The United States tried to overthrow Fidel Castro’s regime.
On April 17, 1961, an invasion force of about 1,500 Cuban exiles landed in the Bay of Pigs, Cuba. They were supported by the United States, but not very well.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had promised the exiles full-scale U.S. military support, but President John F. Kennedy withdrew it at the last minute.
The invaders were left unprotected to face Castro’s vastly more powerful armed forces, which killed about 120 and took nearly 1,200 prisoner. CIA reports that ordinary Cubans would rise up to join the invaders were dead wrong.
The Bay of Pigs was a fiasco that embarrassed the United States and delighted Castro. Cuban exiles felt betrayed by the Democratic president. Ever since they started becoming U.S. citizens, they have voted solidly Republican.
A few have even engaged in bombings and other terrorist acts intended to draw attention to their cause.
President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline greet Cuban exiles gathered in Miami Stadium on December 29, 1962. The Kennedy Admistration’s mishandling of the Bay of Pigs invasion alienated many Cuban Americans from the Democratic Party.