Alberto N. Jones
April 8, 2009
For Christians worldwide, April is among the most sacred and peaceful time of the year. For those living in the city of Guantanamo in 1961, except for the missile crisis one year later, this was the most tense, dangerous and frightening time in our lifetime.
Sugarcane fields were set ablaze nightly with live phosphorous from aircraft flying out of hostile countries surrounding Cuba. Bombs went off constantly in theaters and businesses, schools were torched, bridges and factory were blown up regularly.
Middle and high school students taking part in the literacy campaign were attacked and with the peasant family hosting them, were shot or hung from trees. Freighters were blown-up in ports, fishermen were captured on the high seas, hijacked and held hostage for weeks on US or neighboring keys. Airliners were hijacked in mid flight.
White papers and pastoral letters were read on Sundays in the Catholic church, warning parishioners of loosing their parental rights, that their children would be indoctrinated, shipped-off to the Soviet Union, from where some, were already returning in form of canned beef.
The US Naval base in Guantanamo was abuzz with counterrevolutionary activities, as millions of pesos from the bourgeoisie were laundered in broad daylight. Every counterrevolutionary or ordinary crook sought by the Cuban authorities knew, they only needed to swim across the bay or jump the security chain fence into safety where food, shelter, a free airplane ride back to the United States with an I-94 document would be provided, entitling them to work, housing and healthcare.
Naval base employees and fishermen sailing through the channel were detained, tortured and murdered with impunity by military personnel. Recruiting to join counterrevolutionary groups was done openly and those enlisted , were shipped out of the base to training camps in the Everglades, Guatemala, Nicaragua or Honduras.
So assured of victory were all high ranking U.S. Civilian and the Military brass on the Naval Base, that they spoke openly to anyone about the upcoming military plans and the remaining days of the Cuban government, probably as a recruiting tool or plain supremacist arrogance.
As mass hysteria swept across Cuba because of the Voice of America, Radio Swan, Radio Netherlands, WBGY on the Naval Base and others, broadcasting 24 hours a day threatening, encoded, fear mongering news in Spanish, inciting the population to rise-up and rebel against the Cuban government, they fostered a siege mentality in most.
Incredible news such as invading forces landing in midland cities without ports, overrunning large garrisons, killing tens of Cuban soldiers, occupying townships and hangings in the public squares of government functionaries, are just some of the divisive tactics that were pumped across the nation into the people’s mind.
Around 3:00 AM on Saturday April 15, as a prelude to the Bay of Pigs invasion, ten B-26 with false markings of the Cuban Air Force, struck treacherously two Cuban Air Force bases in Havana and one in Santiago de Cuba, bombing, strafing and destroying on the tarmac the few fighter planes Cuba had; or so they thought.
The next morning and following a strong denunciation by the Cuban government, an emergency meeting of the security council of the United Nations was convened in New York. Adlai Stevenson, the US Secretary of State made the most disgraceful and deceitful statement in the history of this institution, as he presented fabricated pictures, tapes and notes, describing this revolting attack, as a mutiny of the Cuban Air Force.
Before dawn on April 17, a 1,500 strong invading force landed at the Bay of Pigs in southern Cuba, which was supported by more than twenty B-26’s, landing crafts, heavy tanks and artillery, which should have made this adventure a cake walk. In fact, the head of the CIA supervising the mercenary training camps in Guatemala, as he bid them farewell with then President of Nicaragua Anastasio Somoza, he instructed the leader of this expeditionary force that once they took the Zapata swamp, they should travel north on the highway to the Australia sugar mill, turn left on the Central Highway and give him a call when they arrived in Havana.
At 5:00 PM on April 19, the entire Brigade 2506 had been captured, wounded or killed on this beachhead. Demoralized, most pleaded innocent or declared themselves to be cooks on national TV. After approximately 2 years in prison, a deal was worked out between the U.S. and Cuban governments and they were exchanged for $50 million dollars worth of baby food, much of which went uncollected.
Ironically, this resounding political/military defeat took on a victorious, face-saving image with President John F. Kennedy presiding over a ticker-tape parade in Miami, where he promised to return the brigade flag to a free Cuba.
Since, this group have remained organized with other bellicose anti-Cuba resistance groups in south Florida, symbolizing an all-out war of attrition, democracy and free enterprise, while promising a triumphal return to Cuba every Christmas and stamping out every expression of dissent.
At the same time, the extraordinary and unmatched solidarity in health, education, military, political and moral support that Cuba have given to tens of countries in the third world and asking for nothing in return, became the most powerful weapon in the history of mankind, that have rendered useless, weapons of mass destruction, distortion, endless financial and political resources in the hands of those, bent on starving and decimating the Cuban people through disease, whose only crime was its refusal to say sorry, ask for forgiveness and go on their knees before their master.
A public recognition of Cuba’s extraordinary social commitment to those less fortunate, can be seen through constant visits of heads of states, high ranking politicians, social, cultural, scientific and business leaders from around the world, who have made Cuba an obligatory stop in their busy itinerary,
Capping this unprecedented recognition of the importance of Cuba‘s national and international role, has been the successful five-day visit of seven members of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus and as it will be seen at the upcoming V Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, in which Cuba continues to be shunned against the will of the majority of the participating nations, but as it was accurately described by Prof. Norman Girvan, Cuba will be the elephant in the room.
What a timely coincidence it could be, if the world would standup, demand on April 17-19, 2009 the end of this wicked, brutal and vicious fifty year old embargo, that have been imposed upon the people of Cuba, the same days, this monstrosity reached its climax on April 17-19, 1961