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Final Bay of Pigs Prisoners Reach Florida

Dec. 24, 1962 - The last of the 1,113 Bay of Pigs invasion prisoners came back tonight in time to spend Christmas with their relatives. The last of 10 flights by Pan American World Airways planes carried James B. Donovan, who negotiated the liberation, along with the highest-priced ransom prisoners. Also on the last plane were the wounded men and stretcher cases. They got a heroes’ welcome. The prisoners were taken by bus to Miami, where they were reunited with their families in Dinner Key auditorium. Many left quickly to attend midnight mass. The three top commanders of the Bay of Pigs invasion of April 1961 — Col. José Perez San Roman, Col. Eneida Oliva, and Capt. Manuel Artime — were the first to leave the plane. There was a $500,000 price tag for each of them. “I am not happy because my country is a slave of international communism,” said Artime, who said he lost 40 pounds. “We will return to fight to liberate Cuba of communism.”


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