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tv   Reel America Cuba Bay of Pigs - 1964  CSPAN  July 7, 2021 10:04pm-10:35pm EDT

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nbc white paper, this encyclopedia potomac edited classroom version of the report tells the story of the field april 17th to 19th 1961 invasion. the documentary traces a diplomatic script between the u.s. and cuba, describes exiled groups supposed to the castro government. the cia's role in helping to train, equip and organize an invasion force. president kennedy's decision not to deploy the u.s. military when the planned falters. >> 8:17 pm. the bay of pigs. . [speaking spanish] and the years since he took
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power, fidel castro has become an enemy of the united states. in the hires of washington and throughout the united states security, a plan of action against it has drawn up. march 17th, 1960, cia chief alan dulles is told secretly to organize a cuban exile force. he is not told how the force is to be used. he is only told to get it ready. in miami, recruiting for an exile army has begun. the operation is supposed to be secret, but word of what is happening quickly leaks out. six weeks after the secret meeting at the white house, fidel castro has publicly charged that the united states is training in army to invade cuba.
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meanwhile in miami, there are 50 exile groups of every political from former supporters of bautista to former supporters of castro. they have only one thing in common, they want to overthrow fidel. the cia's problem is to find a way to unify them. [speaking spanish] the people of cuba will overthrow castro, because normally it is the people who are the ones who overthrow the leadership. the announcement of a formation of the french made does not received expected attention. to sum of 1960 is a bad time for the united states. other events occupy the headlines. a u2 was shot down over the soviet union. khrushchev is wrecking the summit conference. it is at this moment that the soviet tankers slips quietly into the havana harbor,
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carrying a cargo of crude oil that will set off a chain reaction. castro orders texaco, shell nso plants in cuba to refine the soviet oil. they refuse, and castro ceases the refineries. he offers no reparation. over angry cuban protests, the united states retaliates by cutting off its imports of cuban sugar. castro seizes more united states property. now, in the summer of 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 national interest to get rid of fidel castro. at this moment in guatemala, a cuban exile army is being created by the cia. a cuban exile air force with the 26 bombers --
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b 26 bombers. they are the instruments which the cia plans to overthrow fidel castro. havana, summer 1960. fidel castro admits publicly for the first time there is unrest inside cuba. counter revolutionary activity. among his opponents now is his former minister of public works, manuel wry, leader of the marquee. >> he markey was highly organized and well extended over the whole country. our organization reached almost every section of cuban life. civic institutions, professional organizations, labor youth, the militia. the army. and we have people inside of fidel castro's pockets.
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>> the mri operates in the cities. it's an underground movement specializing in sabotage. [noise] in the escambia mountains, is another anti-castro force, the gorillas. and september, 1960, it has become a serious threat to fidel castro. he comes to the escambia high to take personal command of the military operation, but resistance continues late in september. [noise] late in september, castro leaves the afghan brian comes to new york. he is an uninvited guest. he will attend the un general assembly. [applause] while he is in new york, he sees his new ally, nikki to khrushchev.
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fidel! fidel! the data september 26th, 1960. castro will tell the general assembly, the united states is seeking to overthrow him. he is training in army to invade his country. he is interfering in cuba's internal affairs. >> a few weeks later, the democratic candidate for president is in new york campaigning. he issues a statement in which he says the united states is not doing enough for the cuban exiles. he says the united states ought to help them. and their television debate, vice president nixon disagrees. i >> i don't know what senator kennedy suggests when he says that we should help those who oppose the castro regime both in cuba and without, but i do know that if we were to follow that recommendation, that we would lose all of our friends
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in latin america, we would probably be condemned by the united nations, and we would not accomplish our job to. i know something else, it would be an open invitation for mr. khrushchev to come in. >> as the votes are counted on november 8th, it is clear that a key issue has been, who knows best how to handle castro? it is the closest presidential election in the united states history. >> we finally emerged successfully. now, as far as the next program, i've went to the country with very clear views of where the united states ought to do. i have been elected and therefore, i'm going to do my best to implement those views. >> even as the president-elect speaks in guatemala, the force that he is called for in his campaign, the force that nixon has denied exists, that eisenhower has created, that castro has denounced, is getting trained and ready. >> in cuba meanwhile, castro is ending trying to destroy the
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gorillas. now, cut off from arms and supplies. >> thousands of fidel's militiamen began an offensive against us. they moved out the farmers, kill the cows, pigs and chickens, cut down the fruit trees, burned the houses, took away the food. and view of this and the lack of help, we have to flee the island. >> the revolt is crushed. castro has eliminated one threat of his survival. as 1960 ends, he goes on television to warn the cuban people about another. he says the united states is preparing to invade cuba. the invasion will come before eisenhower leaves office. . he calls for a general mobilization. the united states and cuba break diplomatic relations. tension mounts. the moments of armed
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confrontation between cuba and the united states is near. january 28th, 1961. >> so let us begin a new, remembering on both sides that stability is not a sign of weakness, and sincerely is always subject to proof. let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us fear to the negotiate for a moment. >> there is a breathing spell in relations between the united states and cuba. a break in the tension that has been mounting for six months. in havana, the militia is emo the mobilized. they are sent back to the fields. the leaders trying them to harvest the crops. but in washington, cuba has not been forgotten. in his campaign, the new
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president has promised to do something about cuba. now, he must decide what to do. but his advisers are new, and inexperienced. he must rely on the professional. one military advice on general, and the joint chiefs, on the cia, which is handling with cuban problems. political and military aspects as well as intelligence. >> cia director, alan douglas briefed the president on the job in situation. he told the presidents the details of the innovation plan known by the operation trudeau. that time, that landing was named trinidad 100 miles east of the east bay of pigs. the united states will supplier cover. as time went, on both these parts of the plan were to be changed both with the approval and the acquiescence of the cia and the pentagon. but at this point, tell us simply wanted the okay from the president to continue preparations, and he got it. from the state, on operation
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pluto gets tough parity from the cia. the cia with human exiles, agree on a single lead. they want the united states help. the cubans choose dr. jose miro once castro's prime minister, he has remained neutral in the power struggle among the exiled leaders. now, he comes to new york. he comes to the anti-castro cuba. >> it is first conference the doctor speaks for the first time as president of the new revolutionary council. >> a united cuba. , a real cuba, the cuba of jose marti. >> now cubans are united, they've joined the new coalition reluctantly, they don't like the way that the cia is complimenting -- and they rightly assume that the united states participation ensures the operation success.
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they don't want to be left out of any new cuban government. at this moment in the washington presidency, the president is under heavy pressure, being pressed to acadian vision plant. a major source of this pressure is cia reports on what is happening inside cuba. >> we knew that the cuban pilots were being trained in czechoslovakia. we knew that they were going to have, very shortly, available under cuban direction, weapons in considerable numbers. and i'm inclined to think as i've said before, we'd have a mover to be made short of intervention, probably this was an area of time that had to be made. >> another source of pressure is guatemala. unrest is growing their. the communists from the army are demanding the removal of the brigade. but the government feels threatened. the president has not yet made
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up his mind. go ahead with the invasion, or cancel it. on april 4th, a decisive meeting was held. obviously, nothing official has ever been said about it, but from this perspective, certain facts are now apparent. on april 4th this ei a urges the president to go ahead with the invasion. the joint chiefs agree. if the cia estimate is correct, if the brigade has control of the year, only the senate foreign relations chairman speaks out against the invasion. he tells the president privately, it is immoral, a mistake. it will fail. the decision can no longer be delayed. the presidents expert have told him to go ahead. and his staff has not argued against him. the decision is now his, alone. he makes up his mind early on the morning of april 5th, 1961. operation pluto, the invasion
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of cuba, is approved. miami, the first week of april 19th 61, invasion a fever is rising among the cuban exiles. everyone seems to know the invasion is coming soon. volunteers pour into exile headquarters. the churches are filled. prayers are said for the men of the brigade. april 10th, in guatemala, c 46 -- the begin the move to move the brigade out of the camp. destination, nicaragua. at this moment doctor miro and the revolutionary council are in the country 2000 miles away. in the hotels, they don't know what is happening. no one tells them. behind the scenes there is still deeply divided over how to defeat castro. on april 12th, the president
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holds a press conference. >> as a decision has been reached on how far this country would be willing to go in helping and anti-castro uprising in cuba? >> first, i want to say that this will not be under any condition be an intervention in cuba by the united states armed forces. this government will do everything it possibly can, and i think it will meet its responsibilities to make sure that there are no americans involved in any of the actions inside cuba. >> preparations for the invasion continue. from texas, the united states face off in the photographs on the airfield. the united states naval passport switched to see for caribbean maneuvers schedule for the next week. united states marines are in transport at sea and are taking part in the maneuvers. april 13th, at puerto cabezas,
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nicaragua, the exile invasion fleet is loading. have anna, don, bombers of the saturday, april 15th. he would exile air force attack castro. [noise] the un, saturday morning >> i have been asked by aggression carried out a dawn against the territorial integrity and political independence of cuba. the responsibility of this act of imperialistic eritrean,
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falls squarely on the united states of america. >> dr. roa has made a number of charges without any foundation. i reject them categorically, and ash like to make several points quite clear to the committee. regarding the two aircrafts which landed in florida today, they were piloted by cuban air force pilots. these pilots and certain other group members have apparently defected from castro's forces. no united states personnel participated, or airplanes of any kind from the u.s. government participated. the two planes to the best of our knowledge where their own air force planes, and according to the pilots, they took off from castro's own airfields. i have here a picture it has the markings of the castro
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airport right on the tail, which everyone can see for themselves. >> one of the plains is out of miami airfield is identified as a b 26 attached to the exiled cuban brigade. castro's b 26 is have no knows guns. the pilot is identified from a newspaper picture as a member of the brigade, the air strike he took part in was intended to destroy castro's air force. more are planned. two castro planes have been dealt a serious blow, but his entire air force has not been destroyed. the crucial fact is, three jet trainers are untouched. >> the official united states propaganda -- >> the air strike has accumulated the united states before the world. it has humiliated adelaide stevenson who did not know that what he told the un was not the truth. >> the united states react to
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the world outcry against the bombing, the other two airstrikes are postponed. this decision leaves castro with three undamaged jets. these jets will be the key to the failure of the invasion. sunday, april 15th. the exiled leaders do not know the invasion fleet is already at sea. >> [speaking spanish] [interpreter] awaiting me at the steps of the plane that brought me for miami were to people who identified themselves as officials of the american agencies. they took me to a private room and initiate while, the other leaders of the revolutionary council arrived. from there, we entered two cars and were driven to philadelphia where we took an immigration department plane. >> we arrived at an unoccupied airport somewhere in florida. at that moment, we didn't know
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which airport it was. we were taken to a house and armed guards were placed around us. >> for the next 48 hours, the cuban exiled leaders will be kept under guard in florida in this home. while 90 miles away, and invasion is being carried out in their names. don, monday, april 17th. bay of pigs, cuba. the first minutes of the brigade reached the beach without opposition. among them is humberto diaz, of the second battalion company. >> this is the way that the invasion began. three men went forward as observers to look for militiamen. suddenly they found to. they said stop. the militiamen answered, stop. then the soldier yelled, from the rear, we are the army of a
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liberation. we came to fight communism! the militiaman answered, long live fidel castro, and the shooting began. >> you are looking at film shot on the invasion beach by german and cuban cameras. [noise] [noise] in havana as the morning goes on, castro begins to react to the invasion. those who can be trusted our armed. [inaudible] castro takes personal command. the roads out of havana are clogged with troops moving up to the invasion beach.
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but in the first hours the brigade pushes in. castro has not yet been able to bring up his tanks. the first communiqué of the brigade issued by madison avenue public relations office, reports satisfactory progress. over the beach are 12 b 26 is providing air cover. shortly after dawn they are attacked by the castro jets that survived the previous air strikes. five of them are shut down. the brigade and it's to supply ships and communication ships are sunk. within a few minutes, the men on the beach have lost their air cover and their supplies. now, castro can bring up his tanks without fear of air attack. and he can bring up thousands of his militia. by afternoon, castro is
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pressing the brigade hard. how are they to survive? where are they to get health? expected to come up 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 on the beach take a terrible pounding. they wait for help, none comes. they say they have been promised air support by their american advisers. washington says that none was ever promised. only one thing is clear, the brigade is being driven into the sea. it's only hope of survival is united states military intervention. on tuesday night, there is a reception at the white house who introduce congress to the new cabinet. leaders of both parties are there. next day, the society 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. cia deputy director richard basil had gone to the president with a desperate last-minute appeal. he knew that the president had said that there would be no intervention. , but he now said that the debate was doomed unless the united states intervened, at least with their cover but the navy task force that was standing off of the beach. admiral burke, speaking for the pentagon, favored the intervention. but a secretary of state rock opposed it. the risk, he said, it was too great. if we now openly to intervene, we would probably endanger our entire latin american position, and it would be an invitation to khrushchev to step in. the president said he would make his decision within the next few hours. >> at dawn, the president makes his decision. later retails it to the members of the revolutionary council, who have been flown in from florida. >> [speaking spanish] [interpreter] president kennedy was very firm, he refused three times,
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mexicans shooting cubans, no, no, no. the president was very upset, he wanted to explain to us why he had allowed the invasion to take place after he had decided against u.s. military support. he told us that on the day of april 13th, he sent a message to the project chief watching the brigade to get ready to sail for cuba and he asked this man whose name was jack haskins if he still felt the brigade could win by fighting alone. president kennedy showed us a copy of the reply signed by jack haskins. this document informed the president that they brigade could and the president look very angrily -- and he showed us that he had relied on such advice and making the decision to send abrogate to cuba. >> on the beach of the bay of
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pigs, fighting continues. the brigade has no food, almost nomination. no -- from within cuba are from outside. at 3:45 pm, wednesday april 19th, resistance ends. all those who are not killed are taken prisoners. . and less than 72 hours, castro has guard the brigade. the american plan a trained and backed invasion of cuba and is now a total failure. the failure of the bay of pigs was not merely the failure of the cuban exiles, i was a failure of united states policy, which led to a failure of the united states power. clearly, the united states had the naked power to destroy
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castro, but it could not ignore world opinion and use this power. i could not risk the repercussions that might follow the slaughter of cuba, and the occupation of cuba by united states forces. cannot risk the possible escalation of nuclear war. an alternative suggested itself was in direct intervention. carried out secretly under cia supervision. the cia solution was consoled military operation. it ignored, for the most part, he underground inside cuba, which could not be controlled. left-wing, former capitol supporters considered politically unreliable or shut off from participation. no real effort was made to bring about an uprising of the cuban people. the divided and cuban exile leaders were about to be on and dependable and on real console was taken out of their hands. the cia put it safe in the brigade, small, politically
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reliable and controlled by united states. an attempt was made to use the brigade and the cubans of an instrument of the united states policy. the tactics were venomous and, the united states -- by, fidel castro did not collapse at the first sign of opposition as many take that in the past. as a result, the cuban exiled brigade was destroyed on the beach, cuban ex out leaders were held in cia custody and the united states task force comfortably. this was probably the low point, the worst moment for john f. kennedy in the three years in the white house. as president, he took full responsibility for the failure of the united states policy. this misuse of the united states power. although the total blame was clearly not his.
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60 years ago on april 17th, 1961, exiled forces backed by the cia mounted a failed invasion at cuba's bay of pigs. next, on real america. a compilation of universal news reels from the january 1959 cuban revolution. through the end of april, 1961. the

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