|Timeline of Castro’s Rise to Power
March 1952: Batista suspends constitutional guarantees and abolishes political parties and Congress
July 26th 1953: Castro and followers attempt to capture the Moncada military barracks
Hopes of sparking a revolution amongst the people that would overrun the Batista regime
111 followers participated; 8 killed in combat; 61 killed after the fact by overaggressive Batista endorsed forces
Publicly seen as a sign of extreme military brutality
September 1953: Castro denounces Batista regime in court. Excerpt of speech below…
‘As for me, I know that prison will be hard, harder than it has been for anyone, filled with threats, with callous and cruel barbarity, but I do not fear it, just as I do not fear the fury of the despicable tyrant that tore out the lives of seventy of my brothers. Condemn me, it does not matter, history will absolve me.’
– Fidel Castro
May 1955: Batista signs amnesty bill for Castro and his comrades in light of public support
July 1955: Castro flees Cuba, like his brother Raul, for Mexico, in order to train a revolutionary force without fear of assassination from Batista
Plan relied on the grass-root organizations in Cuba to spark mass protests throughout Cuba
Plan B involved the commencement of a rural guerrilla campaign
January 1956: Castro denies any and all ties with the Communist party when rumors surface which Castro claims were supported by Batista
October 1956: Fidel and Che Guevara meet. Meanwhile, the revolutionary force is deemed ready for combat.
Nov. 25th, 1956: Castro’s team loads into a boat with 84 men and embarks for Cuba. Technical difficulties caused the boat to be delayed two days, only after the crew was forced to abandon supplies due to the storm.
Dec. 2nd, 1956: Unaware of the delay, Frank Pais attempted to stage an uprising in Santiago, which failed miserably.
Dec. 4th, 1956: Castro and his crew arrive on the Cuban shores in which they were hunted until only 16 men survived. These survivors fled into the Sierra Maestra.
February 1957: Castro releases his first manifesto in which he preaches for a liberated and free Cuba
Spring 1957: The rebels’ philosophy of paying for the food they took from the peasants and the persecution of wrong doers in the Sierra Maestra endeared the rebels to the peasants.
March 1957: New York Times journalist, Herbert L. Matthews is smuggled into the rebels’ camp in which Castro presents his forces as immensely stronger than reality, a form of propaganda which gives the revolution further support and credibility.
March 1957: Student-led organization attempted to assassinate Batista by storming the National Palace, however, this drastically failed
August 1957: Protest strikes spread across Cuba due to the murder of Frank Pais by the police
Spring 1958: Rebel forces control a large area of the Sierra Maestra and released accurate military reports through Radio Rebelde which contrasted the fantasies of the pro-Batista media
Rebels set up rudimentary hospitals, a printing press, and workshops for wartime goods
April 9th, 1958: Castro was pressured into endorsing a strike that was considered a complete failure which led to Castro’s distancing from any and all parties.
April 1958: Castro releases statement to reassure business elite
‘I know revolution sounds like bitter medicine to many businessmen. But after the first shock, they will find it a boon – no more thieving tax collectors, no plundering army chieftains or bribe-hungry officials to bleed them white.’
– Fidel Castro
May 1958: Castro releases the Caracas Pact, which promotes agrarian reform, restoration of constitutional and democratic rights, and the promise of economic and social progress
Jan. 1st, 1959: Batista flees to the Dominican Republic; Castro calls for a general strike to overthrow the temporary junta that replaces him; by nightfall the Junta collapses.
Jan. 8th, 1959: Fidel Castro arrives in Havana and employs his own provisional government