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The Cuban Revolution: Brief History Essay

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Updated: Jun 23rd, 2020

Cuba’s revolution began after the seizing of power by Batista, a former army sergeant who grabbed power in 1952. From 1940 to 1944, Batista had served for one term as the president of Cuba. In 1952, after noticing that he was unlikely to win the presidential elections, Batista seized power and cancelled the elections. This made many Cubans angry. Among the disgusted Cubans was Fidel Castro. He was contesting for a Congress seat and many people expected him to win it due to his popularity. Fidel therefore started planning Batista’s downfall.

Castro’s first assault was on Moncada, a barrack in which Castro and his group of rebels hoped to get weapons. About 138 rebels were involved in the Moncada assault, which turned out to be a fiasco with most of the rebels getting shot or beaten to death by federal soldiers. Fidel, his brother Raul and other rebels got captured by federal soldiers (“Batista, Castro and Che Guevara” par. 6). The Batista government put the captured rebels, including the Castro brothers in public trial. It was during this trial that Fidel made speeches explaining why it was his civic duty to organize rebellion against Batista. He famously said “History will absolve me” (Minster 1) during one of the long speeches he made. Castro became a hero to his fellow countrymen despite being handed a prison sentence of fifteen years. After three years, Castro, Raul and some rebels were released after Batista gave in to international pressure. The brothers then went to Mexico and recruited exiled Cubans like Cienfuegos. They also recruited Che Guevara, an Argentine medical doctor. Castro and his group of rebels named themselves “the 26 of July Movement” (Minster 1). This was the date when Fidel and his supporters attacked the Moncada Barracks. By November 1956, the men were ready to continue the revolution. They therefore boarded Granma, a small yacht, and headed for the Cuban highlands (Richards 2). Although some of them did not make it there, Batista could not completely eliminate them. They kept on recruiting new members, getting weapons and attacking the military in Cuba. During this time, they also talked to international press and the revolution was published world over.

The victory of the Cuban movement began with the popularity of the “26th of July Movement” (Minster 1). The number of rebels in the mountains was constantly increasing. Other allied groups of rebels in the cities started carrying out sporadic hit-and-run attacks. These groups nearly assassinated the president in one of their attacks. During the summer, Batista sent troops to the mountains to flush out and eliminate the rebels. Some troops feared the guerrilla attacks by the rebels and deserted. Some even switched sides. At the end of the year, Fidel sent Guevara and Cienfuegos to the plains and divided his army. These men went with small armies and captured towns on their way. Guevara captured Santa Clara while Cienfuegos captured the Yaguajay garrison. This enabled them to get munitions that were valuable to the revolution. After these defeats, Batista started negotiating with Fidel.

After realizing that they had been defeated, “Batista and his inner circle” (Minster 1) authorized some men in their administration to deal with the rebels, took what they could and left. Cubans began an uprising, welcoming the rebels in their towns and treating them as heroes. Guevara and Cienfuegos captured and disarmed military installations in the city of Havana on 2nd January. Their leader, Fidel, chose to take it slow, stopping in each town to make speeches. He finally reached Havana on 9th January.

Castro and Raul used their power to wipe out the remnants of the previous regime and muscled out other rebels who played an instrumental part in the revolution. Guevara and Raul were appointed to try and execute people who committed war crimes in the Batista regime. During this time, Fidel had kept his cool and did not come out as the communist he is until the 1960s. Communist Cuba fell out with the U.S. This led to the Bay of Pigs, where the U.S. used Cuban exiles in Miami in a bid to overthrow Fidel (Rayne 1). Fidel, in turn, teamed up with the Soviet Union to put up missiles in the Island. This was primarily to protect Cuba from the U.S. and help the Soviet Union to have strategic missiles near the U.S. The Cuban missile crisis almost led to a nuclear war, but this was diverted by an agreement between the Soviet Union premier and the U.S. president. The U.S. then “imposed a trade embargo in 1962 which led to years of hardship for the Cuban people” (Minster 1). The aforementioned events made Cuba an international player, sending troops to Angola in the 1970s. The Cuban revolution was however replicated in other Latin-American nations with some successes like in the case of Nicaragua. There is no consensus on the success of the Cuban revolution among Cubans. Many Cubans belonging to the middle and upper class hate Fidel. An equally large number of Cubans love him and appreciate the revolution.

Works Cited

. 2011. Web.

Minster, Christopher. . 2012. Web.

Rayne, Trevor. History of the Cuban Revolution. n.d. Web.

Richards, Michael. . 2012. Web.

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