Cuban Revolution
Overview
The Cuban Revolution was an armed revolt by Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

's 26th of July Movement
26th of July Movement
The 26th of July Movement was the revolutionary organization planned and led by Fidel Castro that in 1959 overthrew the Fulgencio Batista government in Cuba...

 against the regime of Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

n dictator Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar was the United States-aligned Cuban President, dictator and military leader who served as the leader of Cuba from 1933 to 1944 and from 1952 to 1959, before being overthrown as a result of the Cuban Revolution....

 between 1953 and 1959. Batista was finally ousted on 1 January 1959, and was replaced by a revolutionary government led by Castro. This government later reformed along communist lines, becoming the present Communist Party of Cuba
Communist Party of Cuba
The Communist Party of Cuba is the governing political party in Cuba. It is a communist party of the Marxist-Leninist model. The Cuban constitution ascribes the role of the Party to be the "leading force of society and of the state"...

.
The first phase of the Cuban Revolution began when well-armed rebels attacked the Moncada Barracks
Moncada Barracks
The Moncada Barracks was a military barracks in Santiago de Cuba, named after General Guillermón Moncada, a hero of the War of Independence. On July 26, 1953, the barracks was the site of an armed attack by a small group of revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro. This armed attack is widely accepted...

 in Santiago
Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city of Cuba and capital city of Santiago de Cuba Province in the south-eastern area of the island, some south-east of the Cuban capital of Havana....

 and the barracks in Bayamo
Bayamo
Bayamo is the capital city of the Granma Province of Cuba, and one of the largest cities in the Oriente region.The community of Bayamo lies on a plain by the Bayamon River...

 on 26 July 1953.
Encyclopedia
The Cuban Revolution was an armed revolt by Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

's 26th of July Movement
26th of July Movement
The 26th of July Movement was the revolutionary organization planned and led by Fidel Castro that in 1959 overthrew the Fulgencio Batista government in Cuba...

 against the regime of Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

n dictator Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar was the United States-aligned Cuban President, dictator and military leader who served as the leader of Cuba from 1933 to 1944 and from 1952 to 1959, before being overthrown as a result of the Cuban Revolution....

 between 1953 and 1959. Batista was finally ousted on 1 January 1959, and was replaced by a revolutionary government led by Castro. This government later reformed along communist lines, becoming the present Communist Party of Cuba
Communist Party of Cuba
The Communist Party of Cuba is the governing political party in Cuba. It is a communist party of the Marxist-Leninist model. The Cuban constitution ascribes the role of the Party to be the "leading force of society and of the state"...

.

Pre-1956

The first phase of the Cuban Revolution began when well-armed rebels attacked the Moncada Barracks
Moncada Barracks
The Moncada Barracks was a military barracks in Santiago de Cuba, named after General Guillermón Moncada, a hero of the War of Independence. On July 26, 1953, the barracks was the site of an armed attack by a small group of revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro. This armed attack is widely accepted...

 in Santiago
Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city of Cuba and capital city of Santiago de Cuba Province in the south-eastern area of the island, some south-east of the Cuban capital of Havana....

 and the barracks in Bayamo
Bayamo
Bayamo is the capital city of the Granma Province of Cuba, and one of the largest cities in the Oriente region.The community of Bayamo lies on a plain by the Bayamon River...

 on 26 July 1953. The exact number of rebels killed in the battle is debatable; however, in his autobiography, Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

 claimed that five were killed in the fighting, and an additional fifty-six were killed later by the Batista
Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar was the United States-aligned Cuban President, dictator and military leader who served as the leader of Cuba from 1933 to 1944 and from 1952 to 1959, before being overthrown as a result of the Cuban Revolution....

 regime. Among the dead was Abel Santamaría
Abel Santamaría
Abel Santamaria Cuadrado was an important leader in the Cuban Revolutionary movement....

, second-in-command of the assault on the Moncada Barracks, who was imprisoned, tortured, and executed on the same day as the attack. The survivors, among them Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl Castro Ruz, were captured shortly afterwards. In a highly political trial, Fidel Castro spoke for nearly four hours in his defense, ending with the words; "Condemn me, it does not matter. History will absolve me
History Will Absolve Me
"History Will Absolve Me" is the concluding sentence and subsequent title of a four-hour speech made by Fidel Castro on 16 October 1953. Castro made the speech in his own defense in court against the charges brought against him after leading an attack on the Moncada Barracks...

." Fidel Castro was sentenced to 15 years in the Presidio Modelo
Presidio Modelo
The Presidio Modelo was a "model prison" of Panopticon design, built on Isla de Pinos in Cuba.The prison was built under President-turned-dictator Gerardo Machado between 1926–1928...

 prison, located on Isla de Pinos, while Raúl was sentenced to 13 years.

In 1955, under broad political pressure, the Batista regime freed all political prisoners in Cuba – including the Moncada attackers. Batista was persuaded to include the Castro brothers in this release in part by Fidel's Jesuit childhood teachers.

Thereafter, the Castro brothers joined with other exiles in Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 to prepare a revolution to overthrow Batista, receiving training from Alberto Bayo
Alberto Bayo
Alberto Bayo y Giroud was a Cuban military leader of the defeated left-wing Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War. He was also a poet and essayist.He was born in Cuba and studied in the United States and Spain...

, a leader of Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

. During this period, Fidel met and joined forces with the Argentine
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara
Che Guevara
Ernesto "Che" Guevara , commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist...

.

December 1956 to mid-1958

The yacht Granma
Granma (yacht)
Granma is the yacht that was used to transport 82 fighters of the Cuban Revolution from Mexico to Cuba in 1956 for the purpose of overthrowing the regime of Fulgencio Batista. The 60-foot diesel-powered cabin cruiser was built in 1943 and designed to accommodate 12 people...

arrived in Cuba on 2 December 1956, carrying the Castro brothers and 80 other members of the 26th of July Movement. It arrived two days later than planned because the boat was heavily loaded, unlike during the practice sailing runs. This dashed any hopes for a coordinated attack with the llano wing of the movement. After arriving and exiting the ship, the band of rebels began to make their way into the Sierra Maestra
Sierra Maestra
Sierra Maestra is a mountain range that runs westward across the south of the old Oriente Province from what is now Guantánamo Province to Niquero in southeast Cuba, rising abruptly from the coast. Some view it as a series of connecting ranges , which joins with others extending to the west...

 mountains, a range in southeastern Cuba. Three days after the trek began, Batista's army attacked and killed most of the Granma participants - while the exact number is disputed, no more than twenty of the original eighty-two men survived the initial bloody encounters with the Cuban army and escaped into the Sierra Maestra
Sierra Maestra
Sierra Maestra is a mountain range that runs westward across the south of the old Oriente Province from what is now Guantánamo Province to Niquero in southeast Cuba, rising abruptly from the coast. Some view it as a series of connecting ranges , which joins with others extending to the west...

 mountains. The group of survivors included Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

, Che Guevara
Che Guevara
Ernesto "Che" Guevara , commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist...

, Raúl Castro
Raúl Castro
Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz is a Cuban politician and revolutionary who has been President of the Council of State of Cuba and the President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba since 2008; he previously exercised presidential powers in an acting capacity from 2006 to 2008...

, and Camilo Cienfuegos
Camilo Cienfuegos
Camilo Cienfuegos Gorriarán was a Cuban revolutionary born in Lawton, Havana. Raised in an anarchist family that had left Spain before the Spanish Civil War, he became a key figure of the Cuban Revolution, along with Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Juan Almeida Bosque, and Raúl Castro.-Political...

. The dispersed survivors, alone or in small groups, wandered through the mountains, looking for each other. Eventually, the men would link up again – with the help of peasant sympathizers – and would form the core leadership of the guerrilla army. Celia Sanchez
Celia Sánchez
Celia Sánchez Manduley was a participant of the Cuban Revolution and a close friend, and rumored lover of Fidel Castro....

 and Haydee Santamaria (the sister of Abel Santamaria
Abel Santamaría
Abel Santamaria Cuadrado was an important leader in the Cuban Revolutionary movement....

) were among the female revolutionaries who assisted Fidel Castro in the mountains.

On 13 March 1957, a separate group of revolutionaries – the anticommunist Revolutionary Directorate (RD; Directorio Revolucionario), composed mostly of students – stormed the Presidential Palace in Havana, attempting to assassinate Batista and decapitate the regime. The attack was suicidal. The RD's leader, student Jose Antonio Echeverria, died in a shootout with Batista's forces at the Havana radio station he had seized to spread the news of Batista's death. The handful of survivors included Dr. Humberto Castello (who later became the Inspector General in the Escambray), and Rolando Cubela and Faure Chomon (later Commandantes of the 13 March Movement, centered in the Escambray Mountains of Las Villas Province).

Thereafter, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 imposed an economic embargo
Embargo
An embargo is the partial or complete prohibition of commerce and trade with a particular country, in order to isolate it. Embargoes are considered strong diplomatic measures imposed in an effort, by the imposing country, to elicit a given national-interest result from the country on which it is...

 on the Cuban government and recalled its ambassador, weakening the government's mandate further. Batista's support among Cubans began to fade, former supporters either joining the revolutionaries or distancing themselves from Batista. The Mafia and US businessmen continued their support.

The regime resorted to often brutal methods to keep Cuba's cities under government control. However, in the Sierra Maestra mountains, Castro, aided by Frank País
Frank País
Frank País was a Cuban revolutionary who campaigned for the overthrow of General Fulgencio Batista's government in Cuba...

, Ramos Latour, Huber Matos
Huber Matos
Huber Matos Benítez was a Cuban revolutionary who assisted Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and members of the 26th of July Movement in successfully overthrowing the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista as part of the Cuban Revolution....

, and many others, staged successful attacks on small garrisons of Batista's troops. Che Guevara and Raúl Castro helped Fidel to consolidate his political control in the mountains, often through execution of suspected Batista loyalists or other rivals of Castro's. In addition, poorly armed irregulars known as escopeteros
Escopeteros
Escopeteros in its original usage means those armed with a smoothbore long barrel firearm, sometimes a trabuco or blunderbuss, and has been used in this general context in histories of Spain and Latin America . It has been used to describe a pitcher in baseball e.g. , or a sniping journalist...

harassed Batista's forces in the foothills and plains of Oriente Province. The escopeteros also provided direct military support to Castro's main forces by protecting supply lines and by sharing intelligence. Ultimately, the mountains came under Castro's control.

In addition to armed resistance, the rebels sought to use propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 to their advantage. A pirate radio station called Rebel Radio (Radio Rebelde
Radio Rebelde
Radio Rebelde is a Cuban Spanish-language radio station. It broadcasts 24 hours a day with a varied program of national and international music hits of the moment, news reports and live sport events...

) was set up in February 1958. Castro and his forces broadcast their message nationwide within enemy territory. The radio broadcasts were made possible by Carlos Franqui
Carlos Franqui
Carlos Franqui was a Cuban writer, poet, journalist, art critic, and political activist. After the Fulgencio Batista coup in 1952, he became involved with the "Movimiento 26 de Julio" which was directed by Fidel Castro. Upon the success of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, he was placed in charge of...

, a previous acquaintance of Castro who subsequently became a Cuban exile
Cuban exile
The term "Cuban exile" refers to the many Cubans who have sought alternative political or economic conditions outside the island, dating back to the Ten Years' War and the struggle for Cuban independence during the 19th century...

 in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

.

During this time, Castro's forces remained quite small in numbers, sometimes less than 200 men, while the Cuban army and police force numbered between 30,000 and 40,000 in strength. Yet, nearly every time the Cuban military fought against the revolutionaries, the army was forced to retreat. An arms embargo – imposed on the Cuban government by the United States on 14 March 1958 – contributed significantly to the weakness of Batista's forces. The Cuban air force rapidly deteriorated: it could not repair its airplanes without importing parts from the United States.

Batista finally responded to Castro's efforts with an attack on the mountains called Operation Verano
Operation Verano
Operation Verano was the name given to the summer offensive in 1958 by the Batista government during the Cuban Revolution. The offensive was designed to crush Fidel Castro's revolutionary army, which had been growing in strength in the area of the Sierra Maestra hills since their arrival in Cuba...

, known to the rebels as la Ofensiva. The army sent some 12,000 soldiers, half of them untrained recruits, into the mountains. In a series of small skirmishes, Castro's determined guerrillas defeated the Cuban army. In the Battle of La Plata
Battle of La Plata
The Battle of La Plata was part of Operation Verano, the summer offensive of 1958 launched by the Batistia government during the Cuban Revolution. The battle resulted from a complex plan created by Cuban General Cantillo to directly attack Castro's mountain base in the Sierra Maestra...

, which lasted from 11 July to 21 July 1958, Castro's forces defeated an entire battalion, capturing 240 men while losing just 3 of their own. However, the tide nearly turned on 29 July 1958, when Batista's troops almost destroyed Castro's small army of some 300 men at the Battle of Las Mercedes
Battle of Las Mercedes
The Battle of Las Mercedes was the last battle of Operation Verano, the summer offensive of 1958 launched by the Batista government during the Cuban Revolution. The battle was a trap, designed by Cuban General Eulogio Cantillo to lure Fidel Castro's guerrillas into a place where they could be...

. With his forces pinned down by superior numbers, Castro asked for, and received, a temporary cease-fire on 1 August. Over the next seven days, while fruitless negotiations took place, Castro's forces gradually escaped from the trap. By 8 August, Castro's entire army had escaped back into the mountains, and Operation Verano had effectively ended in failure for the Batista government.

Mid-1958 to January 1959

On 21 August 1958, after the defeat of Batista's ofensiva, Castro's forces began their own offensive. In the "Oriente" province (in the area of the present-day provinces of Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city of Cuba and capital city of Santiago de Cuba Province in the south-eastern area of the island, some south-east of the Cuban capital of Havana....

, Granma
Granma Province
Granma is one of the provinces of Cuba. Its capital is Bayamo. Other towns include Manzanillo and Pilón.-History:...

, Guantánamo
Guantánamo
Guantánamo is a municipality and city in southeast Cuba and capital of Guantánamo Province.Guantánamo is served by the Caimanera port and the site of a famous U.S. Naval base. The area produces sugarcane and cotton wool...

 and Holguín
Holguín
Holguín is a municipality and city, the capital of the Cuban Province of Holguín. It also includes a tourist area, offering beach resorts in the outskirts of the region.-History:...

) Fidel Castro, Raúl Castro and Juan Almeida Bosque
Juan Almeida Bosque
Juan Almeida Bosque was a Cuban politician and one of the original commanders of the Cuban Revolution. After the 1959 revolution, he was a prominent figure in the Communist Party of Cuba; at the time of his death in 2009, he was a Vice-President of the Cuban Council of State and was its third...

 directed attacks on four fronts. Descending from the mountains with new weapons captured during the ofensiva and smuggled in by plane, Castro's forces won a series of initial victories. Castro's major victory at Guisa, and the successful capture of several towns including Maffo, Contramaestre, and Central Oriente, brought the Cauto
Cauto River
The Cauto River or Río Cauto, located in southeast Cuba, is the longest river of Cuba.It flows on a total length of from the Sierra Maestra to the west and north-west, and enters the Caribbean Sea north of Manzanillo. However, it provides only of transport waterway...

 plains under his control.

Meanwhile, three rebel columns, under the command of Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos
Camilo Cienfuegos
Camilo Cienfuegos Gorriarán was a Cuban revolutionary born in Lawton, Havana. Raised in an anarchist family that had left Spain before the Spanish Civil War, he became a key figure of the Cuban Revolution, along with Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Juan Almeida Bosque, and Raúl Castro.-Political...

 and Jaime Vega, proceeded westward toward Santa Clara
Santa Clara, Cuba
Santa Clara is the capital city of the Cuban province of Villa Clara. It is located in the most central region of the province and almost in the most central region of the country.- History :Santa Clara was founded by 175 people on July 15th, 1689...

, the capital of Villa Clara Province
Villa Clara Province
Villa Clara is one of the provinces of Cuba. It is located in the central region of the island bordering with the Atlantic at north, Matanzas Province by west, Sancti Spiritus by east, and Cienfuegos on the South. Villa Clara shares with Cienfuegos and Sancti Spiritus on the south the Escambray...

. Batista's forces ambushed and destroyed Jaime Vega's column, but the surviving two columns reached the central provinces, where they joined efforts with several other resistance groups not under the command of Castro. According to Faria, when Che Guevara's column passed through the province of Las Villas, and specifically through the Escambray Mountains
Escambray Mountains
The Escambray Mountains are a mountain range in the central region of Cuba, in the provinces of Sancti Spíritus, Cienfuegos and Villa Clara....

 – where the anticommunist Revolutionary Directorate forces (who became known as the 13 March Movement) had been fighting Batista's army for many months – friction developed between the two groups of rebels. Nonetheless, the combined rebel army continued the offensive, and Cienfuegos won a key victory in the Battle of Yaguajay
Battle of Yaguajay
The Battle of Yaguajay was a decisive victory for the Cuban Revolutionaries over the soldiers of the Batista government near the city of Santa Clara in Cuba during the Cuban Revolution.-Background:...

 on 30 December 1958, earning him the nickname "The Hero of Yaguajay".

On 31 December 1958, the Battle of Santa Clara
Battle of Santa Clara
The Battle of Santa Clara was a series of events in late December 1958 that led to the capture of the Cuban city of Santa Clara by revolutionaries under the command of Che Guevara...

 took place in a scene of great confusion. The city of Santa Clara
Santa Clara, Cuba
Santa Clara is the capital city of the Cuban province of Villa Clara. It is located in the most central region of the province and almost in the most central region of the country.- History :Santa Clara was founded by 175 people on July 15th, 1689...

 fell to the combined forces of Che Guevara, Cienfuegos, Revolutionary Directorate (RD) rebels led by Comandantes Rolando Cubela, Juan ("El Mejicano") Abrahantes, and William Alexander Morgan
William Alexander Morgan
William Alexander Morgan was a United States citizen who fought in the Cuban Revolution. He was one of only two foreign nationals to hold the rank of Comandante in the revolutionary forces....

. News of these defeats caused Batista to panic. He fled Cuba for the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

 just hours later on 1 January 1959. Comandante William Alexander Morgan, leading RD rebel forces, continued fighting as Batista departed, and had captured the city of Cienfuegos
Cienfuegos
Cienfuegos is a city on the southern coast of Cuba, capital of Cienfuegos Province. It is located about from Havana, and has a population of 150,000. The city is dubbed La Perla del Sur...

 by 2 January. Castro learned of Batista's flight in the morning and immediately started negotiations to take over Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city of Cuba and capital city of Santiago de Cuba Province in the south-eastern area of the island, some south-east of the Cuban capital of Havana....

. On 2 January, the military commander in the city, Colonel Rubido, ordered his soldiers not to fight, and Castro's forces took over the city. The forces of Guevara and Cienfuegos entered Havana at about the same time. They had met no opposition on their journey from Santa Clara to Cuba's capital. Castro himself arrived in Havana on 8 January after a long victory march. His choice for president, Manuel Urrutia Lleó
Manuel Urrutia Lleó
Manuel Urrutia Lleó was a liberal Cuban lawyer and politician. Urrutia campaigned against the Gerardo Machado government and the second presidency of Fulgencio Batista during the 1950s, before serving as president in the first revolutionary government of 1959...

, took office on the 3rd.

Post-1959: After the revolution

Castro later travelled to the United States to explain his revolution. He said, "I know what the world thinks of us, we are Communists, and of course I have said very clearly that we are not Communists; very clearly."

Hundreds of suspected Batista-era agents, policemen and soldiers were put on public trial for human rights abuses and war crimes, including murder and torture. Most of those convicted in revolutionary tribunals of political crimes were executed by firing squad, and the rest received long prison sentences. One of the most notorious examples of revolutionary justice was the execution of over 70 captured Batista regime soldiers, directed by Raúl Castro after the capture of Santiago
Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city of Cuba and capital city of Santiago de Cuba Province in the south-eastern area of the island, some south-east of the Cuban capital of Havana....

. For his part in Havana, Che Guevara was appointed supreme prosecutor in La Cabaña Fortress. This was part of a large-scale attempt by Fidel Castro to cleanse the security forces of Batista loyalists and potential opponents of the new revolutionary regime. Others were fortunate enough to be dismissed from the army and police without prosecution, and some high-ranking officials in the ancien régime were exiled as military attachés.

In 1961, after the abortive US-backed Bay of Pigs Invasion
Bay of Pigs Invasion
The Bay of Pigs Invasion was an unsuccessful action by a CIA-trained force of Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba, with support and encouragement from the US government, in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro. The invasion was launched in April 1961, less than three months...

, the new Cuban government nationalized all property held by religious organizations, including the dominant Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. Hundreds of members of the church, including a bishop, were permanently expelled from the nation, with the new Cuban government being declared officially atheist
State atheism
State atheism is the official "promotion of atheism" by a government, sometimes combined with active suppression of religious freedom and practice...

. Education also saw significant changes – private schools were banned and the progressively socialist state assumed greater responsibility for children.

According to geographer and Cuban Comandante Antonio Núñez Jiménez
Antonio Núñez Jiménez
Antonio Núñez Jiménez was a Cuban revolutionary and academic. He was born in Alquízar, Havana Province. Núñez received his first doctorate from the University of Havana in 1950, and would later receive a second from the Lomonosov University of Moscow...

, 75% of Cuba’s best arable land was owned by foreign individuals or foreign (mostly American) companies at the time of the revolution. One of the first policies of the newly formed Cuban government was eliminating illiteracy and implementing land reforms. Land reform efforts helped to raise living standards by subdividing larger holdings into cooperative
Cooperative
A cooperative is a business organization owned and operated by a group of individuals for their mutual benefit...

s. Comandante Sori Marin, nominally in charge of land reform, objected and fled, but was eventually executed. Many other non-Marxist, anti-Batista rebel leaders were forced into exile, purged in executions, or eliminated in failed uprisings such as that of the Beaton brothers.

Shortly after taking power, Castro also created a revolutionary militia to expand his power base among the former rebels and the supportive population. Castro also created the informant
Informant
An informant is a person who provides privileged information about a person or organization to an agency. The term is usually used within the law enforcement world, where they are officially known as confidential or criminal informants , and can often refer pejoratively to the supply of information...

 Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs) in late September 1960. CDRs were tasked with keeping "vigilance against counter-revolutionary activity," with local CDRs keeping a detailed record of each neighborhood’s inhabitants' spending habits, level of contact with foreigners, work and education history, and any "suspicious" behavior. Among the increasingly persecuted groups were homosexual men. The Cuban dissident and exile Reinaldo Arenas
Reinaldo Arenas
Reinaldo Arenas was a Cuban poet, novelist, and playwright who despite his early sympathy for the 1959 revolution, grew critical of and then rebelled against the Cuban government.- Life :...

 wrote about such persecution in his autobiography, Antes Que Anochezca, the basis for the film Before Night Falls
Before Night Falls (film)
Before Night Falls is a 2000 film directed by Julian Schnabel. The screenplay is based on the autobiography of the same name of Reinaldo Arenas, which was published in English in 1993. The screenplay was written by Schnabel, Cunningham O'Keefe, and Lázaro Gómez Carriles...

.

In February 1959, the Ministry for the Recovery of Misappropriated Assets (Ministerio de Recuperación de Bienes Malversados) was created. Cuba began expropriating land and private property under the auspices of the Agrarian Reform Law of 17 May 1959. Farms of any size could be and were seized by the government, while land, businesses, and companies owned by upper- and middle-class Cubans were nationalized (notably, including the plantations owned by Fidel Castro's family). By the end of 1960, the revolutionary government had nationalized more than $25 billion worth of private property owned by Cubans. The Cuban government formally nationalized all foreign-owned property, particularly American holdings, in the nation on 6 August 1960. The United States responded by freezing all Cuban assets on American soil, severing diplomatic ties, and tightening its embargo on Cuba, which is still in place as of 2011. In response to the acts of the Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 administration, Cuba turned to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 for support.
In July 1961, the Integrated Revolutionary Organizations (IRO) was formed by the merger of Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement
26th of July Movement
The 26th of July Movement was the revolutionary organization planned and led by Fidel Castro that in 1959 overthrew the Fulgencio Batista government in Cuba...

, the People's Socialist Party
Popular Socialist Party (Cuba)
The Popular Socialist Party was a communist party in Cuba. Originally called the Communist Party of Cuba , it was formed in the 1925 by a group including Blas Roca, Anibal Escalante, Fabio Grobart and Julio Antonio Mella, who acted as its leader until his assassination in Mexico in 1929. It was...

 led by Blas Roca, and the Revolutionary Directorate of 13 March led by Faure Chomón.
On 26 March 1962, the IRO became the United Party of the Cuban Socialist Revolution (PURSC) which, in turn, became the Communist Party of Cuba
Communist Party of Cuba
The Communist Party of Cuba is the governing political party in Cuba. It is a communist party of the Marxist-Leninist model. The Cuban constitution ascribes the role of the Party to be the "leading force of society and of the state"...

 on 3 October 1965, with Castro as First Secretary
General Secretary
The office of general secretary is staffed by the chief officer of:*The General Secretariat for Macedonia and Thrace, a government agency for the Greek regions of Macedonia and Thrace...

.

In the wake of the revolution, thousands of disaffected anti-Batista rebels, former Batista supporters, and campesinos (Cuban peasants) fled to Cuba's Las Villas province, where an anticommunist underground had been forming since early 1960. Operating out of the Escambray mountain range, these counterrevolutionary rebels, also known as Alzados, made a number of desperate yet unsuccessful attempts to overthrow the Cuban government, including the abortive, United States-backed Bay of Pigs Invasion
Bay of Pigs Invasion
The Bay of Pigs Invasion was an unsuccessful action by a CIA-trained force of Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba, with support and encouragement from the US government, in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro. The invasion was launched in April 1961, less than three months...

 of 1961. In the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation among the Soviet Union, Cuba and the United States in October 1962, during the Cold War...

 of 1962, the United States promised not to invade Cuba in the future; in compliance with this agreement, the U.S. withdrew all support from the Alzados, effectively crippling the resource-starved resistance. This violent conflict lasted until about 1965, and has been branded the War Against the Bandits
War Against the Bandits
The War Against the Bandits was a six-year rebellion in the Escambray Mountains by a group of Cuban insurgents who opposed the new Communist government led by Fidel Castro...

by the Castro regime. It is alternately known as the Escambray Rebellion.

Further reading

  • Castro and the Cuban Revolution,  by Thomas M. Leonard, Greenwood Press, 1999, ISBN 0-313-29979-X
  • Cuban Revolution Reader: A Documentary History of Key Moments in Fidel Castro's Revolution,  by Julio García Luis, Ocean Press, 2008, ISBN 1-920888-89-6
  • Dynamics of the Cuban Revolution: A Marxist Appreciation,  by Joseph Hansen, Pathfinder Press, 1994, ISBN 0-87348-559-9
  • Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba and Then Lost It to the Revolution,  by T. J. English, William Morrow, 2008, ISBN 0-06-114771-0
  • Inside the Cuban Revolution: Fidel Castro and the Urban Underground,  by Julia E. Sweig, Harvard University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-674-01612-2
  • Cuba in Revolution - Escape from a Lost Paradise,  by Miguel A. Faria, Hacienda Publishing, 2002, ISBN 0964107732 http://www.haciendapublishing.com
  • Latin America in the Era of the Cuban Revolution,  by Thomas C. Wright, Praeger Paperback, 2000, ISBN 0-275-96706-9
  • The Cuban Revolution: Origins, Course, and Legacy,  by Marifeli Perez-Stable, Oxford University Press, 1998, ISBN 0-19-512749-8
  • The Cuban Revolution: Past, Present and Future Perspectives,  by Geraldine Lievesley, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, ISBN 0-333-96853-0
  • The Cuban Revolution: Years of Promise,  by Teo A. Babun, University Press of Florida, 2005, ISBN 0-8130-2860-4
  • The Moncada Attack: Birth of the Cuban Revolution,  by Antonio Rafael De LA Cova, University of South Carolina Press, 2007, ISBN 1-57003-672-1
  • The Origins of the Cuban Revolution Reconsidered,  by Samuel Farber, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006, ISBN 0-8078-5673-8
  • The United States and the Origins of the Cuban Revolution,  by Jules R. Benjamin, Princeton University Press, 1992, ISBN 0-691-02536-3

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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