tagged w/ Brigade 2506
HAVANA, Cuba, April 18: By Miguel Iturria Savón - Two extraordinary and conflicting events pepper the history of Cuba in the second half of the twentieth century. The first occurred between 17 and 19 April 1961 in the Bay of Pigs, in the south of the island. The second, from April 22 to the 16th of September between the northern port of Mariel and Florida. They were both led by Cubans, but both the 1961 invasion brigade and the mass exodus of 1980, dot the island's bilateral relations with the United States - the refuge used by many in Cuban history as a supply center for our independence of the nineteenth century, and by opponents of the dictatorships of Geraldo Machado, Fulgencio Batista and Castro in the twentieth.
Much has been written about these events to the north and south of Florida. Hundreds of articles, interviews, testimonies, books, documentaries and other media support the communist government's version, the victors of the battle at Playa Giron over the brigade of compatriot exiles trained abroad. The version of the vanquished was, of course, suffocated by the revolutionary fetishism, and is hardly known.
Official propaganda reiterates that Giron (as it is known in Cuba), "was the first defeat of imperialism in Latin America ", which is a distortion, because although the Cuban expedition had the support of the United States government, no American troops took part in the naval operation. The fighters of Brigade 2506, like the guerrillas they were trying to link up with in the Escambray mountains, were fighting against the dictatorship that had taken control of the island after the revolutionary chaos.
The Cubans were less free after the Bay of Pigs. A day earlier, on April 16, 1961 - Fidel Castro declared the socialist character of the revolution. The island was subsequently occupied by thousands of Russian soldiers whose bases were maintained until the mid-eighties. The rest of the story goes through half a century of dictatorship, populist clamor, corruption and the legacy of silence.
The flip side to this was the mass exodus from Mariel and Florida, a popular referendum against authoritarianism. Twenty years of repression, rhetorical contortions, shortages filled with boredom and disappointment to thousands of youths who dreamed of living without instructions.
After the bus that forced the gates of the Embassy of Peru in La Habana, into the embassy entered the flood of the unhappy. To withdraw security to the embassy, the government created the chaos and encouraged the arrival of American vessels to pick up relatives and other "scum." In less than five months left 125,000 people fled to the United States.
Faced with this surge, the leader ordered rallies of repudiation, the throwing of eggs and stones against dissidents, and the introduction of more than three thousand madmen and criminals into the boats of hope in an attempt to destroy the reputation of those who left. Three decades later, the horror and defamation against those who choose another destination remains an official practice.
Accustomed to reliving the past - evoking attacks, revolutionary symbols and involving third parties in the national struggle, the Cuban regime celebrated its victory with another celebration of the Bay of Pigs and the socialist character of the revolution, while its strategists shuffle policies to prevent another mass exodus like the one that created the sea-bridge between Mariel and Florida in the spring of 1980; where bridging the gap between Mariel and Florida represented a leap to freedom.HAVANA, Cuba, April 18: By Miguel Iturria Savón - Two extraordinary and... more