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1961: Bay of Pigs Invasion


During May of 1960, the CIA began training Cuban exiles in military combat to overthrow Fidel Castro, the Communist leader of Cuba. The CIA proposed, through their actions, that this was their job. They felt as though they should be the people protecting the country from the “Soviet influence in the Western Hemisphere.” In reality, they had written in their documents that the job of over-
Bahia de Cochinos in Cuba

Bahia de Cochinos in Cuba
throwing a foreign government belongs to the Pentagon. On April 17, 1961 the exiled-Cuban military landed on the south coast of Cuba in the Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs). These exiles, not as severely trained as the Cuban army, were either killed or captured by as early as April 20th. This invasion caused bitter feelings toward US-Cuban relations in both Latin America and Europe, causing President Kennedy to receive harsh criticism. In December of 1962, Fidel Castro released thousands of captured exiles for $53 million in food and medicine, both provided by United States private donations.


The Bay of Pigs Invasion is a significant event in history because it lead to the separation of the US-Cuban comradeship. This event began harsh criticism of President John F. Kennedy. The CIA said that because of Kennedy’s actions, thousands of Cubans were killed. Not only did the Bay of Pigs Invasion start the trouble with the US-Cuban relations, the criticism of Kennedy, but it also sparked problems in Europe and Latin America with the trust of the CIA.

Connection to Essential Questions

The reason that the CIA stepped in to stop the separation of the Communist control in Cuba, was not only to bring the Cubans and the Cuban exiles together, but it was also to protect the United States from the “Soviet influence in the Western Hemisphere.” The Bay of Pigs Invasion, on the other hand, only magnified the problem. Fidel Castro, the Communist leader, began spreading the Communist views in our half of the world, and his control was presiding over our jurisdiction. Our only option was to add to the Cold War at an attempt to stop the Communist goals and further our Democratic goals.

Bahia de Cochinos in Cuba photo website

Fidel Castro and the Bay of Pigs Invasion Video website

For more information on the Bay of Pigs Invasion please visit:
JFK Presidential Library and Museum Website