The Bay of Pigs
The Bay of Pigs Invasion was an unsuccessful attempt by United States-backed Cuban exiles to overthrow the government of the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Increasing friction between the U.S. government and Castro's leftist regime led President Dwight D. Eisenhower to break off diplomatic relations with Cuba in January 1961. Even before that, however, the Central Intelligence Agency had been training anti-revolutionary Cuban exiles for a possible invasion of the island. The invasion plan was approved by Eisenhower's successor, John F. Kennedy.
On April 17, 1961 about 1300 exiles, armed with U.S. weapons, landed at the Bahía de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs) on the southern coast of Cuba. Hoping to find support from the local population, they intended to cross the island to Havana. It was evident from the first hours of fighting, however, that the exiles were likely to lose. President Kennedy had the option of using the U.S. Air Force against the Cubans but decided against it. Consequently, the invasion was stopped by Castro's army. By the time the fighting ended on April 19, 90 exiles had been killed and the rest had been taken as prisoners.
The failure of the invasion seriously embarrassed the young Kennedy administration. Some critics blamed Kennedy for not giving it adequate support and others for allowing it to take place at all. The captured exiles were later ransomed by private groups in the U.S.
Additionally, the invasion made Castro wary of the U.S. He was convinced that the Americans would try to take over the island again. From the Bay of Pigs on, Castro had an increased fear of a U.S. incursion on Cuban soil.
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