On April 17, 1961, the United States led a failed invasion against Cuba named, “The Bay of Pigs.” The name came from the location of the attack, which occurred on the southern coast of
Cuba named, The Bay of Pigs (“The Bay of Pigs Invasion”). This event would, in turn, alter the diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, and change both country’s histories
One of the main triggers of the Bay of Pigs invasion took place on January 1, 1959, when communist believer, Fidel Castro, and his army overthrew Fulgencio Batista and took over as the
self-appointed Prime Minister. Batista, the previous Cuban leader, was greatly supported by the U.S (“The Bay of Pigs Invasion”). This angered U.S. President, John F. Kennedy because Cuba
was now at risk of falling into the trap of communism. Prior to Castro’s reign, many well-off Americans lived and prospered in Cuba, developing many thriving businesses (“The Bay of Pigs
Invasion”). After the overthrow, though, Castro confiscated United States-owned business property which led then U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, to authorize the CIA to conduct an operation to dethrone Fidel Castro (“The Bay of Pigs Invasion”).
The actual attack was comprised of 1,500 anti-Castro Cuban exiles who fled Cuba when Castro took over (“The Bay of Pigs”). The United States’ plan, led by Jose Miro Cardona, was
doomed from the start. The History.com Editors explained that first, an airstrike failed, and then a radio station got wind of the details of the operation and broadcasted it across Cuba. The U.S.
forces were then met by Castro’s military almost immediately, and the United States was forced to surrender in under 24 hours (History.com Editors). 1,100 men were captured and imprisoned
in Cuba which took a toll on them, their families, and the U.S. government (Britannica). Soon after the failed attack, the Cuban population became subjects of Castro’s strict communist
policies and governmental handlings (History.com Editors). On the contrary, some Cuban citizens felt some relief. Michael Voss of BBC News quoted an eyewitness of this event,
Domingo Rodriguez, “‘It was like a great school for the Cuban people, we finally learnt that we don’t have to be afraid of the enemy…as Fidel said afterward, the people of Latin America have
become a little freer.’” The effects on certain individuals ranged from positive to negative across the involved countries.
The Bay of Pigs invasion did have quite a few effects on other countries, as well. For example, when Castro took over, he sent Cuban agents to initiate revolutions in several Latin
American countries (Britannica). This caused a lot of unrest in many of those already war-torn countries. On the other hand, this event benefited Cuba and the Soviet Union’s relationship. Part
of the United States’ goal was to get rid of Soviet connections in Cuba but instead, it pushed them closer together in their trade and other diplomatic relations (Voss).
Long term, the U.S. and Cuba’s relationship was directly affected by The Bay of Pigs invasion. Since then, the U.S. and Cuba have had a long history of trade embargoes, political
hostility, nuclear crisis, immigration discrepancies, travel restrictions, and much more (“U.S.- Cuba Relations”). The relations between the two nations have been rocky throughout the past 60
years, improving some years and worsening the next. There seems to be no end in sight either. According to the article, “U.S.-Cuba Relations”, “The White House says shifting US policy
towards Cuba is not one of Biden’s highest foreign policy concerns.” So, the reinstatement of travel restrictions, Cuba’s place on the terrorism list, and the closing of the U.S. embassy in
Havana put in place by former U.S. President Donald Trump, are not going anywhere soon.
The Bay of Pigs invasion had a large effect on the United States, Cuba, the Soviet Union,
Latin American countries, and many other individuals. This event continues to instill a lasting impression on the United States and Cuba’s diplomatic relations and overall wellbeing, as well.
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Bay of Pigs invasion”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 30
Nov. 2021, https://www.britannica.com/event/Bay-of-Pigs-invasion.
History.com Editors. “Bay of Pigs Invasion.” A&E Television Network, History, 30 Mar. 2020,
“The Bay of Pigs” JFK Library, 2022, https://www.jfklibrary.org/learn/about-jfk/jfk-inhistory/the-bay-of-pigs.
“The Bay of Pigs Invasion.” Central Intelligence Agency, 18 Apr. 2016,
“U.S.-Cuba Relations.” Council on Foreign Relations, 2022, https://www.cfr.org/timeline/uscuba-relations.
Voss, Michael. “Bay of Pigs; The ‘perfect failure’ of Cuba invasion.” BBC News, 14 April 2011,
About the Author:
My name is Halle Rezac and I am from a tiny town in northern Iowa called Armstrong. I am majoring in Business here at Iowa Central and next year I am transferring to the University of
South Dakota to major in Marketing. At Iowa Central, I am involved in the concert band, concert choir, marching/pep band, girls golf team, pit orchestra for the upcoming musical, “The Little
Mermaid”, the Accounting & Business Club, and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at Iowa Central and I am grateful for the opportunities I have
been given, including this opportunity to have my article published in the college newspaper!