On this day: Bay of Pigs Invasion

On April 17th 1961, American forces invaded Cuba with the aim of overthrowing Fidel Castro and his newly set up regime that had replaced the American-bankrolled puppet: Batista.

The invasion was a complete failure and humiliation to the Kennedy administration, leading to the capture of over 1000 Americans – who were later freed with the help of James Donovan, the same lawyer who had negotiated the exchange between Rudolph Abel and Francis Gary Powers in 1957 – as has been dramatised in the film Bridge of Spies.

The Bay of Pigs was the first decisive action by the US in its increasingly tense relationship with Cuba – a communist state with Russian trade agreements. A year later Cuba, America and Russia would come the closest they ever did, during the Cold War, to firing nuclear missiles – in what became known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Looking back on such an event, it is clear to see the similarities and stresses of our own time – America is currently acting aggressively with regards to the Middle, and Far East. But it’s important to remember that, in the end, the humanity of people can triumph – the  world was not destroyed in the 1960s and hopefully it never shall be – at least by human aggression or stupidity.


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