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  Agenda - American Delegation Biographies - American Observers - Cuban Participants  

Agenda:  (Return to Contents)

       Preliminary Conference Agenda

Conference Sponsors: Universidad de La Habana, Centro de Estudios sobre Estados Unidos, Instituto de Historia de Cuba, Centro de Investigaciones Historicas de la Seguridad del Estado; Centro de Estudios sobre America.

Co-Sponsor: The National Security Archive, George Washington University.

       Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Evening: Reception, Hotel Palco, Palacio de Convenciones, La Habana

       Thursday, March 22, 2001

PANEL 1:   The policy of the U.S. towards Cuba, the motivation, planning and preparations for the invasion 

Morning session -- Panel Moderator: James Blight, Brown University

Panel Introductions: Peter Kornbluh, Director, the Cuba Documentation Project at the National Security Archive. Tomas Diaz, Senior Archivist, El Instituto de Historia, Havana, Cuba.

The goal of the opening session is to address U.S. perceptions and motivations of Cuba, and the evolution of policy and planning for the invasion of Cuba.  The session will cover issues ranging from the CIA's initial impressions of Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution, to the transformation of Operation JMATE from an initial plan to infiltrate small cadre bands to train and support internal resistance to the revolution to a major paramilitary assault on the island.  The history of the formulation, organization, and implementation of Brigade 2506 will also be a focus of this session.

PANEL II:  The response of Cuba to the North American threat

Afternoon session -- Panel Moderator: Juan Carlos Rodriguez

Panel Introductions:

Jorge Dominguez, Harvard University

Jose Luis Mendez, Center for Historical Investigation on National Security

This session focuses on Cuba's actions, awareness and response to the growing threat of a US invasion.  It covers events from 1959‑early 1961, a period of time when the revolution established itself internally and in its relations with Latin America and the United States.  Discussions may address Cuba's intelligence on U.S. preparations for the invasion, Cuban diplomatic, political and military efforts to prepare for an eventual attack. They may also cover Cuban efforts to find allies in Latin America and beyond as a challenge to Wash- ington and the pivotal decision to order the reduction of U S embassy personnel that precipitated the break in U S-Cuban bilateral relations.

       Friday, March 23, 2001

PANEL III: The Military Battle at Playa Giron

Morning Session -- Moderators: Angel Jimenez Gonzales, Bay of Pigs veteran, Center for Military Studies; and Thomas Blanton, National Security Archives George Washington University

Panel Introductions:

Gen. Samuel Rodiles Planas, Ministry of the Armed Forces, Bay of Pigs veteran James Blight, Brown University.

This session covers the history of the actual battle starting with the first attack on April 15th and ending with the capture of the Brigade on April 19th Discussions will evaluate the progression of the battle; the impact of the first air strike; the military strategy pursued by both sides, and the perceived factors for victory and defeat.

PANEL IV:  The Aftermath of Giron Impact, Legacy and Lessons

Afternoon session -- Panel Moderators: Jorge Hernandez, University of Havana, Center for the Study of the United States; and Philip Brenner, American University

Panel Introductions:

Dr. Julia Swats, Cuba Specialist, Council on Foreign Relations Dr. Rosa Lopez, COCTEAU

This summary session covers the aftermath of the invasion and its impact on Cuba, on the United States and on U.S.-Cuban relations.  Topics that can be addressed include renewed US covert efforts to overthrow the Castro government, including Operations Mongoose and Autonomous; the impact of the Bay of Pigs on the Cuban Missile Crisis; the negotiations for the release of the Brigade and the secret dialogue -- first between Fidel Castro with James Donovan and subsequently with Lisa Howard and William Attwood -- toward improving relations; the rupture in the dialogue after the assassination in Dallas; and the impact in Cuba, the U.S. and on the Cuban-American community, and the lessons of the invasion for the relations between the two countries.

       Saturday, March 24, 2001

Trip to the Bay of Pigs with Cuban officials for a historical tour of the battle site, including the Australia Plantation (Castro's headquarters), and the two fronts at Playa Larga and Playa Giron.  A final press conference will be held at Giron Beach.


American Delegation Biographies(Return to Contents)

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.     Special Assistant to President John F. Kennedy with oversight of, among other issues, all Latin American initiatives including the Alliance for Progress.  During the Bay of Pigs, he served as liaison with Cuban exile leadership. Alone among JFK's top advisers, he opposed the invasion.  Also one of the most eminent U.S. historians, having won the Pulitzer Prize twice and having written best-selling biographies of both John Kennedy (A Thousand Days, 1965) and Robert Kennedy (Robert Kennedy and His Times, 1978).

Richard Goodwin.     Special assistant to candidate, and then President Kennedy.  He became Cuban affairs coordinator in the summer of 1961; and met with Che Guevara in Montevideo in August 1961He was deputy assistant secretary for Inter-American affairs at the State Department during the Kennedy administration, and later a Special Assistant to President Johnson. He was a key actor in the Alliance for Progress. He is the author of The American Condition, and Remembering America: A Voice from the Sixties.

John Nolan.     Partner at the Washington law firm of Steptoe & Johnson.  Marine Corps veteran and former Supreme Court clerk who was active in the Kennedy presidential campaign of 1960. Enlisted by RFK aides in late 1962 to serve as a deputy to James Donovan in negotiating the release of the Brigade 2506 prisoners, and later the American prisoners in Cuba.  In April 1963, he and Donovan were given a guided tour of the Giron battle site by Fidel Castro.  He subsequently served as chief of staff to Attorney General Robert Kennedy in 1963-64.

Robert Reynolds.     CIA chief of Miami base (the largest CIA station in the world) from September 1960 to October 1961, and from March-September 1960 served as deputy to Jacob Esterline, the CIA's task force chief Began his CIA Latin, America career in 1949 and served in Mexico., Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil. From 1957 to March 1960 was the CIA's Caribbean desk officer monitoring the Cuban revolution.  Retired from CIA and the Foreign Service in 1968.  Subsequent career as an energy consultant.

Samuel Halpern.     CIA executive assistant (chief of staff) for Operation Mongoose.  Trained as a historian at the City College of New York and a World War 11 veteran of CIA's predecessor agency, the OSS, he spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans specializing in covert operations. He was working in Asia when he was called back to Washington in the wake of the Bay of Pigs to help organize Mongoose, which was led by Gen. Edward Lansdale of the Defense Department and William K. Harvey of the CIA.  He subsequent served as executive assistant to CIA's director of covert operations, retiring in the early 1970s.

Wayne Smith.     U.S. Embassy political officer in Havana from 1958 until the closing of the Embassy in January 1961.  After the Bay of PI he became assistant to the State Department's assistant secretary for Latin America, Adolf Berle, and subsequently rose to the position of director for Cuban affairs in the State Department.  In 1978-80 served as the chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.  Now a professor at the Johns Hopkins University Nitze School of Advanced International Affairs and a fellow of the Center for International Policy, he is the author of The Closest of Enemies (1987) on U.S.‑Cuban relations.

Alfredo Duran.     An early enlistee in Brigade 2506, he received guerrilla training for the infiltration plan and later, after the plan changed, training as an infantryman.  After the invasion failed, he spent 30 days in the swamp, attempting to escape but was eventually captured.  He is a practicing lawyer in Miami, a past president Brigade 2506 Veterans' Association, and former chair Florida‑Democratic Party.

Luis Tornes.     Recruited into Brigade 2506 in New York City in December 1960.  Served as an infantryman in Battalion 3 during the invasion.  Taken prisoner and returned to the U.S. in December 1962.  Underwent U.S. military training at Fort Jackson in 1963 as part of a special unit for what he believed would be a future invasion. Participated in clandestine activities directed against Cuba in the mid-1960s.  Currently the owner and publisher of the Spanish‑language newspaper, the Miami Post.

Mario Cabello.     A Brigade 2506 veteran, he was barely seventeen years old when he enlisted in 1960.  When he was fourteen years old he had in fact worked on behalf of the Revolution while distributing the 26th of July newspaper to high school in Havana.   Not long after Castro came to power, Cabello become disillusioned with the what he was as a continuingly left-leaning and anti-Catholic regime and fled to Miami.

Roberto Carballo.     A Brigade 2506 veteran. He enlisted in January 1960 and was assigned to the 3rd company of he 4th battalion. After returning with the other brigade members to the U.S., he studied political science in Puerto Rico. In the early 1970s he was an executive officer on Team B of the Plan Torriente conducting operations against the government in Cuba. He was President of the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association between 1976 and 1978, and a founding member of the Cuban Committee for Democracy.  He currently lives in Mexico where he is a businessman and hotel owner.


Jorge Dominguez is Clarence Dillon professor of international affairs and Director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.  He is the author of numerous books and articles on Cuba and U.S. policy, including the major textbook, Cuba, and The Future of InterAmerican Relations.

James Blight, professor of international relations at Brown University's Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies.  He was the organizer of the 1992 Havana conference on the Crisis de Octubre, and is the author of numerous books and articles including, Cuba On the Brink: Castro, the Missile Crisis, and the Soviet Collapse.

Julia Sweig is a Cuba specialist at the Washington office of the Council on Foreign Relations.  She is the author of the forthcoming book, The Cuban Insurrection Declassified.

Piero Gleijeses, is professor of U.S. foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.  He is the author of numerous books and articles, including the article "Ships in the Night: The CIA, the White House, and the Bay of Pigs," and the forthcoming Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington and Africa, 1959-19 76.

Peter Kornbluh directs the Cuba Documentation Project at the National Security Archive and is the author of Bay of Pigs Decassified: The Secret CIA Report on the Bay of Pigs.  He serves as the U.S. coordinator for the North American delegation to the "Giron: 40 Anos Despues" conference.

James G. Hershberg is associate professor of history and international affairs at George Washington University.  He is the former director of the Cold War International History Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C. and has done extensive research on documents relating to Cuba in the Canadian, Brazilian, and British foreign archives.

Philip Brenner is professor of international politics at the American University He has written numerous books, and articles on various aspects of U.S.-Cuban relations, including The Cuba Reader: the Making of a Revolutionary Society.

Max Azicri, is a professor at Edinboro State University specializing in Cuba.  A Cuban‑American, he briefly served as a diplomatic envoy to Uruguay for the Brigade in 1961.  He is the author of most recently of Cuba Today and Tomorrow: Reinventing Socialism.

Saul Landau is a professor at California State Polytechnic University. He is an emmy-award winning filmmaker, whose documentaries include "Fidel."  He is the author of numerous books and articles on Cuba, Chile, and U.S. foreign policy, including Assassination on Embassy Row (with John Dinges).

Thomas S. Blanton is executive director of the National Security Archive, the U.S. co‑sponsor of the Giron conference.  He is the author of White House E-Mail, among other books and articles.

William LeoGrande, is a professor and former dean at American University.  He has written extensively about U.S. policy toward Central America and Cuba.  He is the author, most recently of Our Own Backyard: The United States in Central America, 1977-1992.

P. Terrence Hermann is professor of political science and director of the program on global security at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, and was a participant in the 1996 Musgrove conference on the Bay of Pigs.


American Observers:  (Return to Contents)

1. Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, JFK's sister, former U.S. ambassador to Ireland

2. Nancy Biersteker, Brown University, Watson Institute

3. Pieter Biersteker, Brown University, Watson Institute

4. Tom Biersteker, Brown University, Watson Institute

5. Malcolm Byrne, National Security Archive, Deputy Director

6. Rafael Cohen, National Security Archive, research assistant

7. Ellsworth Culver, Mercy Corp International, Area Fdn. board

8. John Dinges, Columbia Univ. Sch. Of Journalism

9. Donna Edwards, Area Foundation, Executive Director

10. Christina Eguizabal, Ford Foundation

11. Mahnaz Ispahani, Ford Foundation

12. Edgar James, James & Hoffman, Archive Board Member

13. Erin James, James & Family

14. Haynes Johnson, University of Maryland Sch. Of Journalism; author of Bay of Pigs.

15. Janet Lang, Brown University

16. Walter R. Mead, Council on Foreign Relations, Area Fdn. board

17. Timothy O'Brien, Area Foundation

18. Christian Ostermann, Cold War International History Project

19. Bernadette Roberts, Area Foundation, Program Associate

20. Alexandra Schlesinger, Arthur Schlesinger's spouse

21. Daniel Schorr, National Public Radio commentator

22. Eric Sklar, Founder Burrito Brothers, Area Fdn. board

23. Kimberly Stanton, Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center

24. Nicole Bagley Walker, Celebrity Service Int'l, Area Fdn. board

25. Sharon Waxman, Advisor to Senator Edward Kennedy

26. Eric Hamburg, Hollywood producer

27. Jacklin Arastouzadeh, spouse of Eric Hamburg

28. Jim Burroughs, Documentary filmmaker

29. Kirby Jones, businessman, film producer

34. Sarah Bowen, research director, Imagine Entertainment

34. Jon Elliston, former National Security Archive staff, author of Psywar On Cuba

35. Sue Bechtel, National Security Archive administrator.


Cuban Participants(Return to Contents)

      Historical Actors:

I .   Fidel Castro Ruz, President of Cuba

2.   Jose Ramon Fernandez, V.P. of the Consejo de Estado, military commander at the Bay of  Pigs.

3.   Angel Jiminez, front commander at Bay of Pigs, now Director of Center for Military Studies.

4.   Abelardo Colume, Head of DIFAR (directorate of intelligence of the armed forces)

5.   Ramiro Valdez Menendez, Ministry of Interior

6.   General Samuel Rodiles, second head of the police battalion at Bay of Pigs

7.   Enrique Carreras, pilot at the Bay of Pigs

8.   Efigenio Aneigiras, head of the police battalion

9.   Anibel Velez, Chief of Operations Against Irregular Forces

10. Joel Pardo, tank soldier

11. Israel Bejar, Chief of Security

12. Pedro Europesa, artillery gunner

13. Ricardo Alarcon, head of the Consejo de Estado

14. Carlos Lechuga, former U.N. Ambassador

15. Alberto Ferdey, pilot

16. Roberto Million

17. Jose Buajasan, former head of counterintelligence, military historian


18. Juan Carlos Rodriguez, Historian of Playa Giron

19. Juan Vela Valdes, Rector, University of Havana, Conference host

20. Tomas Diaz, Senior Scholar, Instituto de Historia, Havana

21. Rosa Lopez, University of Havana Center for the Study of the United States.

22. Jorge Hernandez, University of Havana Center for the Study of the United States.

23. Jose Luis Mendez, Center for Historical Investigation on National Security, Havana.

(Return to Contents)