Preparation for the Invasion (1959-1961)
The public will always remember the blunder as Kennedy’s brainchild, the plan was conceived well before Kennedy’s inauguration by the CIA under the Eisenhower administration. The plan greatly relied on support of the Cuban people and the element of surprise (both of which did not come to fruition). The plan was simple: use Cuban exiles (non-US forces) to overthrow Castro and establish a non-communist government.
The CIA set up camps in Guatemala of November 1960 to train the Cuban exiles, led by Jose Miro Cardona, head of the Cuban Revolutionary Council. More specifically, the exiles were trained in an amphibious landing and in guerilla warfare. Other recruits from the Miami area were trained in Panama and South Florida. Shortly before the invasion, the CIA transported all the supplies and armed exiles to Nicaragua.
The notion that “Loose lips sink ships” was solidified with respect to the Bay of Pigs. The plans of a US-backed invasion were common knowledge among Cuban exiles in Miami. This information quickly slipped back to Castro, who was fully aware of the training camps in Guatemala. In April 2000, the Washington Post came out with an article reporting that the CIA had information the Soviets knew when the invasion was going to take place, but did not inform Kennedy of this. On April 13, 1961, 4 days before the invasion, Radio-Moscow broadcasted that the CIA would be using paid criminals to invade Cuba within a week.