The Bay of Pigs invasion happened 50 years ago this week. What was the nature of the beast? It really depends on which side you sat. If you were on the US side, it was a fiasco; if Cuba’s, a triumph for the Cuban revolution. Here’s a 45-minute documentary on a long-classified and very damning bit of intelligence related to that:
According to the evil folks at Google, this video will be removed ten days from now, so watch it while you still can.
And just to make sure things stay relevant long after the video’s gone, here’s a roundup of links relating to Playa Girón:
The Nation’s Jon Wiener takes a look at the lesson JFK failed to take away from Playa Girón. And no, it was NOT that the invasion would have succeeded if only it had had better intel or more air cover, as many insist was the case. The truth is, it was doomed to fail no matter what, because the Cuban people were serious about their revolution and willing to defend it to the death. It wasn’t just the Brothers Castro, Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos and their rag-taggety bunch; it was the great majority of Cubans, and they fought back hard even with severely limited resources, and won. That had to be a bitter pill for the CIA-backed “exiles” (really, just émigrés) who landed on Girón Beach thinking they were going to have a cakewalk overthrowing Fidel. The only thing they walked into was a sure and certain stint in jail. As for the Cuban Missile Crisis that followed in the months shortly thereafter, you may be surprised to learn that the real hero was…Nikita Khrushchev. For it was he who secured from JFK the promise of no further invasions of Cuba–at Playa Girón or anywhere. Unfortunately, Cuba’s gain was Vietnam’s loss. The war begun there by Eisenhower got ramped up after JFK was assassinated. Hey, someone had to show them dirty commies…
Meanwhile, at OpEdNews, Kevin Gosztola delves into Peter Kornbluh’s fight to get the CIA’s Bay of Pigs documents–ALL OF THEM–released. Why are they still considered too important to declassify after all this time? Well, the video above should be an indication. The CIA knew full well that an invasion was bound to fail, and they went for it anyway. A vendetta against Fidel? Mafia-style? Yep, that’s exactly what it was. The mob ran the casinos, all of them, on the island. When Fidel & Co. shut them down, that spelled more than a million dollars a day in lost gambling revenues for the Mafia. They would have to make up for it in drug trafficking. Heroin had yet to reach the peak of popularity it did in the late 1960s, when the Vietnam war was at its height. It didn’t help, either, that Bobby Kennedy was his brother’s attorney general, and he was serious about gang-busting. Something had to give. Guess what that “something” was. And when that failed, something else would end up giving…and you can watch the Zapruder film to see how that went. (You may also be interested to know that Lee Harvey Oswald was, as he said, just a patsy…and that the real assassins were supplied by the selfsame Mafia’s ex-Cuban division, using a notorious Corsican mercenary who would himself be gunned down–in Mexico City in 1972.)
And finally, for those who want to hear the Cuban side from their own lips, in their own language, the VTV media-crit show La Hojilla was recently in Havana, where they shot two episodes at the “Round Table” with leading revolutionary figures and historians, thoroughly debunking the nonsense that still prevails in the United States of Amnesia. Here’s the first; here’s the second. Enjoy!