Sunday, August 8, 2010
The location on Cuba’s south coast for an ill-fated invasion by émigrés in April 1960. It was planned and authorized originally by the Eisenhower administration as a dawn landing by 1,200 troops near Trinidad with full air support. After John F. Kennedy was elected president, he and his brother Robert insisted on radical changes to the original proposal, moving the location to the Bahía de Cochinos, a swampy area 80 miles from Trinidad. They also cut the air cover and demanded a night landing in an attempt to distance the United States from complicity. The invasion proved a disaster and Fidel Castro’s forces counterattacked with tanks, killing 114 and capturing 1,189, who were held as hostages in appalling conditions until the U.S. government could negotiate their release. Code-named Operation ZAPATA, the invasion was not the subject of any congressional inquiry, although the dismissal of the director of central intelligence, Allen Dulles, conveyed the erroneous impression that the project had not been fully approved by the White House.