All photographs by Jim Rasenberger, April 17-18, 2010.
1 A billboard near Playa Girón, the main landing beach of the Bay of Pigs invasion. The image, adapted from a photograph, shows Fidel Castro jumping off a tank. Cubans celebrate Girón as the site of "the first defeat of Yankee imperialism in Latin America."
3 On Playa Girón, facing east. Here the invasion of the Bay of Pigs began shortly after midnight on April 17, 1961, when Cuban exiles seeking to overthrow Castro came ashore. They were almost immediately met by small arms fire, which they quickly suppressed.
4 Another view to the east. Not visible here is the coral beneath the surface of the water, an obstacle that caused the invasion force much grief.
6 Another view to the west, including boats, fisherman's shack, and the road that runs along the sea.
7 Facing west again. The structure in the distance is currently a sentry post for the Cuban military.
9 And closer still, from the opposite side. (I stopped taking photographs when I realized that one of the sentries was peering back at me through binoculars.)
11 The seawall, facing west. In the distance is the beach of the Hotel Playa Girón, a resort that was under construction at the time of the invasion.
13 In front of the Hotel Playa Girón workers set up for a ceremony to commemorate the victory at the Bay of Pigs, an annual event. This ceremony, held on April 19, 2010, marked the 49th anniversary.
14 In anticipation of VIPs who will arrive from Havana on April 19 to participate in the ceremony, workers decorate the road with palm fronds.
21 Goats roam free on the road that runs along the sea. The dark splotches on the pavement are the remains of land crabs, millions of which migrate from the swamp to the sea every April. Tens of thousands are crushed by cars, trucks, and buses. The crabs get their revenge by wreaking havoc on the vehicles’ tires. They also fill the air with the stench of rotting crab meat.
23 One of the crabs whose ancestors tormented the brigade. Wounded survivors of the invasion would wake up in the swamps to find the black and red creatures nibbling on their torn flesh.
24 Mangrove from the swamps that surround the Bay of Pigs has long been a staple product of the region. The wood is burnt to make charcoal. Local charcoal makers comprised a large part of the militias that first met the brigade.
25 A billboard at the entrance to Playa Larga, the secondary landing beach of the invasion. "ALL FOR THE REVOLUTION."
Click the i for information about each photograph.