And so they did--and wrote as glorious a chapter in military history and the annals of freedom as any you'd care to read.
For three days his force of mostly volunteer civilians battled savagely against a Soviet-trained and led force 10 times their size, inflicting casualties of 20 to 1. To this day their feat of arms amazes professional military men. Morale will do that to a fighting force. And there’s no morale booster like watching Fidel Castro and Che Guevara ravage your homeland and families, believe me.
When his betrayed, decimated, thirst-crazed, and ammo-less men were finally overwhelmed (but NOT defeated!) by Castro’s Soviet-led bumblers at the Bay of Pigs, Oliva snarled at his brainless eunuch of a Castroite opponent, Jose Fernandez (a Spaniard, technically): “the only reason you’re holding a gun on us right now, Fernandez, is because we ran out of ammo.”
During almost two years in Castro’s dungeons, Oliva and his men lived under a daily death sentence. Escaping that sentence would have been easy: simply sign a confession offered to them daily by their guards denouncing the U.S.--which is to say: repeating what Danny Glover, Nelson Mandela, Jeremiah Wright, etc. etc. etc. constantly snarl and bellow about the U.S.
Condidering their betrayal you might think these men has pretty good cause to sign it. But Castro got his answer from Oliva and his men as swiftly and as clearly as the Germans got theirs from Mc Auliffe and his men at The Bulge—“NUTS!”
Oliva and his men repeatedly spat on the Castroite document—convinced this defiance would doom them to death by firing-squad. “No man in Cuba is as free as a political prisoner in rebellion,” said longtime Castro political prisoner Francisco Chappi. We were tortured, we were starved. But we lived in total defiance.”
"Inside of our souls we were free,” said another Bay of Pigs freedom-fighter (also Black and today a proud U.S. citizen) named Sergio Carrillo, a paratrooper at the Bay of Pigs in 1961 and a Catholic priest in America today. Neither Oliva nor any of his men signed the document. His hundreds of men stood solidly with their commander. “We will die with dignity!” snapped Oliva at the furious Castroites again, and again, and again. To a Castroite such an attitude not only enrages but baffles.
“These Cuban exiles, for all their chest-thumping and terrorism, are really just a bunch of wimps!” Michael Moore writes in his book “Downsize This!”--That’s right. "Wimps!” Moore’s insults target the Bay of Pigs freedom-fighters for particular scorn. “Ex-Cubans with a yellow stripe down their backs,” he calls them, on top of “crybabies!” Michael Moore was the Democratic Party’s guest of honor at their 2004 Convention.
"A soldier to the bone," that's former Secretary of State General Alexander Haig referring to Erneido Oliva, whom he worked with in the early 60's. "One of the most fiercely honorable men I have ever known."
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.