forcing right-wing dictator Fulgencio Batista into exile, Castro becomes leader
of his country on this day.
had spent years in a guerilla campaign to topple Batista. On July 26, 1953, Castro
led around 160 rebels in an attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba,
Cuba's second largest military base. The mission was a disaster and Castro lost
half his men.
was arrested and put on trial for conspiring to overthrow the Cuban government.
Castro justified his actions as an attempt to get democracy restored in Cuba.
He was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
years later Batista granted a general amnesty to all political prisoners, including
and his brother Raul left Cuba for Mexico where they joined up with Ernesto "Che"
December 2, 1956, Castro and 81 armed men, landed on the Cuban coast. All but
12 were killed or captured except for Castro, Raul, Che, and nine others. They
retreated to the Sierra Maestra mountain range from which they coordinated a guerilla
war against the Batista regime. Castro had strong support amongst the peasantry,
whilst the USA supported Batista's attempts to flatten Castro's revolutionary
the middle of 1958 a number of other Cuban groups were vocally opposing Batista,
and the United States ended military aid to his regime.
Guevara, and the 26th July forces, attacked the city of Santa Clara and Batista's
forces were beaten. Batista fled to the Dominican Republic on January 1, 1959.
fewer than 1,000 men left, Castro took control of the 30,000 strong Cuban army
and enjoyed considerable popular support.
USA initially recognized Castro, but withdrew support when Castro declared a Marxist
number of Cuba's wealthiest citizens retreated to the USA where they joined forces
with the CIA. In April 1961, these exiles attempted an invasion of Cuba in what
came to be known as the abortive 'Bay of Pigs' attack.
Soviet Union responded to the "Bay of Pigs" attack by supporting Castro
by placing nuclear missiles on the island, which led to the "Cuban Missile