(The Bay of Pigs Invasion).

Bay of Pigs Invasion
Nicky England
Cuba in the 1950s had two different types of people who lived different lifestyles. There were
the wealthy who enjoyed grand homes and the poor who wished for more. The wealthy did not feel that
the government of Fulgencio Bautista was repressive. The poor looked to Fidel Castro to help them. The
wealthy ate at the high-class cabarets and night clubs. These were also popular places for American
tourists. The poor worked at the restaurants.
But not everything was bad for the poor. They had their music, dance, and food which were all a
blend of Spanish and African influences which reflect where they came from. A majority of them were
Catholic which was brought to Cuba by the Spaniards. There are also cults that are based on practices
brought by slaves from Africa. Many Cubans loved dancing especially salsa which originated in their
country. Music reflected European and African sounds all blended to make a unique Cuban sound
(Cuba). All these things came together at their carnivals with the largest being those in Santiago de Cuba
where thousands of people enjoy the noisy, colorful, lavish musical parade of floats.
The United States was at first willing to maintain civil relations with Cuba. As Fidel Castro
became increasingly communist the United States government changed its mind. Because the United
States wouldn’t support a communist regime, the two countries broke diplomatic ties. Shortly after, an
embargo was imposed on Cuban goods. Eisenhower began the plan for the Bay of Pigs invasion. The
planning actually began before diplomatic relations were broken with Cuba. Eisenhower completed so
much of the planning of the Bay of Pigs Invasion that by the time President Kennedy was inaugurated
virtually the only thing left to do was give the “go ahead” to commence the operation. One of the
contributing reasons that America decided to take action against Cuba had to with oil. Cuba was trading
sugar for Russian oil. They wanted to refine this oil in the American refineries located in Cuba. When the
companies refused, Castro nationalized the refineries (Ogonowski).
The Bay of Pigs was a humiliating defeat for the United States. America did not want to admit its
involvement in the attack making for a bad situation for many political figures. The attack originally had
to be kept a secret because the United States was still on amicable terms with Cuba when planning
began. Cuban exiles from Guatemala were trained and equipped to invade. The hope was that the
Cuban locals would support the rebellion. They disguised the planes to look like Cuban defectors were
responsible for the attack. There were too many gaps in the cover story and the press got suspicious. An
United Nations ambassador tried to keep up the cover story and even presented “official photographs.”
Despite all efforts to make it look like America was not involved, the press soon uncovered the real
story. There were complications in the landings. Some boats got stuck on the coral reefs which
postponed the landings. When the plan started to fail, Kennedy would not directly involve the United
States Air Force to support the rebels (The Bay of Pigs Invasion: Wars and Battles, April 14-19. 1961).
The exiles were captured and almost all were sentenced to 30 years in prison. The total number
of people captured was 1,197. Over 200 people were killed in the attack. Many political leaders were
disgraced. The United States traded $53 million in food and medical supplies for the prisoners (The Bay
of Pigs Invasion: Wars and Battles, April 14-19. 1961). The attack further strained relations between the
United States and Cuba and contributed to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Because Cuba disliked America, they
accepted Russia’s request to place missiles trained on the United States in Cuba.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th president of the United States. During his presidency he
ended the war in Korea. He also dealt with the Cold War and tried to create amiable relations with
Russia while still fighting communism. However, his plan to be peaceful with Russia failed and so he
began to plan the Bay of Pigs attack. He saw Cuba as a potential threat because with Castro in power
communism was an even more prevalent threat (Biography: Dwight David Eisenhower ).
Fidel Castro is the leader of Cuba. He came to power in 1959 after trying several times to
overthrow the Batista regime using guerilla tactics. When Castro became leader, many Cubans fled the
country to escape from living in a communist government. When the United States attacked Cuba in the
Bay of Pigs incident, Cuba defeated the Cuban invaders. This led to lasting friction between the two
governments that continues today.
The Bay of Pigs invasion had several long term effects. The most significant one is that Cuba is
still a communist country. The reason for the invasion was to remove Castro from power and to glorify
Americans and the returning Cubans. The invasion actually caused the opposite to happen. Castro’s
popularity as a communist leader increased. He continues to rule Cuba to this day and America only
succeeded in becoming Cuba’s enemy. Cuba then became a close partner with Russia which led to the
Cuban Missile Crisis. The second long-term effect is an economic one. When the United States
instituted an embargo on Cuban goods, they lost a lot of revenue. “It is estimated that, if the embargo
were lifted, the United States would gain $1 billion of business in the first year” (The Bay of Pigs
Biography: Dwight David Eisenhower . 2000. 31 January 2010
Broadcasting, Oregon Public. Cold War I: Bay of Pigs. 2001. 2010 31 January
Caro, Adolfo Rivero. Cuba: The Unnecessary Revolution. 2010 31 January
Countries and Their Culture. 31 January 2010 <http://www.everyculture.com/Cr-Ga/Cuba.html>.
Cuba. 1996-2009. National Geographic Society. 31 January 2010
Cuba Before Fidel Castro. 31 January 2010 <http://www.fiu.edu/~fcf/cubaprecastro21698.html>.
Fidel Castro. 2010 31 January <http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1766.html>.
Ogonowski, Julie. Background on the Conflict. 1997. 31 January 2010
Sierra, J.A. HistoryofCuba.com. 31 January 2010
The Bay of Pigs Invasion. 1997- 2009. 31 January 2010 <http://www.cyberessays.com>.
The Bay of Pigs Invasion: Wars and Battles, April 14-19. 1961. 11 November 2009. 31 January 2010
The Cuban Experience. 1998. 31 January 2010 <http://library.thinkquest.org/18355/fidel_castro.html>.