Timeline of Castro’s Rise to Power March 1952

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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

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