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April 15, 2011 5:31 AM

A look back at the Bay of Pigs invasion

The most direct and powerful U.S. bid to topple Fidel Castro began amid rosy optimism 50 years ago on April 17. It ended in disaster April 19. President John F. Kennedy and the CIA were forever seared by the historic failure. Castro became the Caribbean David who defeated the Goliath to the north. His grip on the reins of power grew ever more powerful. And 18 months later, the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

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