U.S., Cuba, and The Bay of Pigs Essay

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Operation Zapata, or as it is more commonly known, the Bay of Pigs, was the failed invasion of Cuba by U.S. supported Cuban exiles. This was in response to military dictator, Fidel Castro’s military coup of Cuba in 1959. As Castro began to rapidly align his regime with the Soviet Union, the U.S. government felt compelled to interdict.

In 1959, Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba during an armed revolt against then dictator Fulgencio Batista. The US government was apprehensive of his relationship with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and subsequent communist actions. After one year from seizing power, Castro expropriated $1 Billion in U.S. assets by nationalizing all U.S. owned businesses, including factories, casinos,
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The initial decision to invade Cuba was made in March of 1960. President Eisenhower secretly approved a budget of 13 million dollars to fund the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) led training of a rebel Cuban force to overthrow the Castro regime. It was specified at this time that no U.S. military personnel were to be used in a combat status.3 This however was near the end of Eisenhower’s presidential term and he did not have time to see the plan to fruition. The CIA briefed newly elected President Kennedy shortly before taking office in January of 1961.4 Kennedy agreed with the CIA’s threat assessment and continued the presidential support for the invasion of Cuba. While the CIA was supporting a Cuban led invasion, the hawks in the President’s cabinet were entertaining the idea of a full U.S. military invasion.
One of the presidential advisors, General David M. Shoup, then commandant of the Marine Corps, created a remarkable visual aid in response to this thinking. First he took an overlay of Cuba and placed it over the United States. It was surprising for the politicians and cabinet members who viewed Cuba’s almost 800 mile width put into context. He then took another overlay with a red dot and placed it over the map of Cuba. He explained that the red dot represented the pacific island of Tarawa Atoll. Tarawa was the first American Offensive in the pacific region of WWII. General Shoup
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