A former official with the U.S. National Park Service and currently the director of a Canadian maritime museum presents a rare glimpse of how the Cuban government portrays the Bay of Pigs invasion 40 years later: "Playa Giron—First Great Defeat of Imperialism in Latin America."
The sun rides high in the sky, beating down on a white sand beach dotted with palms. Swimmers bob up and down in the water just offshore. Two children stand knee-deep in the water, laughing and splashing, while their mother stands close by, watching. Several German tourists lie on the beach, soaking up the sun quietly. It is a common scene, played out on beaches around the world. But 40 years ago, in the early morning of 17 April 1961, this Cuban beach was swarming with men. Dozens of landing craft poured out hundreds of troops, here at a place known locally as Playa Giron. To the rest of the world, and particularly to the United States, it is simply the Bay of Pigs.