“Send planes or we can’t last!” San Roman kept pleading to the very fleet that escorted his men to the beachhead (and sat much closer to them than the Sixth Fleet recently sat to the Libyan coast.) Meanwhile the barrage intensified, the Soviet T-34 and Stalin tanks closed in, and San Roman’s casualties pile up.
Fifty years ago the men who cheered Michele Bachman this week put their lives on the line for goals still crystal clear: firing-squads silenced, families reunited, tens of thousands freed from prisons, torture chambers and forced-labor camps. We see it on the History Channel after our GI’s took places like Manila and Munich. In 1961 newsreels could have captured such scenes without crossing oceans. When those men hit the beach at the Bay of Pigs 50 years ago, one of every 18 Cubans suffered in Castro and Che Guevara’s Gulag. Mass graves dotted the Cuban countryside, piled with hundreds who’d crumpled in front of Castro and Che Guevara’s firing squads. Most of the invaders had loved-ones among the above. Modern history records few soldiers with the burning morale of the freedom-fighters who cheered Michele Bachman in Miami this week.
After expending their last bullet, came more heroics. Living under a daily firing squad sentence for almost two years the men who cheered Michele Bachman this week refused to sign the confession damning the “U.S. Imperialists” (the very nation whose commander-in-chief betrayed them on that beachhead) thinking it would probably save their lives. Many spat on the document in front of their Communist torturers, thinking it would doom them to death by firing squad. “We will die with dignity!” responded their second-in-command Erneido Oliva to his furious Communist captors, again and again and again.
To a Castroite such an attitude not only enrages, but baffles, speaking of which:
“These Cuban exiles are really just a bunch of wimps! That’s right—WIMPS!” writes Michael Moore in his book Downsize This. His smear singles out the Bay of Pigs invaders for particular scorn. “Ex-Cubans with a yellow stripe down their backs, and crybabies” is what the Democratic Party’s keynote attraction at their 2004 convention (where he sat humongous cheek to shriveled cheek with Democratic elder statesman Jimmy Carter) refers to the men who Michele Bachmann honored this week.
Fifty years ago when the smoke cleared and their ammo had been expended to the very last bullet, when a hundred of them lay dead and hundreds more wounded, after three days of relentless battle, barely 1,400 of them — without air support (from the U.S. Carriers just offshore) and without a single supporting shot by naval artillery (from U.S. cruisers and destroyers poised just offshore) — had squared off against 31,000 Castro troops, his entire air force and squadrons of Soviet tanks. The Cuban freedom-fighters inflicted casualties of 20 to 1 against their Soviet-armed and led enemies. Their feat of arms still amazes professional military men.
“They fought magnificently and were not defeated,” stressed Marine Col. Jack Hawkins a multi-decorated WWII and Korea vet who helped train them. “They were abandoned on the beach without the supplies and support promised by their sponsor, the Government of the United States.”
“We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty!” proclaimed Hawkins’ Commander-in-Chief just three months earlier. The words were actually the late JFK speechwriter Theodore Sorensen’s, later an Obama campaign advisor.
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.