In general, though, the paramilitary training was not much of a secret the CIA account describes the training base as getting crowded and by some accounts stirred the failed coup attempt.
University of Texas historian Virginia Burnett calls the failed coup by a hugely important event that gave birth to the Guatemalan guerrilla movement, MR-13 for Movimiento Revolucionario. The officers led the uprising against Ydigoras in protest for his letting Bay of Pigs Cubans train in Guatemala, she said.
You must remember that most of those Cuban youngsters were from the so-called better classes. They had means, and they ran all over that country, said Muccio, a career diplomat. Im sure that more were killed on the roads of Guatemala than were killed at the Bay of Pigs.
Pressure mounted on the program to move elsewhere for the actual invasion.
In order to argue deniability, the operation could not launch from Floridas shores.
At the White House, according to a State Department document, Secretary of State Dean Rusk wondered aloud on Jan. 22, 1961, whether the military might relocate the hundreds of Cuban anti-communists to the U.S. base at Guantánamo a preposterous proposition because the men couldnt have been hidden, let alone trained, among the 1,000 Cuban island workers already on the base.
The CIA set its sights on the Caribbean port city of Puerto Cabezas in Nicaragua, and launched a round of CIA diplomacy with one of most tyrannical families of Latin America the Somoza brothers, Luis the president and Anastasio the general.
In January 1961, the general met secretly with CIA Director Allen Dulles about the base, and sought $10 million in development loans. The CIA passed the request on to the State Department, with a recommendation to provide them, but the history does not spell out whether the money was delivered.
The historian, writing more than a decade after the deal-making, did not mince words about the partners unsavory character. Of Luis he wrote, Somoza was an absolute dictator.
And it was not lost on Luis that he was dealing with an envoy of the Central Intelligence Agency. The U.S. ambassador was President John F. Kennedys ranking representative at the time. To one CIA operative negotiating the base arrangement, he complained that some long-haired, Department of State liberals might seek to humiliate him for helping the exiles and Americans oust Castro.
Somoza wants it understood and accepted by all levels of the U.S. government that Nicaragua was on the side of the angels, the historian wrote, and, therefore, no U.S. official should be allowed to attack Nicaragua for either its actions or its positions vis-a-vis Cuba.