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tv   Reel America Cuba Bay of Pigs - 1964  CSPAN  April 23, 2021 7:01pm-7:32pm EDT

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you have to involve your analysts. the ones who are most experts on a particular region and that was put into effect by dulles is successor. at the cia. dulles was required to resign. and they make sure the best experts and the analysts would be involved so they could help operational planners know what is the ground and where the ground troops? >> you just brought up the fact that castro had retired ahead of the communist party and leader in cuba since the bay of pigs invasion, are we still living with the consequences of the bay of pigs invasion? nicholas: oh, yes. every time the united >> are we still living with the consequences of the bay of pigs and visions? >> oh yes. every time the united states
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intervenes in the country we generally forget it. we are not all that historically minded. perhaps some ncaa will still remember it. one of my jobs as a cia historian was to ensure that the cia did not forget certain things. but when we intervene in foreign countries they never forget. cuba and of the cuban leadership will remind us always that we had attempted this bundled operation to place the government there. >> let's talk to bill calling from delaware. bill, good morning. >> good morning. i just want it to say that 60 years ago living with my family in northern virginia, my father woke me up and said hey, get up. you're not going to school today.
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something is going on. he will nicest her up. he took us to the living room. he sat us down. we had a big old radio. he had the shortwave band that was being used by the cubans brigade to communicate back and forth. we were actually listening to them talking on their radios during the invasion and subsequent to it. basically, it was a horrible disaster of course. my father identified voices on the radio saying i know this guy. that's pepe, one of the leaders. one of the things pepe said in spanish was that -- i've got one bullet left. we've run out of ammunition.
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america never backed us up. i don't know what to do with this last bullet. i'm standing in the water out here up to my waist. should i shoot it at one of the cubans coming down towards us or should i use it on myself? >> please respond real quick, nicholas. >> certainly he is referring to pepe the brigade commander who used that last bullet to destroy his radio. it was a frantic plea for help. shortly after that they were completely out of ammunition with the capture. >> any lessons we could take today from the failed bay of pigs invasion? >> yes. when we are talking about covert actions that involve paramilitary activities, the president, the national security council and cia leadership need to really work through the assumptions behind
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it. the wet ifs. the problem with the bay of pigs is that every single part of it had to work perfectly for any of it to be successful. that is not the way to run a covert action. more limited in scope if we are going to do it at all. there is still a debate on whether the u.s. military should do covert action of this type and leave the influence activities to the cia. >> we would like to thank nicholas dujmovic, a chief historian and intelligence study program director at catholic university for being with us here this morning. thank you, nicholas. >> thank you. it's been a pleasure. >> weeknights this month we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span 3. tonight, an evening of programs on baseball including historian
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david talking about the 1919 world series fixed by members of the chicago black socks which came to know as the black sock scandal. it also goes in-depth about how film betrayals show public perceptions of what happened. watch tonight beginning at 8 pm eastern and enjoy american history tv every weekend on c-span 3. originally broadcast isn't in
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bc -- this encyclopedia britannica edited classroom version of the report tells the story of the failed april 17th to the 19th, 1961 invasion. the documentary traces the diplomatic split between the u.s. and cuba describing exile groups opposed to the government. the cia helping to equip, train and organize an invasion force and president kennedy's decision not to deploy the u.s. military when the plan falters. >> the bay of pigs. [speaking spanish] in the year since he took power, fidel castro had become an enemy of the united states. in the eyes of washington a
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threat to the united states -- a plan of action against him has gone up. march 17th, 1960. the cia chief alan is told secretly organize a cuban exile force. he is not told how the force is to be used. he is only told get it ready. in miami, recruiting army has begun. the operation is supposed to be a secret, but word of what is happening quickly leaks out. six weeks after the secret meeting of the white house, fidel castro has probably said that the united states is training an army to invade cuba. meanwhile in miami, there are
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50 exile groups of every political hue from former supporters of batista and former supporters of castro. they only have one thing in common. they want to overthrow fidel. the cia's problem is to find a way to unify them. [speaking spanish] >> -- dictatorship. >> the announcement of the formation did not receive the expected attention. the summer of 1960 was a bad time for the united states. other events occupied headlines. are you to a shop down over the soviet union. -- the president of the united states -- wrecking -- . it is that this moment that the soviet tanker went quietly into the havana harbor carrying
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crude oil that will set off a chain reaction. castro orders texaco, shell and petro plans from cuba to reply to soviet oil. they refuse and castro seizes the refineries. he offers no reparation. all the angry -- the united states retaliate by cutting off its imports of cuban -- castro seizes more united states property. now in the summer 1960 the united states and cuba have reached the point of no return. in washington the eisenhower administration is now convinced it is in the united states interest to get rid of fidel castro. at this moment and guatemala, a cuban exile army is being created by the cia. a cuban exile air force with bombers. they are the incidents with
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which the cia plans to overthrow castro. >> havana the summer of 1960. fidel castro admits publicly for the first time, there is unrest inside of cuba. counter revolutionary activity. among his opponents now is his former minister of public works. >> the am our p was highly organized over the whole country. we've reached almost every section of cuba cuban life. professional organizations, labor unions, the militia, the army and we have people inside of fidel castro's house. >> it's an underground movement
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specializing in sabotage. in the mountains is another anti-castro force, the gorillas. in september of 1960, it has become a serious threat to fidel castro. he comes through to take personal command of a military operation. but resistance continues. late in september, castro leaves the -- incomes to new york. he is an uninvited guest. he attends the un national assembly. while he is in new york, he sees his ally hikita khrushchev. the date is september 26, 1960.
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castro will tell the general assembly, the united states is seeking to overthrow him. they are creating an army to invade his country. they are interfering in cuba's internal affairs. >> a few weeks later the democratic candidate for president is in new york campaigning. he issues a statement, what he says the united states is not doing enough for the cuban exiles. the united states ought to help them he says. in a television debate vice president nixon disagrees. >> i don't know what senator kennedy suggest when he says we should help those who oppose the castro regime. both in cuba and without. but i do know this, if we were to follow that recommendation, that we would lose all of our friends in latin america, and we would probably be condemned in the united nations, and we
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would not accomplish our objectives. i know something else, it would be an open invitation for mr. christian have to come in. >> as the votes are counted on november 8th, it is clear the key issue has been who knows best how to handle castro? it is the closest presidential election in the united states history. >> we finally emerge successfully, now as far as the program i went to the country with a clear view of what united states is going to do in cuba. i have been elected, and i'm going to do my best to execute those views. >> even as the president elect speaks, the force that nixon denies exist, that eisenhower has created, that castro has denounced, is getting ready. in cuba meanwhile castor was sending his best routes to destroy the gorillas. they are cut off of farms and
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supplies. >> thousands of militiamen began an offensive against us. they moved out the farmers, killed the cows, the pigs and the chickens. cut down the fruit trees, we're in the houses. took away the food and in view of this, and a lack of help, we had to flee the island. >> revolt is crushed, castro has eliminated one threat. as 1960 ends he goes on television and warning the cuban people about another threat. he said the united states is preparing to invade cuba. the invasion will come before eisenhower leaves office. he calls for event a general mobilization. the united states and cuba break diplomatic relations. tensions mount. a moment of armed confrontation between cuba and the united
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states is near. january 20th, 1961. >> so let us begin a new, remembering on both sides that stability is not a sign of -- and sincerity is always subject to prudence. let us never negotiate out of freedom. but let us never see it negotiated. >> for a moment there's a breathing moment between the relations between united states and cuba. a break in the tension that has been mounting for six months. in havana, the militia is deep mobilized. they are sent back to the field. the leaders join these departments of -- . in washington, cuba has not been forgotten. in his campaign the new president has promised to do something about cuba. now he much must decide what to
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do. but his advisers are new and inexperienced. he must rely on the professionals, for military advice. political and military aspects as well as intelligence. cia director, allen dulles break the president on the situation. he said the operational by the code name operation pluto, it was on the east coast 100 miles from the bay of pigs. the united states were to fly air cover. as time went on both these parts of the plan were to be changed with the approval or at least the acquiescence of the cia in the pentagon. but at this point they just wanted ok from the president to continue preparations. he got it. >> from this day on, operation pluto gets priority from the
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cia. the cia tells the cuban exiles, to agree on a single leader. with the united states help. the cubans choose doctor jose -- . and he has remained neutral and is admired among the exiles. >> at his press conference the doctor speaks for the first time as president of the new revolutionary policy. >> are you in cuba? >> are we cuba? >> now the cubans are united. the em rpg has joined the new coalition reluctantly. they don't like the way the cia is dominating it, but they assume the united states participation assures the operation success. they don't want to be left out from this new cuban government. and the cuban leaders have not
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reached an understanding with cia. washington is under heavy pressure. they have oked he wouldn't plan. there is a report on what is happening inside of cuba. >> we knew that the cuban pilots were being trained in czechoslovakia. they were available under cuban makes. i'm inclined to think, as i said before if a move to be made short of an intervention, this is an area of -- that had to be made. >> another source of pressure, is the guatemalans. unrest was growing their. the communists and the army are demanding the removal of them from the camps. the government feels threatened. the president has not yet made up his mind.
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>> they speak out about it and it is moral saying that the the president is amoral will fail decision can no longer be delayed. him to go ahead. his staff has not argued against it. the decision is now his alone. he makes up his mind early on the morning of april 5th 1951.
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operation -- invasion of cuba is approved. miami, the first week of april 1961. invasion fever is rising among the cuban exiles. everyone seems to know the invasion is coming soon. volunteers for into exile headquarters. the churches are filled. prayers are said for the men of the brigade. april 10th, and guatemala planes begin to move the brigades out of the camps. destination? nicaragua. at this moment, the revolutionary -- in new york 2000 miles away. in the hotel they don't know what is happening. no one tells them. behind the scenes they are deeply divided over the hard to defeat castro. on april 12th, the president told a press conference.
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>> a decision has been reached on how far this country would be willing to go and helping us fight castro for the uprising of the invasion. >> first i want to say that there will not be under any conditions any intervention in cuba by the united states armed forces. this government will do everything it possibly can. -- responsibilities to make sure that there are no americans involved in the action besides cuba. >> preparations for the invasion continues. the plane takes off the airfield. a united states naval task force maneuver scheduled for next week. the united states marines are at sea and transport to take part in the maneuvers. april 13th in nicaragua the
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exile invasion fleet is loading. i have anna, gone, saturday april 15th. these bombers of the cuban exile air force attack castro's airfield. the un saturday morning. cuban prime minister raul rula -- >> the government of cuba to deny before this committee the aggression carried out today at dawn -- integrity and political independence of cuba. the responsibility for this act aspire tree formed squarely by the government of the united states of america.
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>> we have a number of charges -- without any foundation. i reject them categorically. i should like to make several points. regarding the two aircrafts landed in florida today, they were piloted by cuban air force pilots. these pilots uncertain other crew members have apparently -- from castro's regime. no united states personnel -- no united states airplane government and anytime -- these two planes to the best of our knowledge were cast rolls on planes, and according to the pilot state flown from castro's own field. i have pictures. it has the markings of the
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castro air force right on the tail, which everyone can see for himself. >> one of the plains is out of miami airfield. it's identified as a b 26 attached to the exiled cuban brigade. castro's b 26 us have no nose guns. the pilot is identified from a newspaper picture as a member of the brigade. the air strike he took part and it was intended to destroy castro's air force. two more are planned. castro has been dealt a serious blow, but his entire air force has not been destroyed. the crucial fact is three jet planners are untouched. >> the united states propaganda -- >> the airstrike has humiliated the united states before the world. it has humiliated mr. stevenson who did not know that what he told the un was not the truth. the united states reacts to the
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world outside against the bombing. the other two airstrikes are postponed. this decision leaves castro with three undamaged jets. these just will be of key to the failure of the invasion. sunday, april 15th, the exile leaders do not know the invasion is already at stake. >> [speaking spanish] >> awaiting me at the steps of the plane that brought me from miami, were two people who identified themselves as officials of the american agents. they took me to a private room. in a short while, the other leaders of the revolutionary council arrived. from there we entered two cars and were driven to philadelphia where we took and in immigration department -- >> somewhere in florida. at that moment we did not know
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which air force at once. we were taken to a house. unarmed guard was placed around. >> for the next 48 hours the cuban exile leaders will be kept under guard in florida in this home. while 90 miles away and invasions being carried out in their name. don, monday april 17th. the bay of pigs, cuba. the first units of the brigade reached the base. among them is mr. diaz of the second battalion. >> this is where the battle began. three men went forward as observers to look for militiamen. suddenly, they found to. they said stop. the militia men said stop. then the soldier from the rear yelled we are an army --
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we came to fight communism. the militiamen answered -- long-lived fidel castro and the shooting began. >> you are looking at film shot on the invasion beach by cuban cameron. in havana, as the morning goes on castro begins to react to the invasion. those will be armed. castro takes personal command. the roads out of havana are clogged moving up to the invasion beach.
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but in the first hours the brigade pushes and word. castro has not yet been able to bring up his tanks. the first communiqué of the brigade issued by public relations office report progress. over the beach are 12 b 26 planes providing -- shortly after dawn they are attacked by the three castro jets that survived saturday's airstrike. five of them are shot down. the brigade supply ships and its communication ships sunk. within a few minutes the men on the beach have lost their air cover and supplies. now castro can bring up his tanks. and he can bring up thousands of his militias. by afternoon castro is --
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the brigade hard. some expected to come from the underground. there is no uprising. there is no sabotage. there is no help from the underground for the brigade. for the next 48 hours the men take a terrible pounding. they wait for help. none comes. they say they have been promised their support by the americans to american advisers. washington is washington says none was ever promised. only one thing is sure the brigade is being pushed into the sea. the only hope of survival is united states military intervention. tuesday night there is a reception at the white house. introduce congress to the new cabinet. leaders of both parties are there. next day this is siding pages will call it one of the events of the season. the president leaves early, goes to another part of the white house, where he confers
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into the night with key advisers. >> the cia deputy director has come to the president with a desperate last-minute appeal. he knows the president had said there would be no intervention. but he now said the brigade was doomed unless the united states intervened at least with air cover. or the navy task force that was standing off the beach. admiral burke, favored the intervention. law but it was opposing the risks to great. and we've probably endanger our latin america position. and they would ask chris schiff to come in. the president said he would make his decision with the next few hours. >> so the president makes his decision, later he tells it to the members of the revolutionary council. >> president kennedy was very firm. he repeated three times. americ

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