Bay of Pigs 1961: ‘The world knows the truth about invasion of Cuba’
'Hands off Cuba' demonstrations, like this one in New York, erupted all over the country and around the world in April 1961. | Photos: AP / People's World Archives

This article is part of the People’s World 100th Anniversary Series.

When the first edition of The Worker—a People’s World predecessor—came off the press after the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961, its pages were filled from cover to cover with stories about the event and the global protests it had triggered.

There was analysis exposing U.S. imperialism’s role in the attack and stories encouraging readers to mobilize immediately to not only assist the Cuban people resist the assault but to save the world from potential nuclear war.

Writer James S. Allen trashed the mercenary attack as “a new venture in the export of counter-revolution” and put in print all the dirty details of the Pentagon and State Department’s schemes to train, arm, and supply the ragtag army of Cuban exiles attempting to overthrow the Cuban Revolution and pull the island back under U.S. control.

In another article, Gus Hall, the General Secretary of the Communist Party USA, called President John F. Kennedy a liar, pointing out that only days earlier JFK had pledged that there would be no military invasion of Cuba by the U.S. Blowing apart the argument that the invasion was justified in order to fight communism, Hall recited the true profit-protecting aims of the mercenaries, which included “defense of the free enterprise system.”

The invaders, he said, were foot-soldiers for capitalism and imperialism who had been assigned the mission of taking back plantations for the old landlords and returning expropriated factories to their U.S. monopoly owners.

In New York, Ohio, and locales around the country, Worker correspondents reported on the mass “Hands off Cuba” protests that had erupted. Dispatches from fraternal newspapers across Latin America, Europe, and other areas showed that a worldwide movement in solidarity with Cuba was on the march.

From the Soviet Union, The Worker’s Moscow correspondent, Margrit Pittman, submitted an article relaying the message of Premier Nikita Khrushchev. The Soviet leader called on Kennedy to halt the invasion and expressed the USSR’s commitment to “a relaxation of international tensions,” but he said the Land of Lenin would never abandon the Cuban people.

The editors of The Worker summed up the message of all these reports in a statement, “Halt U.S. Intervention.” They urged the labor, peace, and democratic movements of America to unite and force Kennedy to stop his war in Cuba. Their editorial is reprinted in full below.

While the Bay of Pigs invasion was ultimately repelled by Cuba’s armed forces and citizen militia brigades, the attack proved to be but a single dramatic episode in a decades-long war against the Cuban Revolution by U.S. imperialism, a war which continues to this day.

Halt U.S. Intervention


The Worker, April 23, 1961

The world knows the truth about the invasion of Cuba. This murderous war against the men, women, and children of Cuba is made in Washington, and the killers are being transported to Cuba in U.S. ships and plans and are armed and equipped with weapons from U.S. Army and Navy arsenals.

The gangs of mercanaries are not alone responsible for the bloodshed in Cuba. It in the power of President Kennedy to stop this war. It is our government which has given sanction and sanctuary to the killer gangs to organize and dispatch their criminal campaign on and off our shores. They are being trained in camps in Louisiana, Texas, and Florida, and recruits are being enrolled at open headquarters in New York, Miami, and elsewhere in our country.

World public opinion is outraged by the crime of aggression that our government is committing against our tiny Cuban neighbor—the governments of the world know that the invaders are Washington pawns and mercenaries; that the planes dropping death from the skies over Havana are U.S. Government issues and come from air bases in our country or the airfields of Washington satellites in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro (lower right) sits inside a tank near Playa Giron, Cuba, during the Bay of Pigs invasion, April 17, 1961. | Raul Corrales / Granma

The image of our nation today all over the Earth is the picture of an oversized bully battering a child with a club in a dark alley. No amount of lying and finger-pointing can efface this image. It is the urgent task of the people of our country to remove that image by demanding that President Kennedy put an end to this criminal assault upon the people of Cuba.

President Kennedy can stop the war in Cuba in 24 hours if he feels the pressure of the American people and the people of the world sufficiently. He can stop the war by ordering his brother, the Attorney General, to enforce the neutrality laws against the so-called “Revolutionary Council” of Dr. Miro Cardona, to close the recruiting centers and training camps, and arrest all those engaged in the organization and conduct of the exported-from-the-U.S. war against Cuba.

There is no higher patriotic duty before Americans than to compel our government, to compel Kennedy to stop this aggression.

Today, our government is playing the role in respect to Cuba that Nazi Germany played in respect to Spain. The conscience of the world will not long permit this. As we wrote last week, the war we are firing in Cuba can ricochet onto our own shores. The bloody conflict we have promoted in Cuba can trigger a world war, and our own country could be buried in rubble and blood.

Everyone should work to stop the war against the people of Cuba.

All liberty-loving Americans will sympathize with the Cuban people in defense of their homeland.

Demand that Kennedy end the aggression against Cuba!

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People’s World
People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.