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The Bay of Pigs Invasion, occurred on April 17, 1961. It was a failed military invasion of Cuba undertaken by the US’ CIA to overthrow Fidel Castro’s communist regime.
- On 1952, Cuban President Carlos Prío Socarrás was exiled to Miami, Florida by a coup led by General Fulgencio Batista.
- Batista seized power and declared himself as the new president of Cuba. He described his leadership as ‘disciplined democracy’.
- Batista was considered as corrupt and oppressive dictator. He was a known ally of United States.
- During this period, American corporations and individuals dominated Cuba’s sugar and coffee plantations as well as the cattle ranches, mines, banks and utilities.
- Batista’s regime paved way to the formation of the 26th of July Movement.
- The movement was founded by a Fidel Castro. The movement propagated through underground newspaper and even trained recruits against Batista.
- Fidel Castro, a lawyer, was against Batista’s one-man dictatorship and pro-American government.
- Castro, a communist, disapproved the domination of American corporations in Cuba. He became famous with his slogan ‘Cuba Sí, Yanquis No’.
- The movement became successful when they ousted Batista after the Cuban Revolution on December 31, 1958.
- Fidel Castro became the Prime Minister of the new Cuban government. He immediately nationalized industries dominated by America such as sugar and coffee plantations and mining. He empowered the people by introducing state reforms and nationalized Cuba.
- United States, who was engaged in the Cold War, feared Castro’s regime.
- In March 1960, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) allocated $13.1 million to plan Castro’s overthrow. CIA organized the operation and recruited 1,400 Cuban exiles living in Miami. They were known as the Brigade 2506.
- In May 1960, Castro became an ally of the Soviet Union by establishing diplomatic relations with the country. In response, US prohibited the importation of Cuban sugar. USSR aided Cuba by buying the sugar to prevent their economy from collapsing.
- By January of 1961, US severed diplomatic relations with Cuba.
- By April 4, 1961, John F. Kennedy, Eisenhower’s successor, approved the final invasion plan.
- Kennedy wanted the plan to work well as he was concerned the USSR might see this as invasion which can lead to war.
- On April 15, 1961, launched from Nicaragua, a squadron of American B-26 bombers conducted airstrikes against Cuban airfields. The planes were painted to look like stolen Cuban planes.
- Castro was informed about the raids hence preventing a total destruction of Cuba’s planes.
- On April 17, 1961, the Cuban exiles landed at an isolated beach named Playa Girón on the island’s southern shore in the Bay of Pigs.
- The invasion was immediately condemned as a failure. A radio station on the beach broadcasted across Cuba the details of the invasion.
- When the invaders landed on the beach, they immediately came under fire. Cuban planes, supposedly the targets during the April 15 airstrike, bombarded the invaders and sank two escort ships.
- Castro’s 20,000 troops greatly outnumbered the invaders.
- By April 19, Kennedy authorized an “air-umbrella” at dawn. Six unmarked American fighter planes aided the brigade’s B-26 aircraft flying. However, the B-26 arrived late due to the confusion regarding the time zones. The planes were shot down by the Cubans, and later that day, the invaders surrendered to Castro. 114 invaders were killed and an estimate of over 1,200 were imprisoned.
- The prisoners remained in captivity for 20 months as a result of a deal negotiated between the United States and Fidel Castro. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy made pleas and negotiated with Castro. The latter settled on $53 million worth of baby food and medicine in exchange for the prisoners.
- The analysis of the failed invasion conducted by the CIA Inspector-General Lyman Kirkpatrick concluded that the insufficient involvement of the exiled leaders, insufficient Spanish-speakers, lack of training facilities, insufficient contingency plans, failure to assess risks, and lack of high-quality staff were some of the reasons that led to its failure.
Aggressive to overthrow Castro, Kennedy even approved the Operation Mongoose by November 1961. The operation involved espionage and a plan to sabotage and destabilize Cuba as well as the possibility of assassinating Castro.
- The invasion reinforced the ties between USSR and Cuba. Furthermore, it also empowered Castro and was even regarded as a hero.
- The tension between the Soviet and US strengthened which eventually led to Cuban Missile Crisis (1962).
Bay of Pigs Invasion Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Bay of Pigs Invasion Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about The Bay of Pigs Invasion which occurred on April 17, 1961. It was a failed military invasion of Cuba undertaken by the US’ CIA to overthrow Fidel Castro’s communist regime.
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Bay of Pigs Invasion Facts
- Did It Happen?
- Bay of Pigs Invasion Word Search
- Where is Bay of Pigs?
- The Characters
- Historical Ladder
- News Analysis
- What Went Wrong
- Conversation with Guevara
- Bay of Pigs Invasion: The Aftermath
- My Prerogative
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