Cuba and the Cold War
Our next gallery tells the story of Cuba and the exile community within the context of the Cold War. Following the revolution Fidel Castro began executing other leaders and assumed the powers of a dictator for life. Many Cubans fled their homeland and collected in what became the Little Havana neighborhood in Miami. From here they worked to overthrow him. Our building was central to this activity; it was taken over by the CIA and served as Headquarters for the anti-communist freedom fighters. Known as Station JM-WAVE, many clandestine operations of the Brigade 2506 and other exile groups were planned here at this building.
After the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion Castro acquired nuclear missiles and aimed them at the US. America learned of the dangers from assets inside the island and from U-2 spy planes overhead. We rushed missiles of our own to South Florida. For 13 days the world hovered on the brink of nuclear war. Fortunately, the Russians backed down and removed their nukes from Cuba. Other secret operations during this time included the Manuel Artime naval group, and Operation Mongoose. These events have left a lasting impression on the exile community and are an integral part of our military heritage.