Bay of Pigs POL378

Bay of Pigs POL378 - President Kennedys decision to approve...

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President Kennedy’s decision to approve the Bay of Pigs Invasion; “a Perfect Failure” President John F. Kennedy, newly elected in 1960, approved the plan to invade Cuba in order to oust Fidel Castro from power in April 1961. The main goal of the operation was to restore a pro-US government within Cuba and protect the Western Hemisphere from communism. By the early sixties the Cold War had reached the peak of its intensity and the US foreign policy establishment could not fathom a communist regime taking power a mere 90 miles from the coast of Florida. Under the strategy of containment, the newly elected president was greatly pressured by the CIA to make a swift decision to terminate the mounting presence of the Soviet Union’s influence. The plan developed during the final year of the Eisenhower administration as Cuba and the United States prepared to end all diplomatic relations. JFK was determined to cover up any US involvement, fearing that it would bolster renewed charges of American imperialism and would contradict his “Alliance for Progress” foreign policy strategy regarding Latin America. The invasion was deemed a “perfect failure” of presidential decision- making in American foreign policy. In order to understand the reasoning behind such a failed mission, it is imperative to study the historical background of US-Cuban relations, the US interests at stake at the time of attack, and the decision-making processes of the president. Background: US-Cuban Relations American interests heavily influenced Cuba ever since the Spanish-American War. The victorious United States passed the Platt Amendment in 1903 granting Cuban independence, but including language allowing discretionary US intervention. In accordance with the Monroe Doctrine, the US regarded Cuba as under its sphere of influence, however, in the 1930s under 1
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FDR’s “Good Neighbor Policy”, the US ended its overarching dominance of the country, while maintaining a naval base at Guantanamo Bay. Fulgencio Batista took power in Cuba during 1933 through a military coup. His regime was known for ruling by violence and denial of basic human rights, but held close economic ties to the United States. According to Edward Drachman and Alan Shank, “American corporations controlled 40 percent of the Cuban sugar industry, 80 percent of its utilities, and 90 percent of its mining”. 1 In 1959 Fidel Castro led a revolutionary guerilla army to overthrow the oppressive regime. By 1958, Castro’s followers had grown to encompass the interests of professionals, landowners, and businessmen. The movement united under the goal of ending the authoritarian regime and over concerns about the implications of the failing sugar industry and widespread illiteracy due to educational mismanagement After Batista was forced to flee the country, Castro pledged to return basic rights to the Cuban people, including free elections and reforms to enhance agricultural development. 2
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Bay of Pigs POL378 - President Kennedys decision to approve...

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