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Western Cuba Travel Guide

Playa Girón

Playa Girón is the beach and town on the Bahía de Cochinos where much of the bungled CIA-backed Bay of Pigs Invasion on April 17, 1961, took place. More than 1,100 men of the 1,300 Cuban exiles who made up the landing force were captured, with more than 110 killed. (Five minutes in close contact with the mosquitoes of the Zapata swamp will explain a lot about this fracas.) In December

1962, most of the prisoners were returned to the United States in exchange for a ransom of $53 million in medical supplies. Even today, La Victoria is one of Cuba's great rallying points and sources of pride.

Today some 400 people live in sleepy Playa Girón village, in the middle of which stands a billboard that reads: "playa girón—la primera derrota del imperialismo norteamericano en américa latina" ("playa girón—the first defeat of u.s. imperialism in latin america"). Along the road between La Boca de Guamá and Playa Girón, you'll also see concrete slabs commemorating Cuban defenders who fell in the invasion.

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