April 17th 1961: Bay of Pigs Invasion
On this day in 1961, a group of around 1,500 CIA financed and trained Cuban exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs in southern Cuba with the aim of ousting the Communist regime of Fidel Castro. The invasion took place at a beach named Playa Girón at the mouth of the bay, and the invasion is referred to as Playa Girón in Latin America. The invasion was part of US plans to end Castro’s regime, which had seized power in the Cuban Revolution in the 1950s, without direct US intervention. They aimed to sneak ashore and secure the area before flying in a government-in-exile and hoped for a mass uprising in Cuba. The invasion was a failure and an embarrassment to the administration of President John F. Kennedy, with the exiles being defeated by the Cuban army within three days. The invasion pushed Cuba into the arms of the Soviet Union and soured US-Cuban relations.
"Thanks for Playa Girón. Before the invasion, the revolution was weak. Now it’s stronger than ever."
- Che Guevara to the US