The other Bay of Pigs story

(My new American Thinker post)

Fifty-five years ago, my parents and lots of other Cubans woke up to “la invasion,” or the invasion that most of us expected and were ready for.  There were groups in Cuba who had been fighting Castro, from sabotage to confronting the regime block by block.

This is about The Bay of Pigs, an event that most people have forgotten unless you’re a Cuban of my parents’ generation or someone like them who was impacted by it.

The plans for the invasion were passed on to new president Kennedy by the outgoing Eisenhower administration.

The men who invaded Cuba were primarily refugees trained by the CIA in Nicaragua.

They adopted the name of Brigade 2506 in honor of a member killed accidentally during training exercises.

The veterans of the brigade have a museum in Miami, a reminder to the young about the men who were willing to fight and remove communism from the island.

The politically correct explanation is that the invasion failed because Cubans did not rise up against Castro.  Actually, it failed because the total plan was never carried out, and the men were left stranded, as Michael Sullivan wrote:

The invasion force, with four supply ships, landed at dawn, with a strength of 1,400 men. Initially things looked promising, American planes struck at Cuban air force bases and destroyed Cuban planes on the ground.
However, the tide quickly turned on the insurgents.
President Kennedy, anxious to cover up America’s role, inexplicably called off all American air support, leaving the rebels stranded on the beach.
Cuban army and militia units, organized by Castro himself, swarmed the invasion site to block the rebels from gaining the interior of the island.
The Cuban Air Force rallied to strafe the landing site and the supply ships moored in the bay.
One ship sank and the remaining three barely made it out to sea.
Without resupply or air support, the men of 2506 Assault Brigade managed to hold out for two days, until nearly all were either killed or captured by pro-Castro forces. When the smoke cleared, 114 died and 1,189 languished in Cuban prisons.
There they remained for 22 months, until the Kennedy administration paid more than $50 million in food, medicine and cash for their release.
The accusations flew around Washington, as well as Havana, in the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs and an administration struggled to retain its credibility.

It was a bad day, and many Cubans were thrown in jail after that.

It was a worse day for the credibility of the Kennedy administration.  He was confronted by Mr. Khrushchev in Vienna and challenged in Southeast Asia.  He left Vienna a very frustrated man after being pushed around by the Soviet leader, as Frederick Kempe wrote:

As he drove away from the Soviet embassy with Secretary of State Dean Rusk in his black limo, Kennedy banged the flat of his hand against the shelf beneath the rear window. Rusk had been shocked that Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev had used the word “war” during their acrimonious exchange about Berlin’s future, a term diplomats invariably replaced with any number of less alarming synonyms.
Despite all the president’s pre-summit briefings, Rusk felt Kennedy had been unprepared for Khrushchev’s brutality. The extent of Vienna Summit’s failure would not be as easy to measure as the Bay of Pigs fiasco six weeks earlier. There would be no dead, CIA-supported exile combatants in a misbegotten landing area, who had risked their lives on the expectation that Kennedy and the United States would not abandon them.
However, the consequences could have be even bloodier. A little more than two months after Vienna, the Soviet would oversee the construction of the Berlin Wall. That, in turn, would be followed in October 1962 by the Cuban Missile Crisis. Already in Vienna Kennedy was distraught that Khrushchev, assuming that he was weak and indecisive, might engage in the sort of “miscalculation” that could lead to the threat of nuclear war.  He didn’t know then that his prediction would become prophesy.

Over the years, I have personally spoken to many of the veterans of Brigade 2506.  Like my parents, they started their new lives in the U.S., and many served in the U.S. military.  Every one of them tells me the mission would have succeeded if the plan had been carried out.

The lesson of The Bay of Pigs is simple.  Presidential weakness, and confusion, has consequences way beyond the event in question.

God bless the men of Brigade 2506.  They are heroes in my book.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Cuban state media goes after our first black president



(My new American Thinker post)

President Teddy Roosevelt once told a campaign audience that weakness invites contempt. Let’s just say that those words apply to our new friend Raul Castro, who keeps going out of his way to show the world that it was President Obama not him who really wanted to do the wave at the baseball game.

First, Raul Castro skipped President Obama’s arrival. We heard all week that it was the first presidential visit to Cuba since President Coolidge. Historic? I guess that Raul didn’t get the memo or doesn’t care about history.

Second, Raul Castro watched  the president of the U.S. praise his education and health care system. Incredibly, President Obama read the regime’s talking points from A to Z. What was the point of President Obama doing this?

Third, Fidel Castro jumped into the act and wrote an op-ed in the state media blasting President Obama. Let’s call that column: “Don’t meddle in Cuba” or I will shoot one of those Soviet missiles against your plane like I did in the missile crisis!

Finally, the state-run media (La Tribuna de la Habana) hit one right over the Rays’ centerfielder head with an attack on President Obama that would have a lot of Democrats screaming “racista“:

The Havana Tribune, a state-controlled Cuban newspaper, has added insult to injury following Fidel Castro’s scathing criticism of President Barack Obama upon his departure from the island. In an editorial, the title of which refers to President Obama as “negro,” an opinion columnist has accused him of “inciting rebellion.”

The article is titled “Negro, ¿Tu Eres Sueco?” which roughly translates to “Black Man, Are You Dumb?” (The idiom “pretend to be a Swede” means to play dumb, hence the title is literally asking, “Are you Swedish?”) The author, who is black, goes on to condemn President Obama for meeting with Cuban pro-democracy activists and “subtly” suggesting that the Cuban Revolution needed to change. “Obama came, saw, but unfortunately, with the pretend gesture of lending a hand, tried to conquer,” Elias Argudín writes.

“[Obama] chose to criticize and subtly suggest… incitations to rebellion and disorder, without caring that he was on foreign ground. Without a doubt, Obama overplayed his hand,” he continues. “The least I can say is, Virulo-style: ‘Negro, are you dumb?’”

Virulo is a white pro-Revolution comedian.

I would add a couple of things:

1) The slang “negro tu eres sueco” is a clear suggestion that Obama is not black. What skin color are Swedish people? I would translate it to the Cuban equivalent of calling Obama an Oreo cookie, i.e. black outside and white inside; and,

2) No one takes a cheap shot like that against President Obama without the editorial consent of Fidel or Raul Castro. This is the worst thing that I’ve heard about a U.S. president in years, especially the one that they negotiated with.

So what’s going on?

Maybe Fidel Castro was angry that President Obama did not salute him and he pulled a few strings at the state-run media.

Maybe Raul Castro is showing Cubans, and the Latin American left, that he is the one in charge.

Time will tell, but one thing is clear to me. We can add Raul Castro to the growing list of world leaders who have zero respect for President Obama.

“Hope and change” took a fastball between the eyes this week!

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Is ““Negro, ¿tú eres sueco?” like calling Obama an “Oreo cookie”?

We know that calling an African American an “Oreo cookie” is rather insulting.  It means that a black man is black outside but white inside!

So what do you think of an article in the Cuban media calling Obama”   “Negro, ¿tú eres sueco?”?

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz, the editor of the wonderful Fausta’s Blog, was on my show Wednesday night and read from this article.

We understand that the article was removed from the website (“La tribuna de la Habana“).

Check Fausta’s blog for updates.

In the meantime, where is Black Lives Matter and the Black Congressional Caucus when we really need them?   The Cuban media attacks our first black president with “a slur” & the same government detains black dissidents.

A couple of quick thoughts about BO & Raul in Cuba today