After Fidel Castro gained power in Cuba a large number of Cubans went to live in the United States. These people developed a variety of different organizations. These anti-Castro organizations received considerable funding from right-wing figures such as Henry Luce, Claire Booth Luce, William Pawley, Carlos Prio and Roland Masferrer. It is also believed that some crime bosses who had obtained great profits from Cuba also funded these groups. This included Santo Trafficante, Sam Giancana and Carlos Marcello.
In 1962 and 1963 Alpha 66 launched several raids on Cuba. This included attacks on port installations and foreign shipping. Tony Cuesta and Eddie Bayo were both prominent figures in these attacks. Cuesta carried out raids on Cuba and was involved in the sinking of the Russian merchantman Baku. His activities were reported in Life Magazine in the spring of 1963.
Some members of Alpha 66 were also active in the Student Revolutionary Directorate (DRE). It had originally been established to protest against the rule of Fulgencio Batista. The DRE was opposed to Castro's communist views and many of its leaders fled to the United States. In 1962 Manual Salvat became the leader of the DRE. Those living in Miami received financial support from the Central Intelligence Agency.
Another important anti-Castro group was the Movement for the Recovery of the Revolution (MRR). Its leaders included Manuel Artime and Tony Varona. The MRR gained support from those who held strong anti-communist views. So also did JDGE, an organization headed by Carlos Prio. Those with more liberal views tended to favour Manolo Rey and the JURE party.
When Fidel Castro's Revolutionary Armed Forces routed the U.S.-backed Cuban exiles in the Bay of Pigs fiasco 40 years ago this week, President John F. Kennedy took full responsibility for the defeat. But the contrition of the young commander in chief, while popular with the American people, played poorly among the tens of thousands of Cubans living here in Miami. Many believed the liberal chief executive's refusal to send planes to support the men scrambling for cover at Playa Girón was a failure of nerve, if not a betrayal. And to this day a certain embittered distrust of Washington, born four decades ago, runs deep in Cuban Miami, erupting whenever the federal government (in the person of Janet Reno or farm-belt Republicans in Congress) pursues policies contrary to the agenda of the first generation of el exilio. But the truth is that whatever the disappointment of the Bay of Pigs, Miami's Cuban exiles have never lacked for support at the highest levels of the U.S. government. From the beginning their anti-Castro cause was taken up by senior leaders of the CIA, who encouraged their ambitions to destroy the Cuban regime. For 38 years one of the most powerful of those leaders has guarded a secret about the events leading up to Kennedy's violent death, a secret potentially damaging to the exile cause as well as to the agency itself.