Playa Giron: The Mercenary Defeat in Cuba

Playa Giron: The Mercenary Defeat in CubaHavana, Apr 12. -The 50th anniversary of the Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs) victory, is particularly important for the Cuban people: the 1961 defeat of an invasion of CIA-trained mercenary troops.

That armed invasion was approved by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who on March 17, 1960, ordered the recruitment of Cuban-born mercenaries to land in the western Cuban province of Matanzas.

Historical documents show that each of these soldiers for hire was offered 225 USD monthly plus 50 USD for his oldest child and 25 for other children. A total of 4.4 million USD was initially allocated for this purpose, and that figure later grew.

The CIA trained their newly-recruited mercenaries in camps in Guatemala, Nicaragua and the United States and on U.S. military bases in Puerto Rico and Panama.

Days after the U.S. elections, on Nov. 18, 1960, the CIA proposed the details of the plan to President-elect John F. Kennedy, and he approved the idea.

On Apr. 15, 1961, while the mercenary naval group was sailing to Cuba, escorted by U.S. Navy ships, eight B-26 bombers painted with Cuban Air Force emblems bombed two air bases and a civilian airport in Cuba.

At the memorial services for the victims of the air raids, the socialist character of the Revolution was proclaimed and a state of combat alarm was decreed nationwide. That date is celebrated every year as Militia Member Day.

Meanwhile, a media campaign was being created to back a future direct attack, demonizing Cuban revolutionary measures to benefit the people, such as the agrarian reform to give land to those who work it and the urban reform, doing away with landlords.

The United States concentrated the power of its propaganda on convincing the world through false information that the Cuban people had created an internal uprising, backing an exile government made up of traditional, corrupt politicians.

The landing in Cuba of the so-called Brigade 2506 began on April 17, and its characteristics were similar to that of the amphibian assault units of the U.S. armed forces. It was made up of 1,500 armed men, tanks and field artillery. The Cuban forces were made up of combatants of the Rebel Army and the National Revolutionary Police, but most of them were voluntary militia members with little or no combat experience.

Under the direct command of the leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro, the Cuban troops gave the enemy no rest, and at 5:30 p.m. on Apr. 19, the invasion had been defeated. (Prensa Latina)