“Me and my staff were all Fidelistas” (CIA Cuba Desk Chief in 1961)
I had to laugh — out LOUD — while reading an AP story by Anita Snow, Cold War Adversaries Gather in Cuba, about a ‘conference’ held in Havana, Cuba, on March 23, 2001.
The chummy event was attended by participants from both sides of the Florida straits. The Best and Brightest were represented by Richard Goodwin and Arthur Schlesinger Jr. Other disinterested and impartial parties from the U.S. included former Fair Play for Cuba Committee member Saul Landau (also famous as an Emmy-award-winning ‘filmmaker’ for his Castro Infomercials. Landau once referred to his Cuban host as “a new force of nature! Here is a man so filled with energy he is almost a different species! Power radiates from him!")
"Bay of Pigs Enemies (italics mine)sit down together" crowed the New York Times article on the same Conference. Castro’s commanders were all on hand -- the few who hadn’t jumped on chunks of Styrofoam and hit the Gulf Stream by then, that is.
Of the ten Castroite pilots who fought at the Bay of Pigs, gallantly flying their T-33 jets and Sea-Furys against unarmed and lumbering B-26s, valiantly strafing and rocketing unarmed supply ships and men without a single AA battery to defend themselves -- of these ten Galahads-- NINE had disappeared from the ranks by the time of the 40-year anniversary of their glorious victory.
They’d either paddled off on rafts or scurried out of sight on restroom breaks during diplomatic missions abroad. Most then pleaded for political asylum from the same “Yankee Imperialists” they’d combated so gallantly in April ‘61.
“Patria o Muerte!” they’d all thundered during the battle. “Patria o Muerte! They yelled again while Castro pinned their medals afterward.
“POR FAVOR,Yankee Imperialists! … POR FAVOR! Please let us in!” They wailed a few years later. (I'd love to add up their remittances to their poor dying viejitos.)
Anyway, the precious few officers still available to “President” Castro on April 2001 strutted around slapping backs with their medals clicking and clanging on their breasts. For photos they jutted their chins and affected frowns to shame George Patton himself -- all this to commemorate a battle where they received one of the most humiliating, inglorious and grotesque stompings in the annals of military history.
Here’s a summary of the Battle of the Bay of Pigs: 41,000 Castro troops with limitless Soviet arms, including tanks and planes and batteries of heavy artillery meet 1,400 mostly civilian exile freedom -- fighters carrying only light arms and one day’s ammo. The Castroites hit them, immediately halt, then flee hysterically.
They probe again, get mauled and retreat in headlong flight again. A few almost reach the sea on the OPPOSITE side of Cuba. They march back, often at gunpoint, and roll in battery after battery of Soviet 122 mm Howitzers. They rain 2,000 (that's TWO THOUSAND!) rounds of heavy artillery into lightly armed men they outnumber 40 to 1. They strafe them repeatedly with unopposed air support. They probe again -- and retreat again in hysterical headlong flight.
They eventually stop, look around sheepishly, and bring in reinforcements. (40-to-1 odds aren't enough, you see) They rain another Soviet artillery storm on abandoned men outnumbered about 50 to 1 by now, without any air cover and only light arms.
Finally they move in and overwhelm the freedom fighters – after THREE DAYS of effort, and only when the freedom fighters, who hadn't eaten, drunk or slept in three days, were completely out of ammo. Castro’s forces took 2,200 casualties in the process. The freedom fighters took 114 casualties.
At the 40th Annic. Conference these Castroite Caesars and Bonapartes promised to spread out maps and -- the Ivy Leaguers could scarcely believe their fortune! -- reveal the tactical secrets of their brilliant and stunning victory!!
The gaping Best and Brightest quivered like tuning forks in anticipation of this unanticipated TREAT! Not West Point, not even Sandhurst offered anything like THIS!!
Cuban college and high school kids, laborers, lawyers and insurance salesmen, most with barely a month’s military training by U.S. World War II veterans, gave these Russian-trained Castroite imbeciles a thrashing that rivals the Redcoats’ thrashing at the Battle of New Orleans by Andy Jackson’s raggedy bunch.
Robert Reynolds,was also at this "conference" He served as CIA chief of the Miami base (the largest CIA station in the world) from September 1960 to October 1961, and earlier, from March-September 1960, had served as the CIA’s Caribbean desk chief monitoring the Cuban revolution.
"Me and all my staff were all Fidelistas!" these news stories all report a smiling, back-slapping Reynolds telling Castro.
Hah-ha, Mr Reynolds! Millions of enslaved Cubans--not to mention the families of the slaughtered freedom-fighters--find your admission while palling around with Fidel, quite amusing!