Source: How the Bay of Pigs invasion began – and failed – 60 years on – BBC News