Events in American Foreign Policy
The Bay of Pigs Invasion, 1961

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Fidel Castro and Nikita Khrushchev.

 

The Aftermath

 

Because of Castro's huge success in staving off the American-aided counterrevolutionary forces, he maintained his position in the Cuban government.  He put all the exiles captured during the invasion on trial, and all were sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted of treason.  The United States negotiated with Cuba over the next 20 months on behalf of the imprisoned exiles, and the Cuban government agreed to free the exiles in exchange for aid totaling $53 million in food and medicine.  But Castro feared that the US might try again to invade and take over Cuba after the events at the Bay of Pigs.  As a result, he turned to his trusted friend and ally Nikita Khrushchev for support.  Khrushchev sent Soviet nuclear warheads to Cuba in the ensuing months, and this caused a great deal of tension between the United States and Soviet Union.  By placing these weapons in Cuba, the Soviet Union prompted the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a trying time for the United States, Soviet Union, and Cuba.*1

 

On September 4, 1962, President Kennedy issued a statement regarding the new weapons arriving in Cuba.  Despite the embarassment of the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Kennedy stood firm in his denunciation of Castro and his government.  "It continues to be the policy of the United States that the Castro regime will not be allowed to export its aggressive purposes by force or the threat of force. It will be prevented by whatever means may be necessary from taking action against any part of the Western Hemisphere. The United States, in conjunction with other Hemisphere countries, will make sure that while increased Cuban armaments will be a heavy burden to the unhappy people of Cuba themselves, they will be nothing more."  Foreign relations between the US and the Soviet Union wavered as a result of the Bay of Pigs Invasion.  Neither nation believed it could let the other act without keeping a close eye on what it was doing.  The Soviets found it necessary to place nuclear weapons in Cuba because of its close location to the United States, while the US kept a constant watch on Cuban activity so that neither the US nor any other country within striking distance would be attacked.  The relations of the two powers remained tenuous at best in the years after the Bay of Pigs Invasion.  But despite the tensions resulting from the events of 1961, the United States and Soviet Union eventually solved their differences without resorting to force.

 


*References

1. Persons, Albert C.. Bay of Pigs. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 1990, p. 149.