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Former Bay of Pigs Prisoner Says Cuban Missile Crisis “Boosted Our Morale”

Dec. 25, 1962 - The intelligence chief of the Bay of Pigs invasion force (pictured after their capture in April 1961) said today that the captured prisoners of the abortive assault “do not feel that the U.S. let us down.” “We knew where we were going. Nobody obligated us to go. We did what we could under the circumstances, and we fought until the last bullet,” said José Raul Varona Gonzalez. There had been talk before the 1,113 invasion prisoners returned to Miami that many of them might be bitter because this country did not give outright military backing to the invasion on April 17, 1962. But Mr. Varona, 25, said that word of the Cuban missile crisis had gotten to invasion prisoners on the Isle of Pines and that they were “real proud” of President Kennedy for the October blockade of Cuba. “It boosted our morale. We knew the Russians were bluffing, and Kennedy finally called their bluff,” Mr. Varona said. “I personally am willing to return to Cuba to fight again, and I am sure 99% of the brigade feel the same,” said Mr. Varona.

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