The Reason The Kennedys Couldn't Stand Fidel Castro

The Kennedy family disliked quite a few people. America's fascination with the lineage started with the 1960 election of President John F. Kennedy. The first family were fascinating, with his glamorous wife, Jacqueline ("Jackie"), and his children, Caroline and John. Even his younger brother, Robert Kennedy, gathered a following when he was named attorney general.

As beloved as the family was, they formed friendships and enemies. According to the Grunge, there was no love lost between them and famous figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Lyndon B. Johnson (yes, his own vice president), former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, Teamsters Union President Jimmy Hoffa and Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Fidel Castro feuded with many people. In fact, the communist revolutionary withstood more than 600 assassination attempts, reported CNN. Castro, who was Cuba's prime minister from 1959 to 1976, and then president from 1976 to 2008, died in 2016 at the age of 90. In the end, his health rather than foul play led to his demise. His brother, Raul, stepped into the presidency after he fell seriously ill, and stepped down after two terms in 2018. He still serves as first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba. According to The New York Times, Castro held on to his "power longer than any other living national leader except Queen Elizabeth II." 

The Kennedys and Bay of Pigs disaster

It's no surprise that Fidel Castro wasn't a favorite on Kennedy's list. After all, he did order an invasion on the country just three months into his presidency. The United States had long wanted Castro overthrown and a noncommunist government put in place. The plan included 1,400 CIA-trained Cuban exiles, many recruited under President Eisenhower's administration, landing at the Bay of Pigs on April 17, 1961. The invasion faced several mishaps, according to the JFK Library, such as bombers missing targets, bad weather, and aborted missions. It was finished by April 19.

The U.S. government eventually gave Cuba $53 million worth of baby food and medicine to recover several captured soldiers. The invasion turned out disastrous and made President Kennedy "look weak," according to PBS's American Experience. 

"The disaster at the Bay of Pigs had a lasting impact on the Kennedy administration," corroborated the JFK Library. "Determined to make up for the failed invasion, the administration initiated Operation Mongoose—a plan to sabotage and destabilize the Cuban government and economy, which included the possibility of assassinating Castro." Kennedy's dislike of Castro would last until he was killed on November 22, 1963.