Anzac Day passed a few days ago with the usual pathetic valourisations of the disastrous attempt of the Brits and their Antipodean lackeys to conquer Turkey back in 1915. Over on his Huffington Post blog, Joseph A Palermo marks the forty-fifth anniversary of another invasion that never got past the beach head stage - the landing of US-backed Cuban exiles and mercenaries at the Bay of Pigs.
Where Churchill's quixotic attempt to bring British civilisation to the Dardenelles dragged on for months, costing the Turkish people hundreds of thousands of lives, the 1961 invasion of Cuba lasted only three days. Many people believe that the invasion was a fiasco from the start, and barely tested the resolve of the Cuban armed forces. In fact, the invaders were only stopped after some desperate fighting that saw several hundred Cuban soldiers and volunteers sacrifice their lives to defend their revolution from the US. Cuba's air force, which consisted of half a dozen outdated planes, also played a vital role, managing to knock out several of the ships and planes the invaders had brought with them, including the B 26 bomber pictured at the top of this post.
Palermo relates the Bay of Pigs to the invasion of Iraq and the attacks the US is preparing against Iran, noting that the Cuban people's distinct lack of enthusiasm for their 'liberators' in 1961 has parrallels with the failure of the Iraqis to shower the invading Americans with rose petals and rice three years ago. In both cases, the CIA and its paymasters completely failed to read the mood of a people who had already suffered from the excesses of US imperialism for decades. Palermo concludes that:
We should dismiss out of hand the mouthpieces of the Bush Administration in the government and media when they claim that the Iranian people look to the United States as a hope for their "liberation." The possible consequences if we allow the warmongers in the Bush regime to launch another misguided war in the Middle East are too horrific to let it take place under whatever crafty scenario they cook up.
While we're talking about defeats for US imperialism, it's worth mentioning that April the 11th marked the fourth anniversary of the CIA coup against the government of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. The coup installed the head of the country's Chamber of Commerce as dictator; he lasted two days before being ousted by pro-Chavez soldiers and mass protests. Maybe the Kiwi left could start annoying the apologists for Gallipoli by using Anzac Day to celebrate the Bay of Pigs and the defeat of the Venezuelan coup? There's already a curious Antipodean connection to the Bay of Pigs: the closest village to the place is called Central Australia.