GIRON (BAY OF PIGS)
Girón, located in the Bay of Pigs, in the southern part of the Cuban province
of Matanzas, was the main landing site of the mercenary forces trained by the
United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on 17 April 1961, and the place
where they were defeated 68 hours later.
invasion plan had been approved by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who on
17 March 1960 ordered the recruitment of mercenaries of Cuban origin.
Each was offered 225 dollars monthly, plus 50 more for the first-born
child and 25 for the rest. In
total, 4,4 millions dollars were initially destined for this purpose, but this
figure was later increased multifold. Thirteen
training camps were set up, disseminated through Guatemala, Nicaragua, United
States and U.S. military bases in Puerto Rico and the Panama Canal Zone.
days after the elections, on 18 November 1960, the CIA informed
President-elect John F. Kennedy the details of the plan and he gave his
consent to continue the preparations.
15 April 1961, while the mercenary ships were sailing to Cuba escorted by
warships of the U.S. Navy, eight B-26 bombers, with the insignia of the Cuban
airforce painted on them, bombed two airforce bases and a civilian airport.
On the 16th, during the burial of the victims of this attack,
the socialist character of the Cuban Revolution was proclaimed and the combat
alert was decreed for the whole country. The
Day of the Militia Fighter is annually celebrated on this date.
01:30 hours of the 17th the landing of the so-called Brigade 2506
began. This brigade had
characteristics similar to the amphibious units of the U.S. armed forces and
consisted of 1,500 heavily armed men, including tanks and field artillery.
The mercenary airforce comprised 30 aircraft and 150 men.
Paratroopers were also dropped on the accesses to the beachhead.
Cuban troops were made up of combatants
of the Rebel Army and the National Revolutionary Police, but the bulk of this
force were volunteer militiamen with little or no combat experience.
The tank and artillery soldiers, in particular, had received the armament
only a few weeks before.
forces, personally led by Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro, did not give the
enemy a minute of truce and at 17:30 hours of 19 April, the invasion had been
totally defeated, although at a very high cost for the revolutionary fighters
and the civilian population, amounting to 176 dead, 300 wounded and 50 disabled.