Cuban Revolution (Summary)
The Cuban Revolution was a civil war that took place in Cuba between December 2, 1956, and January 2, 1959. In this armed struggle, the guerrilla forces, led by Fidel Castro, fought against the government army, under Fulgencio Batista, a dictator who had got into power through a military coup in 1952.
With an armed militia force of only 80 members, Fidel Castro and his brother Raul had sailed from México to Cuba, landing on Las Coloradas beach, on the south coast of the island, on December 2, 1956. In the first military engagement with the government forces they were defeated. The surviving members, however, penetrated the Cuban jungles of Sierra Maestra where they recruited more men, got more weapons, and better organized. Thanks to ideological propaganda and logistical supports they found in small Cuban towns, the 80-member militia force grew into an army of thousands.
The civil war lasted three years, with battles taking place in the mountains and towns. Under the command of Camilo Cienfuegos, Juan Almeida Bosques, and Ernesto "che" Guevara, they carried out surprise attacks on governement military outposts and communication centers. By mid 1958, Fidel and Raul Castro began a four-prong offensive as they headed from south to north, and then westward, towards the capital, La Habana. On December 30, 1958, Camilo Cienfuego defeated an army unit composed of 300 men at the Battle of Yaguajay. The next day, on December 31, three guerrilla units defeated Fulgencio Batista’s army again at the Battle of Santa Clara. Having heard of this defeat, Fulgencio Batista left the island of Cuba and went into exile to the Dominican Republic. Castro’s revolutionary forces entered La Habana on January 2, 1959.
Most of the Cuban people supported Castro’s revolution because he had promised them to bring back democracy and freedom to Cuba. However, far from calling free democratic elections, Fidel Castro, the master of lie and political cheat, aligned with the Soviet Union and the European Eastern block of communist nations, setting up a Marxist regime in Cuba and a new dictatorship, which would last many times longer than the preceding one and would be even crueler, subjecting the island not only to a Marxist tyranny, but also to extreme poverty. Thus, over time, the people of Cuba would be worse off, economically and politically, than they used to be during Fulgencio Batista’s regime.