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The current time is: 1/16/2017 10:03:41 PM
 (1946-1999) Other 20th Century Battles    
dr brian
Lafayette, CO, USA
top 60
E-3 Private First Class

Posts: 22
Bay of Pigs 55th Anniversary
Posted on: 4/18/2016 7:21:46 PM
We are in the middle of the 3-day battle in April 1961.

Last month I visited two museums dedicated to it -- one in Little Havana (Miami) and the other right on the Bahia dos Cochinos in Cuba. As you can well imagine -- they tell different stories with essentially the same facts. Both are quite moving.

In Little Havana I spent an hour with the current president of the veteran's organization of Brigada Asalta 2506 -- he was a young, idealistic 18 year old in 1961. In Playa Giron I walked around with my driver, who was a 17 year old militiaman in 1961 and he pointed to a picture of his best friend from his home city (Santiago) who was killed and memorialized on the wall. In Miami they have a similar wall of young men.

Today, the Playas Giron and Larga are beautiful beaches on a gorgeous bay, perfect for snorkeling and diving. Castro ensured tourism monies flowed to the incredibly poor area after the people there were raised to heroes of the Revolucion.

As with most battlefields, the memories are bittersweet.

I toast tonight with some good Cuban rum. Salud! Buenas noches. . . .
LTC (Ret), USA, PhD

"Travel with a Purpose!"

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major

Posts: 1976

Re: Bay of Pigs 55th Anniversary
Posted on: 4/24/2016 3:19:07 PM
Hi Dr. Brian,

Looks like you had a great time in Cuba, just curious on how new, any development in Cuba is? You always seem to get an interpretation from the West, that Cuba has been held back by Communism. Do you think that's true? As close as I've gotten is Sloppy Joes in Key West, & it's hard to get out of there, & I don't remember much after that!?

Buenas noches,
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major

Posts: 847

Re: Bay of Pigs 55th Anniversary
Posted on: 5/28/2016 9:17:00 PM
Brian and MD, interesting balance in your comments, and equally interesting lack of response to Brian's original post or to MD's response.

IMHO, the Bay of Pigs invasion, like the Cuban Missile Crisis, will always have two stories. And even between them they won't capture the truth. As an aside, however, Cuba remained Cuban after the Bay of Pigs, and Cuba was not nuked because of the presence of Soviet missiles on its soil. Doesn't that suggest that Cuba won both times?

MD, I'm wading into partisanship here, but IMHO Cuba wasn't held back by Communism. It was held back by a badly delineated, poorly controlled and blatantly punitive system of controls imposed by the US. Without making comparisons between US and Cuban values, Cuba has an excellent health system, a solid educational system, and a civil service that should be recognize for its integrity.

I worked with friends (Canada has never had its knickers in a twist over Cuba) trying to ship goods to Cuba. They had to be shipped through US controlled waters. So items like pianos, knitting patterns and the like were seen as having strategic use and were not allowed to be carried. Hang on! Music capability is strategic? I may be naive, but I simply don't remember the Soviet Bloc ever determining that pianos might be strategically important.

Oddly, (and, yes, add a bit of irony to my tone), most of my friends who have spend wonderful times in Cuba are attempting to get one more visit in before "Americans" destroy it. My hope is that Cuba will be strong enough to reject Americanization. Like me, their most frightening concern is that Cuba will once again (as it was in 1959) become a playground. So I hope they maintain their values while improving things that the release of the US embargo make possible.

Brian G
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

 (1946-1999) Other 20th Century Battles    
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