Playa Girón, or in English called the Bay of Pigs, is a sleepy seaside village in Cuba. There are no pigs here and in fact, the pig name is most likely a mis-translation of the Spanish for the triggerfish common in the area. Oops. But it’s an important historical area because in April 1961 things got pretty porky here.
Way back then, relationship between the United States and Cuba were not so good. Cuba’s leader Fidel Castro loved a certain political system called Communism while the neighbouring Americans were very much against Communist rule.
As a way to stop Fidel Castro grow stronger, nearly 1400 CIA-sponsored paramilitary troops were sent out. They invaded the country as they made their landings in the Bay of Pigs. Their mission was to overthrow Castro. It failed.
Castro knew that the Americans were sending in paramilitary troops and attacked them when the arrived at the Bay. It was a huge disaster, to put it mildly, and a big embarrassement for the Americans.
This, followed by the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, made US-Cuban relationship really sour for over five decades. Americans placed all sorts of embargo (or bans) on goods to Cuba except food and medicine. Cubans nationalised American owned oil refineries and sugar mills in Cuba without really paying for them. Basically, they were trying to make each other poor and weak. Terrible stuff.
The good news is that the relationship is improving these days between the Cubans and the Americans. Yey!