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The Spirit Of Moncada:  Fidel Castro's 
Rise To Power, 1953 - 1959
CSC 1984
SUBJECT AREA Foreign Policy
Author:     BOCKMAN, Larry James, Major, U.S.
            Marine Corps
Title:      The Spirit of Moncada:  Fidel Castro's
            Rise to Power, 1953-1959
Publisher:  Marine Corps Command and Staff College
Date:       1 April 1984
     Since his overthrow of  President  Batista in 1959, the
degree  of influence that Fidel Castro  has  exercised  over
worldwide political and military events has been astounding.
His reach has far exceeded the  borders  of  the tiny island
nation  he  rules.  Not  infrequently,  great  and  emerging
nations alike have altered their most diligent strategies in
response to  the  Cuban leader's interpretation of the world
order.   How  did  an  obscure,  middle-class lawyer with no
military training first rise to such prominence?  The object
of this study is to discover the answer to that question.
     The  essay opens with  a  brief  discussion  of  Cuba's
geographic,  demographic  and  historic  heritages.  This is
followed by  a  section    that  outlines  the major economic,
social, political  and  military  factors  which  forced the
climate for Castro's insurrection.  The  main  body  of  the
study  follows  with  an  examination  of  the  insurrection
itself.  Included are detailed historical events, strategies
and  tactics,   beginning   with   Castro's  background  and
proceeding through  his  emergence  at the head of the Cuban
government.  Both sides of the conflict are presented, where
appropriate, to  maintain balance.  The final section of the
paper  contains an analysis of the major elements leading to
Castro's  victory.  These encompass, among others:  the role
of   the   United   States,   Castro's   guerrilla   warfare
philosophy, Batista's  counter-guerrilla  tactics,  and  the
Castro persona.
     This  study  relied  heavily  upon previously published
documents and  books  concerning various aspects of Castro's
background  and  rise  to  power.  Particularly  useful were
those  works  written through  eyewitness  accounts  of  the
actual events addressed in the paper.
                   WAR SINCE 1945 SEMINAR
                   The Spirit of Moncada:
          Fidel Castro's Rise to Power, 1953-1959
              Major Larry James Bockman, USMC
                         2 April 1984
              Marine Corps Command and Staff College
          Marine Corps Development and Education Command
                     Quantico, Virginia  22134
     I owe a debt of gratitude to a number of people for
their professional assistance, guidance, morale support  and
encouragement.  They have my sincere appreciation.   Of the
many,   I  would  like  to   single-out  for  special   thanks
Lieutenant Colonels  Donald  F. Bittner and James F. Foster.
Their editorial and  conceptual  assistance  plus  personal
encouragement assisted me over several obstacles.
     I  would  especially like to acknowledge my debt to the
staff  of  Breckinridge  Library, and particularly Ms. Mary
Porter, the Reference Librarian.  Her  capable and efficient
assistance  in  securing books  and  documents  was  superb.
Likewise,   I  would  like  to  thank  Ms.  Pam  Lohman  for
cheerfully  and  expertly typing this  manuscript,  and  for
never being discouraged by revisions or deadlines.
     Finally, I would like to thank my wife, Karen.  Without
her editorial assistance, moral support and encouragement, I
would not have completed this project.
                 TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction                                               1
     1.  Background                                        4
         Geographic                                        4
         Demographic                                       5
         Historical                                        6
         Notes                                            17
     2.  Inducing Factors to Revolution                   18
         Economic                                         18
         Social                                           25
         Political                                        28
         Military                                         29
         Notes                                            31
     3.  Castro's Insurrection                            32
         The Sergeant and the attorney                    32
         Moncada                                          44
         Movimiento 26 de Julio                           47
         Sierra Maestra                                   55
         Total War                                        75
         Batista's Departure                              94
         Notes                                            97
     4.  Castro's Revolution                             102
         At Long Last; Victory                           103
         The Communist State                             106
         Notes                                           111
     5.  Analyses and Conclusion                         112
         Buerrilla Warfare a la Castro                   113
         Internal Defense                                119
         Neutralization of the United States             124
         El Caudillo                                     128
         Conclusion                                      130
         Notes                                           132
Maps                                                     133
Bibliography                                             137
     In the early 1950's there were many Cubans who believed
that their country was in the midst  of a gradual revolution
that had begun as  early  as  1930.  Political  and economic
upheaval and  social  rebellion  had  become commonplace and
expected throughout Cuban society.  Most viewed this process
as disruptive, but nonetheless necessary if Cuba was ever to
attain constitutionality and honest government.  Among those
Cubans  was  Fidel  Castro,  a  young  lawyer  just entering
practice.   Having  earned an early reputation as a champion
of the  oppressed and underprivileged, Castro was anxious to
use  his political skills to harness  and  guide  the  Cuban
revolutionary spirit.  The spirit was crushed, however, when
Fulgencio Batista seized control of the  Cuban government in
1952.  The  insurrection which Castro  orchestrated  between
1953  and  1959 wad designed to revitalize  the  interrupted
Cuban revolution and install Fidel Castro as its epicenter.
     The  purpose  of this essay is  to  examine  the  Cuban
Onsurgency of 1953-1959, focusing  on  Fidel  Castro's role.
The premise of this effort  is that the detailed examination
of Castro's rise to power and Batista's attempts to stop him
can  increase  our  understanding   of   the   evolution  of
insurgencies and the difficulties associated with countering
them.   The   study's   objective   is   to   achieve   that
understanding by discovering how Castro won, or perhaps more
importantly, why Batista lost.
     The  scope of the study is limited primarily to  events
occurring on  the  island of Cuba between 1953 and 1959.  No
attempt  is  made to consider other  worldly  events  unless
there is  some  direct relationship.  Likewise, recent Cuban
history beyond  Castro's  consolidation  of power in 1959 is
omitted.  Finally,  discussions  and comparisons of  various
revolutionary warfare  ideologies  are  left to another time
and place.  The  terms  insurrection,  revolution, rebellion
and their derivatives are used interchangeably throughout.
     The paper is organized into five chapters following the
introduction.  Maps  are provided at the end, just prior  to
the bibliography.   Chapter  I  provides  a brief background
study  of  Cuba's geography, people and history.  Keying  on
the background established in Chapter I, Chapter II distills
and  investigates   the   economic,  social,  political  and
military  factors  which fueled Cuba's revolutionary  fervor
and ultimately led to Fidel Castro's insurrection.  Chapters
III  and  IV  give  a  detailed account of the rebellion and
Castro's consoldation  of  power,  spanning  the years 1953-
1959.  in  general,  analysis  and conclusions are  withheld
until the final chapter.
     Much  has  been  written  about  Fidel  Castro  and his
revolution.  The sources that were available for  this study
seemed to  fall  into  two  general  categories: those works
written  by  individuals  with  personal  experience in  the
revolution   and  those  works  written  by   scholars   who
researched  the  revolution,  generally through the works of
those  who  had  personal experience.  The  result  of  this
phenomenon is that unbiased sources which address  Castro or
his revolution are rare.
     I  used two techniques to counter this bias.  First,  I
generally discounted or ignored those sources  which  tended
to  be  the  most  biased  (i.e.,  newspaper   accounts  and
periodicals*),  and  concentrated  on  published  books  and
research   studies.  This   approach   was   only  partially
successful because the  majority  of  the books available on
Castro  or  his  revolution  were  written  by  journalists.
Further, those books not written by  journalists  often list
newspaper  accounts  as sources.  Second,  I  developed  the
habit of cross-checking every  source,  consciously  seeking
either  the  opposite  viewpoint  or  commonality  for  each
section of  the  study.  Where  appropriate, I have tried to
present both sides.
     In  retrospect,  I  must admit  that  it  is  extremely
difficult  to remain impartial where  Castro  is  concerned.
The  man  was,  and still is, a hero to millions of  people.
Through the  course  of  my  research I developed a grudging
admiration for  him.  While  I  have  attempted to keep this
paper as dispassionate as  possible,  I am sure that some of
that admiration has filtered through.
*Journalists were notoriously pro-Castro during this period.
                  CHAPTER I:  BACKGROUND
     To   properly   understand   Fidel   Castro   and  the
insurrection  which he led, one must first grasp the essence
of Cuba   itself.  These  initial  pages will provide a brief
overview  of the major geographic, demographic  and historic
factors which have influenced Cuba  and  its people from the
earliest Spanish  explorers  until  Fulgencio Batista's 1952
Geographic 1/
     Cuba, situated approximately 90 miles from the southern
coast of Florida, is  actually  an  archipelago of more than
1600  keys and small islands clustered  around  Cuba  proper
(see Map  #1).  The  island is 745 miles long, and 25 to 120
miles  at   its  narrowest  and  widest  points.  It  boasts
excellent  harbors,  although  only  Havana  has  ever  been
extensively developed.
     Cuba enjoys a moderately warm climate with temperatures
varying little  more  than  10-15 degrees between its summer
and winter months.  The two  seasons are differentiated from
each other mainly by the level  of  rainfall, with the rainy
season running from May through October.  The stable climate
is  marred only by the  island's  vulnerability  to  passing
     The unusually varied terrain is  about 40% mountainous.
The Sierra  Maestra and smaller parallel ranges dominate the
eastern provinces  of  Oriente and Camaguey.  Cuba's highest
mountain, Pico Turquino (over 6,500 feet), is located in the
Sierra  Maestra  range.  In  Las  Villas  province,  in  the
central part of the island, the Trinidad and Sancti-Spiritus
ranges  form  the  so-called Escambray.  Lesser  ranges  are
located  in western Cuba.  The island has no major lakes  or
rivers.  Only eight percent of the land is forested.
     Cuba's most  precious  natural resource is probably her
land.  A  red  soil,  ideal for sugarcane, is  prevalent  in
Matanzas and Camaguey provinces.  Mineral resources found in
sufficient  quantities  to  mine  include:   iron,   copper,
nickel,  chromite,  manganese, tungsten and asphalt.   Since
Cuba  lacks   fossil  fuel,  its  industrial  prospects  are
limited without reliance upon heavy imports.*
Demographic 2/
     Roughly  the  size  of  the state of Pennsylvania, Cuba
supported  a population of roughly 5,830,000 or  132  people
per square mile in 1953.  With a growth rate of 2.5 percent,
the  population  had  increased to an estimated 6,700,000 by
1960.  There were only three other Latin American  countries
with comparable or higher population densities.
*A favorable offshore geological structure may contain large
oil and natural gas reserves.
     In  1953, the population of Cuba was estimated to be 30
percent white (mainly Creole), 20 percent mestizo  (racially
mixed), 49 percent black  and one percent oriental.  While a
certain degree  of racial discrimination and segregation was
practiced in Cuba prior to the 1950's,  race  generally  did
not  play  a  major  causative  role  in  any  of the  Cuban
insurrections.  Race, as an  issue, was largely overshadowed
by the existing class  system.  The  upper-class,  which was
almost  exclusively  white,  excluded   nonwhites  from  its
schools  and  clubs.  Upper-middle-class   whites  generally
avoided  any  type  of  contact with nonwhites except as  in
employer-employee  relationships.  Nonwhites   were  usually
underrepresented in most  professional  clubs.  Usually  the
only  way  nonwhites  could  gain  any  social  prestige was
through memberships  in nonwhite societies, labor unions, or
the Communist Party.  Except for one incident in 1911, there
were no serious racial incidents in Cuba by 1953. 3/
Historic 4/
     Cuba   was   discovered   and  claimed  for  Spain  by
Christopher Columbus during his first voyage on October  26,
1492.  Quickly  settled under  the  guidance  of  its  first
governor, Diego  Velasquez,  the  isle  demonstrated a great
deal  of  commerical  promise  until  the  mid-16th century.
During this period considerable gold  was  found and farming
was developed.   After  1550, however, the island's internal
development  began  to  falter.  Cuba's  strategic  location
guarding the  entrance to the Gulf of Mexico became far more
important than  its  commerical value.  She simply could not
compete with the vast riches being envisioned and discovered
further    to   the   west.   Consequently,  Cuba  became  the
political    and   military    focal  point  for  the  Spanish
exploration,  conquest  and  colonization of  the  Caribbean
Basin and North America.  All Spanish convoys  converged  on
Havana before dispersing throughout the  Gulf or massing for
the dangerous voyage back to Spain.
     Throughout the  17th and 18th centuries Cuba maintained
her role as the epicenter of  Spain's  New  World interests.
The large Spanish population supported an effective militia,
and the island was well garrisoned as a major military base.
Subsidies from Mexico helped cover  this  expense as well as
other costs connected with administration of the colony.  As
far  as  the  European  inhabitants  of  the   island   were
concerned, with  the  possible exception of periodic foreign
and pirate attacks, life during this period was good.
     During the early part of the 19th century, when most of
the other  Spanish colonies in South and Central America had
risen in  revolt,  Cuba remained loyal.  Her largely middle-
class  population was highly educated, prosperous and almost
totally Spanish or Creole (Spaniards born in the New World).
While  slavery   was   present   and  becoming  increasingly
prevalent with  the  growth  of the sugar cane industry, the
large peasant class and/or slave population associated  with
insurrections in  the  other Spanish colonies did not exist.
Moreover, administration of the island had been relatively
liberal and quite benign since the French Bourbons had
ascended to the Spanish throne in 1700.
	This era ended when Ferdinand VII was restored as King
of Spain in 1814.  Ferdinand's abandonment of the previous
Bourbon policies quickly stimulated unrest, and the Cuban
government became further centralized and militarized.  In 
1825, the governor was given extensive repressive powers
based on a state of siege that existed following several
minor revolts.
	Initiating a tendency that dogged them through every
insurrection until Castro, Cubans in the mid-19th century
were slow to revolt largely because they could not agree
upon objectives.  The desire to preserve slavery, the
possiblity of increased trade, and pure intellectual ties
led some to favor annexation to the United States.  The U.S.
Civil War dampened those sentiments, leaving most Creoles
(the main source of dissatisfaction) to favor either
autonomy, including reforms, within the Spanish Empire, or
full independence.  When it bacame clear in the 1860's that
Spain was unwilling to let autonomy be a viable option,
independence became the only realistic revolutionary course.
	The first major Cuban revolt against Spain began in
1868 and lasted for a decade.  This has become known as the
Ten Year's War.  Led by Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, the Cuban
revolutionaires won control over half the island before
finally being defeated.  The United States played a major
role  in support of the rebellion by  providing  the  rebels
with  arms, supplies and a base for propaganda.*  While  the
Pact of Zanjon, which ended the  Ten  Year's  War, guaranteed
that  Spain would relax restrictions and improve conditions,
Creole unrest remained.   Small  revolts  in 1879-1880, 1884
and    1885  also    failed.  Cuban     sugar   exports   were
significantly reduced in  1894  when an increase in the U.S.
tariff on sugar was announced.   The resulting depression in
the island's  economy  only  served  to deepen revolutionary
     In 1895, a  political  coalition,  led  by  Jose Marti,
renewed the insurrection.  Interventionist sentiment and the
mysterious  sinking  of  the  American  battleship Maine  in
Havana's harbor on February 15, 1898, drew the United States
into the Cuban struggle against Spain.  The ensuing Spanish-
American War marked the beginning of a close, though uneven,
relationship between Cuba and the United States that  was to
continue until Castro's rise to power some 60 years later.
     With the signing of the Treaty of Paris  in  1898, Cuba
was  placed under  the  protection  of  the  United  States.
Minimizing the  contributions  of the Cuban insurrectionists
in  the  war  with  Spain, Washington initially  refused  to
recognize the rebel government, preferring instead to occupy
and Americanize the island.  American  occupation  continued
*During  the  succeeding  decades, the United States was  to
repeat these roles many times.
from  1898-1902  with  only marginal success.   Although  an
impressive public  school  system  was  initiated and health
care standards  were  enforced,  the  local  population  was
largely unsupportive   of the U.S. presence.  Recognizing the
long-range  futility   of American control of the island, the
United States initiated steps  in  June 1960, to establish a
democratic  government.  Local   elections   for   municipal
offices were held under the protection  of  U.S.  officials.
in September of that same year, 31 delegates were elected to
a Cuban  Constitutional  Convention  that  drafted the Cuban
Constitution of 1901.  However,  the  United  States decided
not  to  completely  abandon  Cuba.  With  the Congressional
passage of  the  Platt  Amendment  in March 1901, the United
States  guaranteed  itself the right to intervene  in  Cuban
affairs   whenever  appropriate. 5/  Fearing  an  otherwise
indefinite  occupation, the Cuban Constitutional  Convention
reluctantly  agreed  to  adopt  the amendment as part of its
Constitution  of   1901.  On  May  20,  1902,  the  American
occupation ended, and Tomas Estrada Palma, the first elected
president of the new republic, took office.  It was a day of
national happiness  tempered  by  concern  that Cuba had not
seen the last of U.S. interference.
     President  Estrada  Palma  was  honest  and  relatively
effective.  However,  the   discovery   of  his  underhanded
efforts to  obtain  a  second  term  by  inviting the United
States to dispose of his political rivals led to a rebellion
in  1906.  Ironically, while Washington  was  not  initially
inclined to intervene based upon  Estrada  Palma's  request,
the outbreak of  the  rebellion  forced  a  quick  response.
American Marines were dispatched to the island.  This newest
U.S. intervention,  which lasted from 1906-1909, was heavily
criticized by  Cubans.  From  this  time  until  1933, Cuban
Presidents   and   their  political  parties  (Liberals  and
Conservatives)   alternated  in  power  without  substantive
changes  in  policy.*  Both  parties  looked  to  the  Platt
Amendment as a potential way  to  avoid  political defeat by
obtaining    U.S.    military,    economic   or   diplomatic
intervention.   The    overall    impact   of   Washington's
protectionist  role  is  best  summarized in  the  following
     As successor  to  Spain,  as  the  overseer of the
     island's affairs,  the  United  States unwittingly
     perpetuated  the   Cubans'   lack   of   political
     responsibility.  Cubans enjoyed the assurance that
     the United  States would intervene to protect them
     from  foreign  entanglement  or  to   solve  their
     domestic  difficulties,  but  the  situation  only
     encouraged  their   irresponsible   and   indolent
     attitude  toward  their own affairs  and  was  not
     conducive to responsible self-government. 6/
     Of the several Cuban presidents in  office  from  1902-
1933, Gerardo Machado  (Liberal,  1924-1933)  was by far the
worst.  His   reliance  on  unscrupulous  and  often  brutal
tactics to remain in power, coupled with the worldwide sugar
market collapse of  1930, aroused broad, popular opposition.
As  Cuba  again  teetered on the brink of insurrection, U.S.
pressure forced Machado  from  office in 1933.  That August,
*Of the  six  elections  held between 1908 and 1933, each of
the parties won three.
Carlos Manuel  de Cespedes was appointed by the U.S. and the
Cuban army  to  succeed Machado.  His appointment was short-
     Revolutionary  student groups loosely confederated into
an   organization    called   the  Directorio,  had   strongly
supported  reform    through   Machado's   ouster.   To  them,
Cespedes' regime represented an  attempt  to  slow  down the
reformist  movement  that  had been gathering momentum since
the  1920's.  Considering  Cespedes  merely a stooge of  the
United States, the Directorio, supported by several minority
groups,  was  relentless  in   its  opposition  to  the  new
president.  Meanwhile,  new unrest within the enlisted ranks
of  the  Cuban  army began to erode Cespedes' influence from
another  direction.  Unhappy  with both a proposed reduction
in pay and an order restricting their  promotions, the lower
echelons  of   the  army  inivited  representatives  of  the
Directorio to  meet  with them at Camp Columbia in Havana on
September  4,  1933.  By  the  time  the  students  arrived,
enlisted members of the garrison at Camp Columbia had staged
the so called "Sergeant's Revolt"  and  taken command.  That
same night, Cespedes  handed  over the Presidency to a five-
member commission comprised of students and enlisted members
of the Cuban army.
     The  revolt  of  1933  has  been  called  the "thwarted
revolution"  because  Cubans  looked   for,  but  failed  to
achieve,  a   rapid   solution  to  economic  and  political
problems.  Their hopes resided in a new and younger group of
leaders who believed, not unlike  Franklin  Roosevelt,  that
government  must  take a major role in reform.  At the  same
time they also blamed Cuba's economic problems on the United
States.   Despite  the problems and short duration, the 1933
revolution  had   a  profound  impact  on  subsequent  Cuban
development and events.  University students had experienced
political  power  and  had  stimulated  an  awareness  among
themselves  and  the general population  of  the  need,  and
possibility, of rapid and drastic  change.  In addition, the
revolution weakened U.S. domination of the Cuban economy and
created   opportunities   for  several  sectors   previously
excluded from gaining a bigger share of the national wealth.
Of perhaps the greatest importance was the fact that for the
first time the  Cuban  army  became  a  viable  force in the
governing of  Cuba,  and  an obscure Sergeant by the name of
Fulgencio  Batista Y  Zaldivar,  leader  of  the  Sergeant's
Revolt,  emerged as the self-appointed Chief  of  the  armed
Forces and architect of Cuba's future for many years.
     Of mixed racial ancestry (Caucasian, Negro and Chinese)
and  lower-class origin, Batista ruled Cuba from behind  the
scenes  from  1934  to 1940.  Acting through a succession of
presidents that he personally appointed,  Batista managed to
secure Washington's agreement to the revocation of the Platt
Amendment  in  1934.  He also supported the  drafting  of  a
liberal  constitution  in  1940, but never saw its  precepts
enforced while he was in office.
     The  Constitution  of  1940  was  in many respects  the
embodiment  of the aspirations of the 1933 revolt.  For  the
first time  Cuba  had  a  constitution  that reflected Cuban
ideals and philosophy, rather than  that of a foreign power.
The president would serve  only  one term of four years.  He
could be reelected, but only after remaining out  of  office
for  eight  years.  Many  civil liberties and social welfare
provisions were  defined at great length, and the government
would play a strong role in social and economic development.
Workers were guaranteed  paid  vacations,  minimum wages and
job tenure, with Cuban nationals favored over foreigners  in
the  establishment  of  new industries.  The autonomy of the
University of Havana received full sanction, thus fulfilling
one of the oldest student demands.
     Batista was the first president elected  under  the new
constitution.   Supported   by   a  coalition  of  political
parties,  including  the Communists, he  assumed  office  in
1940.  His administration (1940-1944) coincided  with  World
War II, with Cuba declaring war  on the Axis powers in 1941.
Setting aside  the 1940 constitution before it had even been
executed, Batista declared martial law.
     Although Batista  held  wartime powers, his stewardship
fell short of dictatorial.  He maintained the support of the
landed classes by guaranteeing tax concessions, and actively
sought the backing of labor.  He particularly catered to the
left, allowing the communists  relative freedom of action in
return for their support.  Although not particularly popular
among the  poor  and  some  segments  of  the  working class
because of  the war taxes he imposed, Batista's initial term
as president brought a degree of solidarity and calm to Cuba
that had not been experienced in decades.
     In  1944  and  1948,  Batista permitted free elections,
remaining discreetly in the background while  Ramon Grau San
Martin  (1944-1948)  and  Carlos  Prior Socarras (1948-1952)
sought to fulfill the promises of  1933 and the Constitution
of 1940.  Unfortunately, neither of these Presidents -- both
members of the Autentico (conservative) Party -- was able to
completely remove  the  ubiquitous  political  corruption or
solve Cuba's most  serious economic problems.  The sometimes
stormy eight  year  period  reached  a  perverse climax when
Eduardo  "Eddy" Chibas, demagogic leader of the  opposition
Ortodoxo (liberal) Party, committed suicide while conducting
a weekly  radio broadcast in 1951.  This act was interpreted
by many Cubans as  a  gesture of revulsion at the deplorable
conditions  that  he  had  long  criticized.   Despite   the
turmoil, Cubans had reason to hope that  free elections were
moving their country  toward  democratic stability.  Batista
shattered those hopes, however, on March 10,  1952,  when he
executed  a  coup  to  prevent  the approaching presidential
     Batista  had been precluded from running for reelection
in either 1944 or 1948  by the Cuban Constitution.  Contrary
to his reputation, he smugly awaited  the 1952 election.  in
the  interim,  he  occupied  himself by  manipulating  Cuban
politics  from  behind  the scenes and managing his business
interests  in   Florida.  When   he  began  campaigning  for
reelection in 1952, however,  Batista found that much of his
old political  support had eroded.  Many Cubans still feared
him, recalling his ruthless handling of  political  enemies
and  dissidents  during  the  1930's.  As it became apparent
that his  candidacy had little chance of  success,  Batista
called upon the one element of Cuban society  that  he still
controlled --  the  arms.  Confronted  with the spector of a
military coup, elected officials decided to flee rather than
fight, leaving Batista  unopposed.  When  the  shock of this
unexpected takeover subsided, all  political  elements began
to search for a way to return  to  constitutional democracy,
but the two main political parties (Autentico  and Ortodoxo)
splintered, because their leaders could not agree on whether
or  not  to  organize  armed resistance  or  negotiate  with
Batista for  elections.  Once  again the Cuban stage was set
for revolution.
                Chapter I:  Background
     1/ Priscilla A. Clapp, The  Control  of Local Conflict:
Case Studies:  Volume II (Latin America), (Washington, D.C.:
ACDA, 1969), pp. 71-73.
     2/ Wyatt MacGaffey and Clifford R. Barnett.  Cuba:  Its
People, Its  Society,  Its Culture, (New Haven:  HRAF Press,
1962), pp. 1835.
     3/ Lowry  Nelson.  Rural  Cuba, (Minneapolis:   U.  of
Minnesota Press, 1950), p. 158.
     4/ Unless otherwise noted, this  historical  survey  is
based on  the  following  three  sources:  John  Edwin Fagg,
Cuba, Haiti & The Dominica Republic (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:
Prentice Hall,  Inc.,  1965),  pp. 1-111; Hudson Strode, The
Pageant of Cuba (New York:   Harrison Smith and Robert Haas,
1934), pp. 3-342; and Jaime Suchlicki, Cuba From Columbus to
Castro (New  York:  Charles  Scribner's  Sons, 1974), pp. 3-
     5/ Strode, op. cit., pp. 343-344.  The complete text of
the Amendment is cited.  The Platt  Amendment  also gave the
United  States   the   right   to   establish  naval  bases.
Quantanamo Naval Base, acquired in 1903, is a direct result.
     6/ Jaime Suchlicki,op. cit., p. 105.
     Virtually  all popular revolutions have had their roots
in economic, social, political or  military gievances.  Cuba
was no exception.  Chapter I  offered  a general overview of
historic conditions  leading  to  Batista's 1952 coup.  From
those conditions, Chapter II will isolate  and  explore  the
factors which set the stage for Castro's insurrection.
Economic 1/
     Foreign Control of the Economy.  As noted in Chapter I,
Spanish administration of  Cuba  in  the 18th and early 19th
centuries  had  been  relatively  liberal.  Economic  reform
measures  instituted during the same  period  launched  Cuba
into rapid economic expansion with new sugar markets both in
Europe and North America.   Cuban economic prosperity ended,
however,  when  Ferdinand VII assumed the Spanish throne and
established restrictive  trade  measures and heavy taxation,
all   designed   to   protect  Spanish  goods  from  foreign
competition.  The brunt of these restrictions fell mainly on
Cuban landowners.  Moreover, Ferdinand's return heralded the
resurgence of  Spanish  control over the Cuban economy, thus
creating another  source  of irritation to Cuban landowners.
The combination of these two  circumstances eventually drove
the landowners  to  ally themselves with middle-class groups
in support of a Cuban independence movement  in  the 1890's.
One  consequence  of  this movement was the Spanish-American
     Following  the Spanish-American  War,  Cuba's  economic
base  remained  primarily  in agriculture,  with  sugar  the
largest  cash  crop.  Commerce maintained a  distant  second
place,  while  manufacturing  and   food   processing   were
virtually nonexistent.  With the United States emerging from
the war as both Cuba's protector and  primary trade partner,
Washington  was  under  considerable  pressure from American
business groups  to  annex  the  island  purely for economic
reasons.   Although   the  U.S.  government  resisted  these
urgings, the fact that Cuba represented an excellent capital
outlet  for   American  investors  certainly  could  not  be
ignored.  Consequently,   as   U.S.   investments  in   Cuba
increased  in   the   early   1900's,   the   United  States
increasingly became a stabilizing force in Cuban affairs, as
much  for the protection  of  American  lives  and  business
interests as for strategic considerations.
     The  controversial Platt Amendment became the political
solution to America's duel economic and  strategic  concerns
in Cuba.  As U.S. investments rose from $205 million in 1911
to $919   million  in 1929, American businessmen often sought
the  implementation of the amendment for the  protection  of
their  interests.    2/  Indeed,    most  of    the   military
interventions  by   the  United   States  in  Cuba during this
period arose from concerns that American economic  interests
were being threatened.
     American investments  in  Cuba began to decline sharply
following  the 1929 stock market crash.  Cuban prosperity of
the 1920's was dashed by  the  world-wide  financial  crisis
that followed.  In an effort to stabilize Cuba's economy and
rekindle American  investments, Washington and Cuba signed a
trade  agreement  in  1934.  This  agreement  reduced   U.S.
tariffs and  sugar  quotas,  and guaranteed Cuba higher than
world market prices for its sugar crop.
     Between  1935  and  1959,  Cuban-American economic ties
remained  relatively stable.  American  commitments  totaled
approximately $713 million by 1954, and between $800 million
and $1 billion by 1958. 3/  The United States,  as  a market
for  sugar  and a source of imports, continued to carry much
influence in Cuba.  In 1955, for example, the U.S. purchased
73.4 percent of  Cuba's  total  exports, while Cuba obtained
68.9 percent  of  her imports from the United States. 4/  At
that time, sugar and sugar  by-products  accounted  for 79.8
percent of Cuba's exports. 5/  American  business  interests
by  the  mid-1950's  controlled  over half of Cuba's  public
railroads, about 40 percent of her sugar production and over
90  percent of her utilities (telephone  and  electric).  6/
Cuba's efforts to institute tariffs to protect her fledgling
non-sugar  industries  were  generally  unsuccessful because
Cuban producers, attempting to establish themselves in these
areas,  were  never able to  compete  with  the  quality  of
American-made goods.  In  summation,  it  is  significant to
note that while Cuban-American economic ties brought obvious
prosperity to  limited  segments of the island's population,
they did so only at the expense of Cuba's national potential
and economic independence.
     Land  Reform.  During the early colonial period, 'Spain
awarded large  land tracts (haciendas) to certain colonists.
Spain later attempted to reverse this trend in the late 18th
and  early  19th  centuries  by   subdividing  some  of  the
haciendas into small tracts  and  selling  them in odd sized
parcels.  Most  were  purchased  by  business  groups,  some
remained in the hands of large landholders and  a  few  were
bought by small-scale farmers.
     Unfortunately,  economic  and  technological factors of
the  time  worked  to  countermand  this  first  attempt  at
agrarian reform.  During the same period, the sugar industry
began  its  rapid  expansion  into  a  position  of  extreme
dominance   in   the   Cuban  economy.  The  application  of
steampower plus other technological advances, both increased
the efficiency of  sugar  production and opened new markets.
The Cuban sugar industry received its  greatest boost in the
late 19th century  when  a  precipitous drop in steel prices
made the construction of railroads on the island financially
feasible.   Until then, the  antiquated means of transporting
sugar cane  had limited mill size and production.  Railroads
greatly increased  the  territory  that  an  individual mill
could   support.  This  breakthrough  convinced  most  sugar
corporations that  the way to increase profits was to assume
control over all aspects of sugar production, from the field
through the mill.  Accordingly, throughout the late 19th and
early  20th  centuries,  these  corporations  launched major
efforts to acquire their own land.  Small sugar cane farmers
were  largely  eliminated   in   this  process.  Those  that
resisted were either coerced  to  sell or bludgeoned with he
Cuban  legal system  until  hey  acquiesced.  As  a  result,
although sugar  production  increased  markedly between 1877
and 1915,  the  number of mills decreased from 1,190 to 170.
Meanwhile,  the  sugar  corporations  and  large  landowners
increased  their control of Cuba's agricultural land to over
76 percent. 7/
     Throughout  the  1920's,  and  particularly during  the
Depression, various  Cuban  political  groups  agitated  for
agrarian  reform.  Their  demands concentrated primarily  on
greater  government  control over the sugar corporations and
redistribution of  the  large  estates  among  the landless.
These  very  issues  were  among the major causative factors
leading  to  the 1933 Revolution and the ouster of President
Machado.   A series of sugar control acts enacted during the
mid  and  late 1930's followed, but the politically powerful
landowners and sugar corporations  saw little actual loss of
control.  A   provision   in  the  1940  Cuban  Constitution
designed  to  fragment  the  large   estates   was   equally
ineffective since  it was never enforced.  President Batista
and his successors  valued  the support of the wealthy land-
owners   too   much  to  alienate  them  by  executing  this
particular law.  Agrarian reform remained a major issue into
the  1950's  when  Fidel  Castro used the simple appeal that
those who  farmed the land should own it.  However, Castro's
position on agricultural reform did not gain him significant
support from the Cuban peasants until the end of his revolt.
Many peasants never  had  an  opportunity  to hear his ideas
until the later phases  of  the conflict, and those that did
usually did not understand them because they were couched in
such  heavy  revolutionary rhetoric.   Nevertheless,  Castro
continued   to   propagandize   the   evils   of   Batista's
agricultural  policies  throughout the revolt, using his own
reformist ideas as part of his revolutionary platform.
     Unemployment.  Because  of  Cuba's  one  crop  economy,
thousands of  Cubans  faced    several  months of unemployment
every year.   Potential  full  employment existed only 4 to 6
months of  the  year  when  sugar  was  being  harvested and
brought to the mills.  The spector of a  bad  harvest or low
world demand  for sugar only served to compound the problem.
Sugar workers, unable to find  other  work  during  the off-
season,  were  reduced  to  living  on  credit or asking for
handouts to survive.   This situation was more severe in the
rural  areas  where  alternate  jobs   were  not  available.
Moreover, rural workers frequently migrated to the cities in
search of employment, where they helped worsen the situation
in urban areas.  They often settled in city  slums,  usually
becoming a  source  of political unrest and agitation.  U.S.
Department of  Commerce  figures  indicate  that  400,000  -
450,000  workers  (over  20 percent of the work force)  were
unemployed during  the  1952 off-season.  At the peak of the
1953 harvest, 174,000, or  eight percent, were still looking
for work. 8/
     Labor fared very badly during the late 1920's and early
1930's when Cuba's economy  was in the doldrums.  Government
attempts  to stabilize the economy often eliminated the  few
existing worker protections.  Labor unions were illegal, and
labor  organizers  were  often  prosecuted  and  imprisoned.
Conditions became  so  intolerable by 1933 that many workers
struck  against   the   government,   helping  to  overthrow
President    Machado.  Batista    eventually   checked   the
revolutionary  tendency of the labor movement by  legalizing
labor   unions    and   promising   concessions   to   their
organizers. 9/
     Urban  labor  conditions  improved  dramatically  under
Batista's  tutelage,  as  many  social  and  labor  measures
(minimum  wage,  vacations,  bonuses, working hours, medical
benefits) were  incorporated  into  the  1940  Constitution.
However, labor conditions for rural workers remained largely
unchanged   as   the   unemployment   situation   was    not
realistically  addressed.  Ironically, the advent  of  labor
unions and their often excessive demands tended to lead many
companies into bankruptcy and stymie  the  growth of others.
Obviously,   such  instances  only  served  to  deepen   the
unemployment situation.
     Class  System.  Not unlike most countries emerging from
colonial  rule,  Cuba  had  a  fairly well entrenched  class
system, loosely  defined  by  economic  stature.  The upper-
class consisted  of  the landed and moneyed class, owners of
businesses and plantations, remnants of  the  old  elite  or
self-made individuals who had amassed their wealth through a
combination  of  business and politics.  At the opposite end
of the spectrum was the lower-class,  most  who  made  their
living  in  the  fields  and   factories   of  the  country.
Professionals, small merchants, army officers and government
workers occupied the  levels between the above extremes, and
generally comprised the middle-class.
     Upward mobility from the  lower-class,  especially  the
rural lower-class, was  difficult at best.  The period 1933-
1959  saw  some improvement in  the  lot  of  urban  workers
because of the aforementioned labor movements.  In  isolated
instances, industrial workers or  their  offspring were able
to   move  into  the  lower-middle-class  through  education
opportunities.   Interestingly, social conditions during the
1956-1959  insurrection against  Batista  were  considerably
better   than   they  had  ever   been.  General   worldwide
prosperity, plus the demands  of the Korean War, kept Cuba's
sugar exports high.  During  this  same  period wage earners
were receiving the biggest share of the national income they
had ever experienced, 65 percent between 1950 and 1954.  Per
capita  income,  while  not high by U.S. standards, averaged
$312 per year, ranking  as  one  of  the  highest  in  Latin
America at  the  time. 10/  Consequently,  while  Cuba  was
certainly no economic paradise,  it  is  not surprising that
the insurrection  garnered  little  support  from  the well-
organized,  politically-influential  labor  unions  and  the
industrial workers they represented.
     Middle-class  intellectuals, on the other hand, unhappy
with  their  economic   position  and  frustrated  by  their
inability to  breach  the political power held by the upper-
class, were a frequent source  of  revolutionary  spirit  in
Cuba.*  In Cuba, upward mobility  was  marked  by education;
lower-class and lower-middle-class  aspirations  were fueled
by it.  A good  education  leading to a degree as a lawyer,
doctor or  teacher  was virtually the only way an individual
could hope to improve his economic position.  Paradoxically,
the undiversified nature  of  the Cuban economy often forced
these  newly  trained,  middle-class professionals to settle
for occupations far below the  levels  for  which  they were
qualified.  This under-employment was  a  constant source of
frustration for individuals so  afflicted;  it not only cost
them  wealth,  but more importantly, deprived  them  of  the
*This is  not  unique  to  Cuba.  For example, the American,
French, and  Russian  revolutions all had their roots in the
prestige  they  thought  they  deserved.  Inevitably,  these
professionals  were   frequently   dissatisfied  with  their
society and often sought to  change it, usually through some
sort   of   revolutionary   movement.  Thus,   every   Cuban
insurrection  from  the  mid-1800's   onward   was  lead  by
individuals and  segments  from the middle-class who had the
intellectual ability, education, and  skills  to provide the
appropriate organization, leadership, articulation of goals,
and action.*
     The impracticality of  many  of the idealistic programs
espoused by the middle-class doomed most  of their movements
to failure even before they had started.  Their general lack
of  ability  to  institute  those programs on which they had
risen to power only seemed to  hasten  the  return of other,
more oppressive  forms  of  government.  The frustration and
disillusionment  resulting from their failures usually  laid
the ground  work  for future movements.  Understandably, the
cyclical nature of these revolutions and counter-revolutions
tended  to  destabilize and fragment Cuban politics from the
1860's to 1959.
     Urbanization.  The  rapid  expansion   of   the   sugar
corporations in the early 1900's gave tremendous impetus  to
urban growth.  As  small  landowners and tenant farmers were
*Even Castro's organization, which purported to  have strong
rural roots,  actually  had  very little active support from
the  rural  lower-class  until   the   last   days   of  the
insurrection.  It  was,  in fact, composed almost totally of
members of the middle-class.
displaced    by    land  appropriation    schemes   and   mill
modernizations,  they    began  to  seek other jobs and higher
wages in the cities.     Thus,  by  1953,  residents  of Cuban
cities and bateyes (small communities established near sugar
mills) accounted  for  57%  of  the  total  population.  11/
Disappointed by what they found upon arrival  in the cities,
these new  urban  migrants  formed  the  core  of  the labor
movement that  ousted  President  Machado  in 1933.  The new
government  established  by  Batista  took  a  much  greater
interest  in  their  plight.  Legislation  was  passed  that
offered these new urbanities more security than they had had
previously in either the city or the country.   As a result,
the  guarantees provided a stabilizing force  in  the  Cuban
society;  urban  workers  generally  supported the incumbent
government, as evidenced by their refusal to join the called
general strikes  against  Batista  in the mid-1950's.  Thus,
contrary  to  classic  Marxist theory, the rural Cubans  who
elected  not  to  move  toward  urbanization were  the  most
susceptible  to Castro's appeals.   This  occurred  for  one
basic reason:  the rural poor generally did not benefit from
the economic improvements their city brethren had won.
     Latin  American  constitutions have often  been  filled
with idealistic goals which in reality were too difficult to
attain.  The  Cuban  Constitutions  of  1901  and  1940, and
subsequent  revisions  of  the  electorial  codes,  were  no
exceptions.  All were written in such a way as to allow wide
popular  participation  in the electorial process.  However,
political  realities  such  as   "personalismo"  (personality
cults), jealous rivalries, unlawful  political pressure, and
occasional  applications  of  force,  kept  Cuba's political
process in constant turmoil.  Political parties not in power
were  suspicous  of the incumbent's promises and intentions;
ruling and  opposition  parties,  usually  loyal  to leaders
rather  than  ideals,  frequently  splintered; and alliances
between  political  groups   for  purely  practical  reasons
(usually political survival) seldom endured. 12/
     The   government  of  Cuba,  sustaining   the   Spanish
tradition, was  rarely  free of graft between 1902 and 1959.
Its primary function as a means by  which  politicians could
achieve wealth and  status  understandably  made  incumbents
reluctant to  reform  the system which perpetuated their own
longevity and  interests.  Consequently,  even  Cuba's  most
elementary  economic   and   social   problems  were  seldom
addressed,  and constitutional processes and provisions were
usually bypassed or ignored.  With this  type  of  political
climate  engrained in Cuban society, it is not  dificult  to
understand how Batista was twice able to easily grab power.
     Since their inception following independence  in  1902,
the   Cuban  armed  forces,  to  include  the  police,  were
organized to control internal disorders  rather  than  fight
major  battles  or wars.  It is not an exaggeration  to  say
that  whoever  controlled  the   military,   controlled  the
government.  When Batista seized power in 1933, for example,
he owed  his  success  to  the  armed forces.  In turn, they
eventually owed  their  wealth,  position  and privileges to
him.   Batista   never   forgot   his   military  roots  and
continually nurtured the support of  the military even after
he left office in 1944.  Although Presidents Grau San Martin
and Prio  Socarras  each altered the composition of the high
command to install men more loyal to themselves, no  serious
effort was made to undermine the basic military structure or
budgetary  support   that   Batista   had  carefully  built.
Consequently, when Batista decided to  stage  his 1952 coup,
Cuba's armed  forces  were  quick  to help reestablish their
     By the mid-1950's the  Cuban  armed forces had become a
class unto themselves.   They  were  superior in numbers and
weapons to any opposition force.  13/  They influenced every
segment of Cuban society and  were  more  powerful  than any
political party.  Over  time  they  had  grown  to represent
everything that was repressive about  Batista's  government,
because they were the enforcers of  his policies and purges.
Castro  eventually  came  to  realize  that  this  symbiotic
relationship  between Batista  and  his  armed  forces  made
political,  social or economic change impossible unless  one
resorted to violence.
          Chapter II:  Inducing Factors to Revolution
     1/  Unless  otherwise  noted,  material  on the economic
background  of Cuba is from:  Robert F.  Smith.  The  United
States and  Cuba:  Business  and  Diplomacy, 1917-1960, (New
York:  Bookmen Associated, 1960).
     2/  Foreign  Area Studies Division, Special Warfare Area
Handbook for Cuba, (Washington, D.C.:  SORO, 1961), p. 503.
     3/  Ibid., p. 37.
     4/  Smith, op. cit., p. 166.
     5/  U.S. Department of  Commerce.  Investment  in  Cuba:
Basic Information  for  United States Businessmen, (Washing-
ton, D.C.:  GPO, 1956), p. 139.
     6/  Ibid., p. 10.
     7/  Smith, op. cit., p. 175.
     8/  Department of Commerce, op. cit., p. 23.
     9/  Lowry  Nelson,  Rural  Cuba,  (Minneapolis:  U.  of
Minnesota Press, 1950), pp. 88-92.
     10/ Department of Commerce, op. cit., p. 184.
     11/ Ibid., p. 178.
     12/ Foreign Area Studies Division, op. cit., p. 356.
     13/ Adrian  H.  Jones and Andrew  R.  Molnar.  Internal
Defense Against  Insurgency:  Six  Cases, (Washington, D.C.:
SSRI, The American University, 1966), p.  69.  By  the  late
1950's,  Cuba's  armed forces, to include police  and  para-
military, numbered between 30,000 and 40,000 men.  They were
considered to be well-armed, at  least  in relation to their
traditional role.   Their equipment included tanks and half-
tracks,   both  of  which  were  periodically  used  against
Castro's  insurgents.  The  Cuban  Air Force  had  about  65
aircraft, including both fighters and bombers.
     Castro's  insurrection  began  in  July  1953  with his
attack  on  the  Moncada  Fortress  in Oriente Province, and
ended in  January  1959 when President Batista was forced to
leave the  country.  During  the  intervening  years,  Fidel
Castro planned,  organized and executed a guerrilla war that
brought about the defeat of one of  the largest and best and
well-equipped  armed  forces  in Latin America.  Chapter III
provides a chronological account  of  that  period beginning
with  brief   biographical   sketches  of  the  two  primary
The Sergeant and the Attorney
     In  the  tradition  of the Spanish,  Cubans  have  long
sought  to  choose  their  leaders  based  on the  cults  of
"personalismo" (personality)  or   "caudillo"  (charismatic
leader).  Perhaps  the two finest examples of that tradition
are the two Cubans who  shaped  Cuba's  destiny from 1933 to
the present:   Fulgencio Batista Y Zaldivar and Fidel Castro
Ruz.  A better understanding of their power struggle  during
the 1950's can  be acquired if background on their origin is
     The  two  men  facing each other in the Cuban ring
     were  completely  different  both  physically  and
     mentally.  Batista was fifty-two and Castro twenty-
     seven  when  the attack on the Moncada took place.
     The President  was short, with an olive complexion
     and mestizo features, while his opponent was tall,
     athletic  and   fair   skinned.  Batista   was  an
     ordinary soldier, though he promoted himself  from
     sergeant to general.   Castro  was  a lawyer, more
     interested in  social  causes  than  in  bourgeois
     litigation.  The  President   had   been  born  in
     Oriente, like  Castro, but while Batista came from
     a very humble home, the rebel had been born into a
     comfortably-off landowning family. 1/
     Batista. 2/  The son of Belisario and Carmela  Batista,
Fulgencio  Batista  was  born  in the sugar town of Banes in
early  1901.  His  parents were peasants and descendants  of
the Bany Indians of Oriente province.  His father had been a
sergeant in the Cuban  Army of Liberation and fought against
the  Spanish  during  the Spanish  American  War.  Belisario
Batista began  work in the early 1900's for the United Fruit
Company as a cane  cutter,  and  Fulgencio  learned from his
father  the  rigors of dawn to  dusk  work  in  the  fields.
Intent on  receiving  an  education, Fulgencio attended both
public  night school and a day school ("Los Amigos") run  by
American Quaker missionaries.  At night school he learned to
read and write Spanish; at Los  Amigos  he mastered speaking
and  writing English.  By the time he was  20,  Batista  had
held  jobs  as a cane-cutter, wood cutter, store  attendant,
planter,  carpenter  and  railroad  brakeman.  In  classical
Marxist terms,  his  class  origins  made  him  an excellent
prospect to become a communist revolutionary.
     At  age  20,  Batista  enlisted in  the  army  to  gain
experience and  see the world.  He was initially assigned to
the  Fourth Infantry Division  based  at  Camp  Columbia  in
Havana.   At first, he planned to use his free time to train
as an attorney, but discovered that he had  to  have  a high
school diploma.  Undaunted,  he  enrolled  in  the San Mario
academy  night  school   to   become   a   speedtypist   and
stenographer.  In 1923, Batista  passed  his examination for
corporal and  in 1926, that for sergeant.  Upon promotion to
sergeant  he  was assigned as a recorder to the Councils  of
War of the Cuban War Department.  While there, he discovered
and quickly assimilated  the  arts  of  political  power and
class  privilege.  Educated  in  the full range of the human
condition in  the  Cuba of the early 1900's as few men were,
Batista saw   his  chance  for  power and influence after the
ouster  of  President  Machado.  Without  hesitation, he led
soldiers, corporals  and sergeants in a revolt against their
military   superiors.  Batista's   mutiny    was   supported
throughout the  armed  forces.  Corrupt  officers  made  its
success  inevitable.  On  September  4,  1933,  Batista  was
turned  overnight into a Colonel, and  Chief  of  the  Cuban
Armed Forces.
     As  Chief  of  the  Cuban Armed  Forces,  Batista  soon
realized the  power  of his position.  President Machado had
resigned  as  had  his  U.S.  appointed successor, President
Cespedes.  The five member commission that ruled the country
(of which Batista was  a member) was having a very difficult
time reestablishing the  government.  After several weeks of
watching the new government struggle, Batista finally seized
upon the  situation,  used  his  military position to ensure
success  and  assumed  de  facto control of the  government.
He believed that Cuba had discarded its colonial status only
to become a pawn of foreign capitalism.  Advocating sweeping
social, economic and political reforms,  he  tried  to build
the  Cuba  the  1898 revolution had envisioned.   The  Cuban
Constitution  of  1940 reflected most  of  Batista's  ideas,
although, like the previous Cuban  Constitution  of 1902; it
was more  idealistic  than  practical.  Elected president in
1940, Batista  never  really  had  a  chance  to  enact  the
constitution he  supported.  War time powers temporarily set
aside  constitutional  guarantees until 1944, when his  term
ended.  Consequently,  most  of  the  long  awaited  reforms
sought during the 1933 revolution  had to wait until 1945 to
be  instituted.   While   the   1940-1944   period  was  not
particularly oppressive from economic and social viewpoints,
a considerable amount of political division arose about what
was   best   for  Cuba.  Through  it  all,  Batista  emerged
remarkably unscathed.  He  had  become an inspiration to the
poor because of his humble beginnings and  "bootstraps" rise
to power,  and an idol to his soldiers because he had lifted
them  from   poverty  through  rapid  promotions,  increased
salaries and benefits, and no modicum of class privilege.
     In  1952,  Batista knew that his chances for reelection
were poor; he was generally not attuned with  Cuban politics
after having spent several years living in the United States
managing his  business  interests, and was running seriously
behind in the polls.  However, he also knew that his strong-
man image could easily frighten  the incumbent government as
well as  gain the unconditional support of the regular army.
Batista correctly guessed that wealthy businessmen, peasants
and workers  would  not  be  threatened  by any coup he led.
With  little  fanfare,  Fulgencio   Batista   entered   Camp
Columbia, the principal garrison of  Havana,  on  March  10,
1952.  in less than  12  hours he had deposed President Prio
Socarras and assumed control of  the  government; not a shot
was  fired.  He swept aside the prevailing political parties
since none was led by anyone who had the political seniority
or wherewithall to  oppose  him.  Yet, for all his political
astuteness,  Batista made one mistake; he underestimated the
mental frame of mind of  a generation of young, middle-class
Cubans who were  tired of political cynicism and ready for a
fresh revolutionary start.
     Batista  has  stated that he returned to  politics  and
staged the 1952 coup because he was  the  only  Cuban leader
who could restore the country to  the  path  directed by the
1946  Constitution.   This  altruistic rationale is   arguable
for   two  reasons.  First, Batista's support  for   the  1940
Constitution was always closely  aligned  with  some sort of
political gain that helped solidify his power.  World War II
conviently  precluded  him from ever having to make good his
support.  Second, Batista's  actions following his 1952 coup
were generally  not  those  of a man interested in promoting
the  general  welfare  of his constituents.   While  he  had
numerous opportunities to install  some of the political and
land reforms  that  the  Constitution guaranteed, he instead
chose to provide  the  country with cronyism, repression and
corruption.  The  idealism  that  Batista  espoused  in  the
1930's was replaced by personal aggradizement in the 1950's.
Ironically, while he had been viewed  by  many as a caudillo
(charismatic leader) in 1933, he was  seen  as  just another
usurper in 1952.
     Castro.  Fidel  Castro Ruz was born on August 13, 1927,
in Biran, Oriente province, about  40  miles  form Batista's
birthplace. 3/  His father, Angel  Castro  Y  Argiz,  was  a
Galician who  had come to Cuba as a soldier with the Spanish
army in 1898.   Upon demobilization, Angel Castro elected to
stay on  the  island,  subsequently  working  for the United
Fruit Company  that also employed Belisario Batista.  Unlike
Belisario, Angel  became an overseer for United Fruit and in
1920,  sold the company a strategic piece of land, for which
he was handsomely paid.   That  sale  maked the beginning of
Angel Castro's prosperity  and  eventual  movement  into the
upper-middle-class.  In Fidel Castro's own words:
     I   was   born  into  a  family  of  landowners  in
     comfortable  circumstances.  We   were  considered
     rich and  treated  as such.  I was brought up with
     all the privileges attendant to  a  son  in such a
     family.  Everyone   lavished  attention   on   me,
     flattered,  and  treated  me  differently from the
     other boys we played with  when  we were children.
     These other children went  barefoot  while we wore
     shoes; they were often hungry; at our house, there
     was always a squabble at the table to  get  us  to
     eat. 4/
     By  his  first  marriage, Angel had two children, Lidia
and Pedro Emilio.  Following the death of his first wife, he
married  his  house  servant, Lina  Ruz  Gonzales,  by  whom
fathered seven more:   Angela, Agustina, Ramon, Fidel, Raul,
Ernma  and Juana.  Fidel and  those  born  before  him  were
actually illegitimate  as  Angel  did  not  marry Lina until
sometime  after Fidel's birth. 5/  Of Fidel's eight brothers
and sisters, only Raul, who linked his  fate  to  Fidel from
the beginning,  was  to  play  an  important  part  in Cuban
     At  age seven, Fidel began his primary education at the
Colegio La  Salle,  a Jesuit school in Santiago de Cuba.  He
later  attended   the   Colegio   Dolores,   also  a  Jesuit
institution, from which he  graduated  in  1942.  That  same
year, at age sixteen, Fidel enrolled at the Colegio Belen in
Havana, the most exclusive Jesuit school in the country.  At
Belen  his  best  subjects  were  Agriculture,  Spanish  and
History.  In  1944,  he   was   voted  "the   best   school
athlete." 6/  Fidel graduated the  next year.  In his school
yearbook it was noted:
     1942-1945.   Fidel distinguished himself always  in
     all subjects related to letters.     His  record was
     one of excellence, he  was  a true athlete, always
     defending with  bravery  and pride the flag of the
     school.  He has known how to win the admiration of
     all.   He will make law his career   and  we  do not
     doubt   that  he will fill with brilliant pages the
     book of his life.   He  has  good   timber  and the
     actor in him will not be lacking.   7/
A  prophetic  description indeed, but wrong  on  one  count;
revolution and the  leaderhip of Cuba, instead of law, would
become Fidel's vocation
     Castro entered the  University  of Havana in the autumn
of 1945.  As his school yearbook had  predicated,  he  chose
law  as  his  course  of study.  Of Fidel's early university
career Theodore Draper observed:
     Fidel Castro  was  a classic case of the self-made
     rich man's son  in  a  relatively poor country for
     whom the university was  less  an  institution  of
     learning or  a professional-training school than a
     nursery of hothouse  revolutionaries.  He  chose a
     field  of   study  in  which  the  standards  were
     notoriously  low, the pressure to  study  minimal,
     and  his  future profession  already  overcrowded.
     Since he did not have any real needs to satisfy in
     the school,  did  not  respect  his  teachers, and
     could get by  on his wits and retentive memory, he
     was  easily tempted to get his more meaningful and
     exciting  experiences  in  extra-school  political
     adventures. 8/
Starting a political career while  still  a  young  man  was
somewhat of a Cuban tradition, so Fidel was not particularly
unique.  Perhaps what did make him  standout,  however,  was
the  intensity  with  which  he pursued political goals.  In
Fidel's words:
         From  all  indications,  I  was  born  to be  a
     politician, to be  a  revolutionary.  When  I  was
     eighteen, I was, politically speaking, illiterate.
     Since I  didn't  come from a family of politicians
     or  grow  up  in a political atmosphere, it  would
     have  been  impossible  for  me  to  carry  out  a
     revolutionary  role, or an important revolutionary
     apprenticeship, in a relatively brief time, had  I
     not had a special calling.
         When  I  entered  the  university,  I   had  no
     political background whatsoever.  Until then I was
     basically  interested   in   other   things,   for
     instance, sports,  trips to the countryside -- all
     kinds  of  outlets  that provided an outlet for my
     unbounded natural energy.  I  think  that is where
     my  energy, my fighting spirit, was  channeled  in
     those days.
         At the university, I had the feeling that a new
     field  was  opening  for  me.   I  started thinking
     about my  country's  political  problems -- almost
     without being  conscious  of  it.  I spontaneously
     started to  feel a certain concern, an interest in
     social and political questions. 9/
     Only  two  years  after  he  first   enrolled   at  the
University, Fidel became  involved in with an attempted coup
d'etat.  In 1947, he  joined  a group of revolutionaries who
were  planning  the overthrow of  the  Dominican  Republic's
dictator, General Rafael L. Trujillo.  The exiled Dominican,
General Juan Rodriquez, was  paying  the  expenses,  and the
invasion  had  the  tacit support of Cuba's President  Ramon
Grau San Martin.  While final preparations were  being  made
in Oriente Province, the Dominican delegate  to a meeting of
the Ministers of Foreign Affairs  of  the Pan-American Union
in  Petropolis,  Brazil,  accused  the  Cuban  government of
mounting an  invasion  of his country.  Documentation of his
accusation clearly  showed that the security of the plan had
been broken.  Grau San Martin, embarrassed that these covert
plans  had  been  discovered,  ordered  the  Cuban  Navy  to
intercept the would-be expeditionaries.  The Navy did manage
to apprehend the group at sea, but Fidel  was able to escape
by swimming to shore with a tommy-gun slung round  his neck.
This setback,  like  others  Castro was to experience in the
future,  only  seemed  to inspire Fidel with more  political
     The  planned  coup  was  really  nothing  more  than  a
personality  shift.  While Trujillo's regime  was  extremely
repressive, Rodriquez did  not offer much of an alternative.
Grau  San  Martin, as  a  democratic  reformist,  apparently
supported  the  coup because of its  potential  for  change.
Although little is known about Castro's  reasons for joining
the expedition,  he  evidently  did  so  out  of  a sense of
adventure.  At  the  University  he  quickly  acquired   the
reputation  of  a  rabble-rouser.  He frequently  spoke  out
against  repression,   communism  and  dictatorships.  Fidel
already saw himself  as  the  champion of the oppressed; the
Dominican  Republic  expedition was  an  extension  of  that
fervor.  His   participation  was  particularly  significant
because  it  marked  the first time that he became  actively
involved in a revolutionary cause.
     Castro returned to the University.   However, less than
a year after the abortive attempt to overthrow  Trujillo, he
was on the way to Bogota, Colombia,  as  a  delegate  to the
Anti-Colonist,  Anti-Imperialist, Student Congress that  was
assembling to demonstrate at the 9th Conference of  the Pan-
American Union.*   On the opening day of the conference, the
popular  Colombian  Liberal  Party leader, Jorge Gaitan, was
murdered   while  on  his  way  to   make   a   speech.  His
assassination enraged  liberal  student  groups  who quickly
began to take violent actions against Gaitan's enemies. With
the Pan-American Conference in disarray and the Colombian
*The Student  Congress  was  sponsored  by Colombian liberal
leaders (non-communists)  who  wanted  to  see less American
influence in Latin America.
capital on the verge of  total anarchy, Colombia's President
called the waring factions together and secured an agreement
to  end  the  fighting.   Student  groups  were  accused  of
instigating the  disruption,  so  Castro  and his delegation
were forced to  take refuge in the Cuban embassy.  They were
later smuggled out and returned to  Cuba  aboard an aircraft
that  was   transporting   cattle.  Castro's   role  in  the
"Bogotazo,"  as  the riot became known, has apparently never
been  clearly defined, other than to say that it matched his
previous pattern of supporting liberal causes.
     After his  return  to  the  University,  Castro married
fellow-student, Mirtha  Diaz  Balart.  They  then had a son,
Fidelito, born  in  1949.  Fidel  became  President  of  the
Association of  Law  Students  that same year and eventually
graduated with a law degree in 1950.
     Following   graduation,   Fidel   established   a   law
partnership   with   two  other   attorneys.  However,   his
proclivity  to  accept   cases   with  social  or  political
notoriety brought him little monetary  reward, although they
did gain him considerable  publicity.  Meanwhile, Castro was
attracted  by  the  anti-government corruption  platform  of
Eduardo "Eddy" Chibas and his Ortodoxo  Party.  Fidel joined
the  Party  and shortly afterwards  became  a  Congressional
candidate for one of the Havana districts in the approaching
1952   elections.  He  was  precluded  from  ever   actually
standing for  the  June 1st election by Batista's March 10th
     Immediately  following  Batista's  coup,  activists  in
Havana began to plan his  ouster,  Fidel  Castro among them.
He first appealed to  the Court of Constitutional Guarantees
on the  ground  that  the  dictator  was  violating the 1940
Constitution.  A few days later he  petitioned the Emergency
Court of Havana on the same grounds, noting that Batista had
so undermined  and  violated  the Cuban Constitution that he
was  liable to serve over 100  years  in  prison.  Only  the
Court  of  Constitutional  Guarantees  responded,  rejecting
Castro's petition by noting that "revolution is the fount of
law"  and  that   since   Batista   had  regained  power  by
revolutionary   means,   he   could  not  be  considered  an
unconstitutional President. 10/
     As   a   "former"   radical   student   organizer   and
Congressional   candidate,   Castro   was   under   periodic
government   surveillance.  Nevertheless,    frustrated   by
Batista's   coup   and   his  fruitless  legal  attempts  to
countermand it, Fidel joined with Abel  Santamaria  Cuadrado
to form a loose revolutionary organization of  approximately
200  students.*  Their  first priority was to  get  weapons.
Over the  course  of  the  next  few  months  they purchased
shotguns  and .22 caliber semi-automatic rifles  at  various
armories.   At  the  same  time,  they  began  planning  and
training for a raid on one of the regular army's garrisons.
*Santamaria was  an  accountant  employed  by General Motors
(Pontiac) of  Cuba  and  assistant  editor of El Acusador, a
revolutionary paper.
Their plan was to seize the type and number of heavy weapons
and  ammunition  they  would need to carry-out an  effective
     After  months  of  preparation,  Castro  and Santamaria
decided  to  attack  the  military garrisons of Santiago and
Bayamo in Oriente province.  Moncada  Fortress  in  Santiago
was to be the main target, with the attack on the  army post
in Bayamo  a  diversion.  Fidel  did  not  intend  to occupy
Moncada,  only to seize the weapons and  ammunition  in  the
armory, and  withdraw.  Ninety-five  rebels were allotted to
the task.  Armed  only with shotguns and .22 caliber rifles,
and dressed  in  Khaki  uniforms  to  blend with the regular
forces, Castro's men  relied  heavily  upon  surprise.  Once
they had  established  control over the two garrisons, Fidel
hoped  the   regular  troops  would  join  the  anti-Batista
movement.   He  planned  to  distribute  the  weapons to the
revolutionary supporters that he envisioned were everywhere,
thus presenting Batista with a fait d' accompli.
Moncada 11/
     The  attack  led  by  Fidel  Castro on the Moncada
     Barracks in Santiago de Cuba on July 26, 1953, has
     a similar significance for the Cuban Revolution as
     the fall  of  the  Bastille eventually had for the
     French Revolution.   In both cases, their signifi-
     cance  was  symbolic, not practical, and they were
     made important by the events that came after. 12/
     At  5:15  a.m.  on  July 26, 1953, the attempt to seize
Moncada  Fortress    began.  After  staging  at  a  farm   just
outside  Santiago,    Castro's  advance  force    surprised  the
sentries   at   one  of  the  gates  and  entered  the  fort
undetected.   Unfortunately,  the main body of the force was
not so lucky.  Because of poor reconnaissance, the  majority
of the rebels were unfamiliar with  either the layout of the
fort  or  the  streets  of  Santiago.  Approaching  in small
groups  or  in  cars,  several  lost their way without  even
reaching  the  fort.  Castro's car accidently came  face-to-
face with  an  army  patrol;  the  firefight  that  resulted
alerted the rest of the barracks.  The one  group  that  did
penetrate the fort found  themselves  occupying  the  barber
shop rather than the armory.
     Realizing  that  futher  attack  was   hopeless,  Fidel
ordered  a  withdrawal.  Remarkably, until this point,  only
seven  rebels  had  become  casualties,   against   some  50
soldiers.  In  the  military pursuit that followed, however,
approximately  70  rebels  were   killed   (including   Abel
Santamaria),  with  most  of  the casualties occurring after
they had surrendered.  The small group that had attempted to
capture Bayamo  were equally unsuccessful.  Over half of the
group of 27 rebels who were captured, were shot.  Fidel, his
brother  Raul,  and a few others managed to  escape  to  the
Sierra Maestra  Mountains.  They  were  eventually  captured
there,   but   not  harmed  because  of  the  compassion  of
Lieutenant Pedro  Manuel  Sarria  who  knew Fidel from their
university days.  In  the  subsequent trials, Castro and the
other survivors  were  sentenced  to  prison  on the Isle of
Pines for terms ranging from six months to 15 years.  During
the trial, Fidel spoke in his own defense  for  five  hours,
voicing  a  general  program of  reform.  He  concluded  his
remarks with:
        I  have  reached  the end of my defense, but  I
     will not  do  what  all lawyers do, asking freedom
     for  the  accused.  I  cannot  ask  that,  when my
     companions   are    already   suffering   in   the
     ignominious prison of the Isle of  Pines.  Send me
     to join  them  and  to  share  their  fate.  It is
     understandable that men of honor should be dead or
     prisoners  in  a  Republic whose  President  is  a
     criminal and a thief ...
        As  for  me,  I know that prison will be harder
     for  me  than it ever has been for anybody, filled
     with threats, ruin and cowardly deeds of rage, but
     I do not fear it, as I do not fear the fury of the
     wretched  tyrant  who snuffed  out  the  lives  of
     seventy  brothers  of  mine.  Condemn me.  It does
     not matter.  History will absolve me. 13/
     Following  the  trials  and  flushed  by  his  victory,
Batista  restored   constitutional   guarantees  and  lifted
censorship.  For the first time, the Cuban people  were able
to hear  the  uncensored  version  of  what  had happened at
Moncada and  the  accusations of Fidel Castro at the trials.
As a result, Castro became somewhat of  a  martyr  among the
anti-Batista  forces.  Batista,   meanwhile,   ordered   new
elections  for  November 1,  1954,  offering  himself  as  a
candidate   with   his  own  election  platform.  The   main
opposition candidate  was  former  president  Ramon Grau San
Martin.   Initially  subsidized  and  encouraged by Batista,
Grau  San  Martin  became  convinced  that  Batista  had  no
intention  of  holding  fair  elections.  Forty-eight  hours
before  the  election he  withdrew  his  candidacy,  leaving
Batista virtually unopposed.   Batista  won  easily,  and on
February 24, 1955, began a new four-year  term-of-office  as
Cuba's President.
Movimiento 26 de Julion (26th of July Movement)
     Isle of  Pines.  The  convicted  survivors  of Moncada,
among them  Fidel  and  Raul  Castro, were imprisoned on the
Isle  of  Pines in October 1953.  The Moncada group resolved
to continue their revolutionary plotting while incarcerated,
and  reorganize  and  train  in  Mexico  upon their release.
Moncada, they reasoned, had  made  them  national heros, and
martyrs; to give up  short  of victory would shame those who
had already died.
     Shortly after his arrival, Fidel organized a  school in
which he  was the sole instructor.  He found a willing group
of students among the veterans of Moncada and the uneducated
peasants who  were  being  held  prisoner.  Fidel's  classes
ranged from history to philosophy, encompassing contemporary
politics and social issues along  the  way.  He  even taught
weapons training (without weapons).  The  school  passed the
time  and  gave  him an excellent opportunity  to  keep  the
revolutionary spark alive and plan for the future.
     Schools of this sort  were  not uncommon at the Isle of
Pines  because the prison was used primarily  for  political
prisoners.  The  prison  was  considered  to  be  a "minimum
security" installation;  prisoners  were often left to their
own devices.  However,  Castro's  school stirred such strong
revolutionary   fervor   among   the  inmates  that  it  was
eventually  closed down, and Fidel was  placed  in  solitary
confinement. 15/
     Meanwhile,  with Batista's position again assured after
the 1955 elections,  several  political leaders demanded the
release  of  political prisoners.  Batista at first turned a
deaf ear.  However, once approved  by  the  Cuban  House  of
Representatives, Batista relented and granted amnesty to all
political prisoners on May 13, 1955.*  Two days later, Fidel
Castro and the other survivors of Moncada were released.
     The Moncada veterans were greeted by their families and
friends at the prison gates,  and  welcomed  throughout  the
Isle  of  Pines. **  A warm reception followed at the railway
station when they arrived in Havana.
     Everyone  wanted  to  see  and  hear Fidel Castro.
     Both the radio and television  services were after
     him and flattering offers ... 16/
It was  not  long,  however, before Castro was reinforced in
his  conviction  that  he would never unseat Batista  if  he
remained in Cuba.***  Every attempt he made  to  address the
people at organized rallies, on  television  or on the radio
*He justified his decision  on the grounds that these men no
longer posed a threat to his power following the elections.
**Fidel's wife and son were not present.  She and  Fidel had
become  estranged  several  years  before, partially because
Fidel could  not support her in the upper-middle-class style
with which she  was  accustomed,  and  partially because her
brother was a close friend and confident of Batista.
***Castro had actually made the decision to leave Cuba while
still in prison.
was   thwarted.  Finally,   the  combination  of  government
suppression and his uncertain leadership position within the
Ortodoxo Party  induced  Fidel  to  leave for Mexico in July
1955, thus  implementing  the  plan  he  had  formulated  in
prison. 17/  In  a  letter  to  a  friend  just prior to his
departure, Castro observed:
        I  am packing for my departure from Cuba, but I
     have had to  borrow  money  even  to  pay  for  my
     passport.  After all, it is not a  millionaire who
     is leaving, only a Cuban who has given and will go
     on giving everything to his country.  All doors to
     a peaceful political struggle have been closed  to
     me.  Like  Marti,*  I  think  the time has come to
     seize our  rights  instead  of asking for them, to
     grab instead of beg for them.  Cuban patience  has
     its limits.
        I will live somewhere in the Carribean.   There
     is no going back possible in this kind of journey,
     and if I  return, it will be with tyranny beheaded
     at my feet. 18/
     Exiled in  Mexico.  Raul  Castro  and most of the other
Moncada rebels were  waiting  for  Fidel  in  Mexico when he
arrived.**  They had gone ahead  after  their  release  from
prison,  and were already engaged in preparations to  invade
Cuba from  Mexico.  Not  long  after  his arrival in Mexico,
Fidel solicited and secured the services of two men who were
to prove invaluable:  Ernesto "Che"*** Guevara and "Colonel"
*Jose  Marti:  Cuban  liberator and national hero.  Died  in
1895 while  fighting  to  free Cuba from Spain's domination.
Primary  influence,  from Cuban perspective, behind Spanish-
American   War.  Reagan  adminstration  plans  to  establish
"Radio Marte" broadcasts to Cuba, named in his honor.
**A  few remained behind to establish underground activities
in Cuba and prepare for Castro's return.
***Nickname given Guevara  by  the  Cubans  while  they were
training in Mexico.  It means "mate."
Alberto Bayo.  Both  would  be  lieutenants to Castro in the
coming years.
     Ernesto "Che"  Guevara.  Ernesto  Guevara  was  born in
Cordoba,  Argentina,  in  1928.  The son  of  an  architect-
engineer, he was raised as a firm member of the middle-class
in Buenos Aires.  As a youth, Guevara showed himself to be a
carefree, unconventional and tireless boy.  Only his asthma,
which was to  plague  him  throughout life, slowed him down.
Early-on he displayed a deep interest  and  concern  for the
plight  of  the  common  Argentinian,  often  preferring the
company of members of the  lower-classes to those of his own
socio-economic level.  Contiguously,  he  began to develop a
deep  and  unabiding   hatred  of the upper-classes in  Latin
America.    Guevara   entered   medical    school   in   1947,
graduating in March  1953.  Following  graduation,  he  left
Argentina to  visit  parts of South and Central America.  He
first heard of Castro and his raid on Moncada while in Costa
Rica.  By  early  1954, Guevara had become  involved  in  an
unsuccessful countercoup  attempt  in  Guatamala.  A  marked
man, he took refuge in  Mexico;  a  few months later, he met
Fidel Castro and decided to join his movement. 19/
     Alberto Bayo.  Alberto Bayo was  a  former acquaintance
of Fidel's  who  was  in exile from Spain.  Bayo was born in
Cuba  in  1892,  but  had  migrated  to  Spain.  He  studied
military tactics at the Spanish Infantry Academy, and fought
as a  member of the Spanish army for eleven years in Spanish
Morocco.  Having also  seen  extensive service as a Loyalist
during the Spanish Civil War, Bayo was generally regarded to
be an expert on guerrilla warfare.  Castro considered him to
be  the ideal person to train an expeditionary force for the
return to Cuba. 20/
     Castro's Revolutionary  Platform.  The first documented
evidence of Castro's revolutionary platform  is contained in
the transcript  of  the  trial  which followed his ill-fated
attack on the Moncada Fortress.  Addressing the court in his
own defense, Castro set  forth  the  problems his revolution
aimed    to    solve:  land,   housing,   industrialization,
unemployment,  education   and   health,   as  well  as  the
restoration of public liberties and political democracy.
     Although Castro  delivered  his  speech in private, his
followers later published it in full and  widely distributed
it.  The document was entitled  History Will Absolve Me.  It
contained the text of  Castro's  speech  at  the  trial  and
listed the five  basic  revolutionary laws upon which Castro
planned to rebuild Cuba once Batista was defeated:
        1.  Assumption of all legislative, judicial and
     executive  authority  by  the  Revolution  itself,
     pending elections, subject  to the Constitution of
        2.  Land   for   the   landless,  through   the
     expropriation  of  idle  lands,  and  through  the
     transfer of  legal  title from big owners, renters
     and landlords to all  sharecroppers,  tenants  and
     squatters occupying  fewer  than  165 acres -- the
     former owners to be recompensed by the state.
        3. Inauguration  of  a  profit-sharing system
     under which  workers employed by large industrial,
     commerical and mining companies  would receive 30%
     of the profits of such enterprises.
        4.  Establishment  of  minimum  cane production
     quotas to  be  assigned  to  small  cane  planters
     supplying a given sugar mill,  and  the assignment
     of 55% of the proceeds of the crop to the planter,
     against 45% to the mill.
        5.  Confiscation of all property gained through
     political  malfeasance  or  in  any  other  illict
     manner under all past regimes. 21/
     Over  the  course of his insurrection, virtually all of
Castro's  speeches  and  proclamations  referred   to  these
revolutionary   laws.  Their    real    beauty   was   their
adaptability.  Castro  frequently  altered  their  priority,
percentages and/or  scope to suit his audience and strategy.
Depending  upon  how the laws were presented  or  explained,
they   had   almost  universal  appeal.  Castro's  incessant
manipulation  of  these laws was not without its  drawbacks,
however;  the  average  Cuban  often  found  it difficult to
understand just what Castro's rebellion was about.  This was
particularly  true  of the peasants.  In fact, Castro's  own
followers sometimes had problems staying  abreast  of  their
leader's ideas.
     Prelude to Invasion.  Between late 1955 and early 1956,
Castro amassed the  nucleus of an invasion force -- veterans
of  the  Moncada  attack  as well as other recruits from the
United  States,  Cuba and various Latin American  countries.
after their initial organization in Mexico City, a ranch was
leased   outside  the  city  in  order  to  engage  in  more
extensive,  and  private,  maneuvers.  While  his force  was
training, Castro traveled extensively throughout  the United
States, attempting to  raise financial and moral support for
his cause from exiled Cubans and American  sympathizers.  By
the time  he  returned  to  Cuba, he had established some 62
Cuban  "patriotic  clubs,"  raised  approximately $50,000 in
cash and received pledges for considerably more. 22/
     In  late  1955,  Castro's  movement absorbed the Accion
Nacional  Revolucionaria (ANR) led by Frank Isaac Pais.  The
ANR had been a small clandestine organization  operating out
of  Oriente  Province.  Castro planned to use Pais  and  his
followers to support his  landing  in  Cuba, now planned for
July 1956.  In March 1956, Castro broke  officially with the
Ortodoxo  Party, establishing the  Movimiento  26  de  Julio
(26th  of  July  Movement  of   M-26-7)  as  an  independent
revolutionary  movement  dedicated   to   the  overthrow  of
Batista.*  By then, M-26-7 had gained an initial,  but  firm
foothold in  Oriente  Province, thanks to the momentum being
built by Frank Pais.
     Castro wanted to coordinate his invasion with an island-
wide revolt against Batista to  gain maximum effect.  In the
summer  of  1956,  he  met  with Jose Antonio Echeverria and
Ricardo   Corpion,   representatives   of   the   Directorio
*The title of the movement was derived from  the date of the
attack on  the  Moncada  Fortress.  Castro  considered  that
attack the beginning and inspiration of his rebellion.
Revolucionario (DR), a student organization  also advocating
Batista's ouster.*  After listening to  Castro's  plans  for
the invasion  of  Cuba  and  overthrow  of  Batista,  the DR
representatives agreed to sign a pact with Castro and the M-
26-7, stipulating that the two groups would coordinate their
future actions.  This  very important alliance, which became
known as  the   Mexico  Pact, succeeded in uniting for common
purpose two of  the  most highly organized factions opposing
     Castro had  never  tried  to  conceal his activities in
Mexico.  Consequently, Batista  was  probably  aware  of the
time and  place  of the planned invasion well ahead of time.
The Mexican police and Cuban Intelligence agency  (SIM) kept
close  tabs  on  Castro's activities at  the  ranch  outside
Mexico  City; Mexican authorities  also  raided  it  several
times,  each  time confiscating rather  sizeable  caches  of
arms.  Castro's attempts  to purchase a boat large enough to
get his  group  to  Cuba  met  with  similar  "success."  In
September 1956, he placed a down-payment of $5,000 on an ex-
U.S. Navy crashboat; when Washington checked with  the Cuban
Embassy  about  the  validity  of  the  purchase,  Batista's
*M-26-7,  ANR  and DR were not the only revolutionary groups
operating in  Cuba at the time.  Several other organizations
such  as  the  Organizacion  Autentica  (OA),  Federation of
University  Students  (FEU)  and  many  others  were  active
against the  government:  publishing underground newspapers,
gathering arms, and engaging in sabotage and other terrorist
government interceded and convinced Washington to cancel the
sale.   By  the  end  of the month, Castro found himself the
leader  of  a  highly  trained and organized insurrectionist
group, but without weapons  or  the  means  to  get to Cuba.
After considerable difficulty, Fidel  managed to secure both
a boat and arms for his men.  The boat was the yacht Granma,
designed to  carry  ten passengers.  Castro intended to load
her with  82  men  plus  their weapons, ammunition and food.
Finally, on November 25,  1956,  after  a  delay  of several
months,  Fidel   Castro  and  81  other  members  of  M-26-7
departed Mexico for Cuba.
Sierra Maestra 23/
     Fidel Returns.   Castro  had  allowed  six days for the
trip.  He  was  expected to arrive on  November  30th  which
would coincide with  a  general, island-wide uprising led by
Frank Pais  and  the  M-26-7  Santiago  group.  However, the
expedition encountered  problems.  Most  of  the 82 men were
seasick and  the  Granma  experienced severe engine problems
caused by the overloading.
     As  planned, Frank Pais and the M-26-7 went into action
on November 30th.  Pais had planned to stage a general show-
of-force   throughout  Oriente   province   and  in   isolated
locations   across  the  island.   Pais's    plan   called  for
coordinated   attacks   on   Santiago's   National    Police
headquarters and  the maritime police station, while keeping
the  Moncada Fortress under bombardment with  81mm  mortars.
Castro and Pais assumed  that  the  general population would
join in the revolt as soon as the  attacks  began.  Once the
police stations had been captured, arms and ammunition would
then be distributed to  the  population,  and  a  full scale
attack would be launched against Moncada.
     Pais began the  operation with 86 armed men; he counted
heavily upon surprise.*  Unfortunately, he lost this element
almost immediately  when  one of his men was captured on the
way  to  man  a mortar position.  The police, thus  alerted,
barracaded themselves  in  their headquarters and fought off
all attempts by  the  rebels  to breach their positions.  In
addition,   Batista    wasted   no   time   in   flying   in
reinforcements.   By  nightfall, Pais could see the futility
of his position.  Unaware of  Castro's  plight,  he canceled
the attack and  withdrew  with his men, fading back into the
civilian population.
     With   the   exception  of  a  few  isolated  incidents
elsewhere in Oriente province, the general revolt throughout
the island did not occur.  Lack of arms,  poor  organization
and limited information on Castro's intentions and timetable
were  the  major problems.  However, the events of  November
30th  were not without successes.  Some arms  and  ammuntion
were captured and later turned over to Castro, manpower was
preserved to fight another  day,  and  the weaknesses in the
*By November 1956, the Moncada garrison had been reinforced,
and now totalled some 2,000 soldiers.
M-26-7  organization were rather graphically displayed.*
     Castro heard of the Santigo uprising -- and its failure
-- while  still  at  sea.  He  had been unable to report his
position and  problems and thus delay the revolt, because he
had  only a radio receiver and no transmitter.  Undaunted by
the setback Santiago represented,  he decided to forge ahead
with the landing.
     The original plan  had  been  for  Fidel and his men to
land near Niquero on November 30th  (see Map #2).  He was to
join forces  with  approximately  100  men  under Crescencio
Perez, seize  Niquero  and Manzanillo, and then proceed (via
Bayamo) to  join Pais's group in Santiago.**  Unfortunately,
the Granma's problems and the failure of the Santiago attack
placed the whole plan in jeopardy.
     On December 2nd,  Castro's  group  finally  came ashore
near the town  of  Belic,  several  miles  east and south of
their intended landing.  The yacht was so overloaded that it
could not  actually  beach.  Since  there were no piers, the
men  were  forced to unload her in water up to their chests.
Their debarkation  proved  to be particularly difficult, not
only because of the  depth  of  the  water, but because they
landed in  a  swamp  and  were spotted almost immediately by
*Only  three  members  of  M-26-7  were  killed  during  the
**Perez  was  a  sort  of  bandit-patriarch  of  the  Sierra
Maestra.  Convinced by  Pais to join M-26-7, he later became
one of Castro's most trusted lieutenants.
alert sea and air patrols. 24/  Unable to make contact  with
Perez's  group,  under  fire  from  the Cuban Air Force  and
pursued by the  Cuban  Army,  Fidel  decided  to abandon his
original  plan   and  converge  on  the  jungle-covered  and
precipitious Sierra Maestra  Mountains,  a  bandit haven not
under government control.*  Thus  began  an  arduous  inland
march with Batista's forces in trace.
     On December 5th, the army cornered Castro's troops  and
almost   decimated   them   with   artillery  fire  and  air
attacks. 25/  At  that  point,  Fidel elected to  split  his
force  into  smaller  groups in the hope that they would  be
more  likely  to  break  through  the encircling army.  This
maneuver was probably what saved  some of them.  Fidel's own
group,  which  by now only numbered three men, was forced to
hide  for  five days in a cane field without food or  water.
Other   groups   were   not  so  lucky.  Some  were  overrun
completely; all  who  surrendered  were executed. 26/  About
this time, word was circulated by the Cuban  government that
Castro and his entire group had been killed.  This popularly
held belief, repeatedly reinforced by government propaganda,
was not disproven until  the  New  York  Times  published an
interview between Castro and Herbert  Matthews  in February,
1957. 27/
*Perez's group had  been  in  place,  but  Castro's  delayed
arrival plus heavy army patrols had caused him to withdraw.
     The Rebellion Begins.  Shortly before Christmas, Castro
and 11 survivors of  the  Granma  expedition, including Raul
Castro and  "Che"  Guevara,  assembled at Pico Turquino, the
highest mountain  in  the Sierra Maestra range.  The outlook
was not good.  The almost total loss of their provisions and
ammunition  placed   them   at   the   mercy  of  the  local
inhabitants:  However,  as  usual,  Fidel's  confidence  was
unshakeable.  Upon reaching the mountains, he is reported to
have  asked  a  peasant:  "Are  we  already  in  the  Sierra
Maestra?"  When  he  heard  that  the answer was  "yes,"  he
concluded, "Then the revolution has triumphed." 28/
     Castro might have been overly optimistic.  For  days he
and his small group  travelled  continuously  throughout the
mountains,  fearing capture by government  forces,  although
the  Cuban  Army  made  no real attempt to find them.   They
slept  on the ground  and  stayed  alive  by  eating  roots.
Eventually, Fidel  and his men located Crescencio Perez, the
man they had planned  to  link-up  with  at  Niquero.  Perez
helped the rebels obtain  food  from  the peasants, and lent
material  support  in  the  way  of  arms   and  ammunition.
Castro's position  soon  improved to the point where he felt
comfortable enough  to  launch  his  first  attack against a
government outpost.
     Attack on La Plata.  On January 16, 1957, Castro and 17
of his  followers  attacked  a  small  army  outpost  of  18
soldiers at la Plata. 29/  The tactics used  were  the  same
that would be  repeated  throughout the next 20 months, with
essentially  the  same  degree   of   success.  A   daylight
reconnaissance was  made of the objective, the activities of
the soldiers  were noted, and approach and retirement routes
were plotted.   Early  the next morning, the surprise attack
began.   Seven  soldiers  were  killed  or  wounded, and the
position was seized.  Precious weapons, ammunition, food and
equipment were  confiscated and taken back to the mountains,
while  Castro  and his men, anticipating that the Army would
attempt  to  pursue  them, took up positions at  a  prepared
ambush site.  Later  that  morning,  an army patrol stumbled
into the ambush and was virtually annihilated.
     Incidents like this, coupled with Herbert Matthews' New
York Times interview  the following month, forced Batista to
take  Castro  seriously; the Army committed more  troops  to
Oriente Province,   and  a reward of 100,000 pesos was placed
on Castro's head.   However, Batista's  response  had  little
impact upon  the  rebels.  Castro's  alliance with the local
population, fostered  by  his  respectful treatment of them,
gave  him  an  intelligence network  the  Cuban  Army  found
impossible to  defeat.  Castro  was kept constantly aware of
the  army's intentions and position,  while  the  government
forces  were   continually  misled  and  misinformed  as  to
Castro's whereabouts.
     Palace Attack.  Castro and the M-26-7 were not alone in
opposing  Batista.  Several  groups  across the island, some
aligned with  Castro  and others not, were in open rebellion
against the government.  One of these groups, the Directorio
Revolucionario (DR), was composed  of  a  group  of students
from  the  University of Havana.   Allied  with  the  M-26-7
through  the  Mexico  Pact, the DR had been quite active  in
Havana for several months.   On  March 13, 1957, they staged
an  attack  against  the Presidential Palace in Havana using
"fidelista"  tactics.  The attack took everyone by  surprise
and would have  been  successful  in  killing  or  capturing
Batista except that, by chance, the President had  left  his
first-floor  office  and  gone to his second-floor apartment
because of a headache.  Twenty-five  members  of the DR were
killed  during  the  fight,  and  the  whole  operation  was
generally acknowledged  to  be  the work of Castro.  In what
was quickly becoming one of his favorite tactics in response
to rebel attacks, Batista  ordered  the  arrest of all known
rebels and  rebel  sympathizers  in  the Havana area.  Those
that     were     found     were    executed.  While    this
counter-revolutionary technique was  somewhat  successful in
eliminating unwanted  opposition,  it tended to alienate the
population.  In conducting these purges, the army and police
were  not  usually  discriminatory  in  their  selection  of
targets.  "Body count" frequently became more important than
eliminating known rebels.
     Organization  for  Guerrilla  Warfare.  By   mid-April,
Castro had acquired more  than  50  volunteers from Santiago
and other parts of the island; he now formed the first of an
eventual 24  "columns'  ranging  in  size  from  100  to 150
rebels.  The majority of these volunteers, and those joining
in   the   following  months,  were  middle-class  students,
merchants or professionals being hunted by Batista's police.
Nevertheless,  Castro  generally would not accept volunteers
who arrived without arms; he simply could not afford to feed
them.  He  would  turn them away, promising to let them join
his group if they came back armed.  To obtain arms, would-be
"fidelistas" looked for the opportunity to relieve Batista's
soldiers of weapons and ammunition.
     Eventually,   more   guns   came,  sometimes  from
     underground  supporters, sometimes flown  in  from
     overseas,  but  most  (about  85 percent) directly
     from  the enemy itself.   In  the  beginning,  the
     rebels dared    make  forays  against  only the most
     isolated  of    the   army outposts, and even then  a
     rifle was    so  valuable  that if a rebel abandoned
     one during   a battle, he had to go back unarmed to
     retrieve it.  As  Castro used to tell his men,  We
     are not fighting  for  prisoners.  We are fighting
     for weapons.' 30/
Recruits who were allowed to stay were put through a lengthy
period  of  political,  physical   and   military   training
patterned after  that conducted in Mexico.  The training was
purposely difficult; Castro  wanted  only  the  toughest and
most dedicated to remain.
     Fidel kept his column constantly  moving throughout the
Sierra Maestra, seldom stopping  for  more  than  24  hours.
Even though the rebels ate  but  once  a  day, adequate food
stores  were    a  constant  problem.  A  tiny  tin  of  fruit
cocktail  was    considered  a  great   luxury.  To   maintain
discipline, strict rules were enforced; food was never taken
from a peasant without permission and  payment,  and a rebel
officer was  never  to eat a larger portion than his men.  A
person  could  be  shot  if  merely  suspected  of being  an
informer.  Alcohol  was  forbidden, and sex was discouraged
unless the couple consented to be married.  Fidel shared the
mountain hardhips with his  followers,  often out-distancing
them in an effort to set the  example.  His ability to march
for  hours  without  stopping  earned him the  nickname  "El
Caballo" -- The Horse.
     Despite   such   spartan  conditions,  Castro's   group
continued to  grow.  Sleeping  on  the  ground  gave  way to
hammocks,  and later, more  permanent  camps  with  "Bohios"
(huts), kitchens and hospitals. 31/  As Fidel's stability in
the Sierra maestra grew, so  did  his  intelligence  system.
Warning networks  were  established  using  the well-treated
farmers and mountain people as spies.
     Beards.  At this point,  it  is worth noting the origin
of  the  famous  rebel  beard.  Initially,  Castro  and  his
followers grew beards for the  very  practical  reason  that
they had  no  razors  and  little  soap  or  fresh water for
shaving.   As  the  rebellion continued, however, the beards
took  on  important  meaning.   In   time,  they  became  so
conspicuous and  so representative of Castro's movement that
beards  became  the  major  distinguishing  feature  between
rebels  and   ordinary  citizens.  Unless  the  bodies  were
bearded, photos of "rebels" killed  by  the  army  fooled no
     Beards became such a symbol of  rebellion  that  a
     Batista soldier on leave who had allowed his beard
     to  grow  was  machine-gunned  and  killed from  a
     police car  in the middle of Santiago, having been
     taken for a rebel. 32/
Later, as  part  of a planned general strike, Fidel intended
to infiltrate  the  towns  with  members of his rebel force.
Wishing to make a good  impression  on  the  population,  he
considered having these men shave off  their beards.  He was
finally convinced otherwise by  Enrique Meneses, a newspaper
photographer, when Meneses pointed out that "Any photographs
in  existence  anywhere  in the world at the time would lose
their news-value if the rebels shaved off their beards." 33/
Eventually,  following  Castro's  victory,  everyone, except
Fidel and   a  few  others,  was ordered to shave.  It seemed
that some   individuals,  who  had  never  even been near the
Sierra  Maestra,   were   wearing   beards,   attempting  to
capitalize on the implication.
     El  Uvero.  With  reinforcements and  added  firepower,
Castro began  to expand his base of operations.  On May 28th
he led a band of 80 guerrillas against the military garrison
of El Uvero (see Map #3).  El Uvero, located on the seacoast
at the  foot  of the Sierra Maestra, was isolated and manned
by only 53 soldiers.  The garrison presented an ideal target
for  Castro's  limited   forces   and   assets.  Using   the
"fidelista" tactics described earlier, Castro's  group  took
the outpost by surprise when they approached the garrison in
the early morning hours.  The  fighting,  though  intensive,
was  over in about 20 minutes.  The army regulars  sustained
14 dead and 19  wounded, and Castro's forces lost six killed
and   nine   wounded.  The   rebels   then  confiscated  the
garrison's arms, ammunition and  supplies.  The  battle  was
Castro's first significant victory, proving that,  given the
right  conditions, regular  army  forces  would  be  soundly
defeated.  In Guevara's words:
     ...  we  now  had  the key to the secret of how to
     beat the enemy.  This battle  sealed  the  fate of
     every  garrison  located  far  enough  from  large
     concentrations of  troops,  and  every  small army
     post was soon dismantled. 34/
The  psychological   value   of   the   victory   cannot  be
overemphasized; it  brought  to  fruition months of hardship
and training, and, like an  elixir,  immeasureably bolstered
dedication to the struggle.
     Batista Reacts.  Faced with the increased irritation of
incidents involving  Castro,  Batista  decided  to alter his
strategy of ignoring Castro to one of containment.  After El
Uvero,  the  army  abandoned  its  forays  into  the  Sierra
Maestra, gradually withdrawing from  isolated  outposts that
were not vital.  Castro's small  force was left free to roam
the mountains, but was  kept  from  operating  in  the  open
plains.  The Army  declared,  and  attempted  to  enforce, a
"deadzone" between the  mountains  and the plains to prevent
Castro's  forces  from  venturing  beyond  the mountains  or
communicating  with urban organizations.  Castro,  in  turn,
carefully   avoided   openly   meeting  government   forces.
Meanwhile, the  Cuban  Air  Force  carried  out a program of
saturation bombing on suspected guerrilla strongholds.
     Following the  El  Uvero  attack, government censorship
was  again  imposed, and the Presidential elections that had
been scheduled for November 1,  1957,  were  postponed until
June  1,  1958.  Coincidently,  Batista's  counter-terrorist
measures  against  the  civilian population were  increased,
especially in Oriente Province.   Generally,  these amounted
to the loss of all  civil  liberties  and the institution of
martial  law.  Illegal  searches  and  seizures, torture and
outright murder   became commonplace. 35/  Batista's soldiers
would stop  at    nothing  to present the impression that they
were   in  control  of  the  situation.   Frequently,   when
frustrated by their inability to gain information or capture
rebels, soldiers would summarily execute civilians, claiming
that they were either guerrillas or rebel sympathizers.
     The  Sierra  Maestra  Manifesto.  Despite   calls   for
negotiations between  the    government  and the rebels by the
Institutions Civicas (IC),   a  loose federation of civic and
professional    associations,    President    Batista    was
unrelenting.    Castro,  on  the  other  hand, joined by Raul
Chibas  and   Felipe Pazos,* responded to the IC by issuing a
proclamation  which   they   called   the   "Sierra  Maestra
Manifesto." Although  not  detailed,  it became one of the
basic  rhetorical   documents   for   the  M-26-7  Movement.
*Key     members   of    the  Resistencia    Civica,    another
revolutionary organization aligned with the M-26-7.
Although it was drafted on July 12, 1957, it was not seen in
print until it was published in  the  Bohemia  newspaper  in
Havana on  July  28th.  In  addition  to rejecting Batista's
election plan, the Manifesto called for:
     1.  A Civic Revolutionary Front  with a common strategy
for the struggle.
     2.  A  provisional  government,  headed  by  a  neutral
leader selected by the civic association.
     3.  Free elections within one year of the establishment
of the provisional government.
     4.  Reforms  in  the  areas of political freedom, civil
service,  civil  and  individual rights, agriculture,  labor
unions and industry.
     5.  An  end to arms shipments from the United States to
     6.  Depoliticalization   of   the   armed  forces   and
abolition of military juntas. 36/
The "Sierra Maestra Manifesto" was doubly important because
it set  a  more  neutral tone on the subject of reforms than
some  of  Castro's  earlier  bellicose  statements  released
through newspapermen  such  as  Herbert  Matthews,  and gave
political substance to the revolution by  outlining specific
organizational  structure   and   goals   for  the  proposed
     Death of  Frank Pais.  While Castro was busy conducting
rural guerrilla  warfare   from the mountains, Frank Pais was
active  in  establishing   urban organizations throughout the
island.  With the death  of  Jose  Antonio Echeverria during
the unsuccessful Palace Attack, Pais was left alone to carry
on  the  M-26-7  movement in the cities and towns.   By  the
summer of  1957,  Pais' tremendous organizational skills had
begun  to  show progress throughout Oriente,  even  down  to
remote village  levels.  While  Castro's  activities  seemed
confined  to the areas immediately  surrounding  the  Sierra
Maestra, Pais was spreading his influence far and wide.
     As his reputation as a M-26-7 organizer grew, Pais came
under increasing pressure from Batista's forces in Santiago,
his base of operations.   Finally,  in July 1957, an all-out
manhunt for his capture was launched by the Santiago police.
As the net tightened,  Pais  knew  he  would  have  to leave
the city.  Since exile was  out of the question, he chose to
join Castro in the mountains.  As he prepared to  leave, the
house  in   which  he  was  hiding  he  was  surreptitiously
surrounded by police.   As  Pais walked out of the house, he
was gunned down.
     The  death  of Frank Pais marked a turning point in the
internal    organization    of  the    M-26-7.  With  no  firm
leadership evident  elsewhere,  the  heart  of  the movement
gradually centered  in  the  rural campaign being waged from
the Sierra  Maestra.  For the next several months, the urban
arm of  the  M-26-7  was  assigned  one  specific  role:  to
support and sustain Fidel  Castro's  guerrillas.  The deaths
of Echeverria  and  Pais  had  eliminated  two  of the three
genuine  leaders  of  the  Cuban  insurrection; only  Castro
remained.  Equally  important,  two potential challenges  to
Castro's post-revolutionary leadership were eliminated.
     The  Cienfuegos  Uprising.  On September 5,  1957,  the
most serious and ambitious attack to date against  Batista's
regime was  launched  by  a group of young naval officers in
the coastal town of Cienfuegos in Las Villas  province.  The
navy was  traditionally  not  as pro-Batista as the army.  A
large number  of naval officers were frustrated by Batista's
propensity  to  appoint  men who had not graduated from  the
Mariel  Naval  Academy  to  the  highest  ranks of the naval
service.  Rear  Admiral Rodriquez  Calderon,  Chief  of  the
Cuban Navy,  was  such a man.  He was thoroughly despised by
young naval officers.
     The uprising was  to  be  a  coordinated  effort  among
youthful elements of  the  Cuban Navy stationed at Cayo Loco
Naval Base  in Cienfuegos and M-26-7 activists positioned in
Havana and Santiago.  Originally scheduled for May 28th, the
plan  called  for  an island-wide revolt, to consist of  two
phases.  In the  first phase, a navy frigate would shell the
Presidential  Palace  in Havana, while, simultaneously, navy
pilots would bomb Camp Columbia.  M-26-7 urban cadres  would
then capture the  Havana  radio  stations  and  call  for  a
general  strike.  The  second  phase   would  center  around
uprisings at  all navy bases beginning with Cayo Loco.  When
the May 28th plan was compromised by an informer, the revolt
was  rescheduled  for September 5th  to  coincide  with  the
Army's celebration of the 1933 "Sergeant's Revolt."
     On  September  5th the plan was again postponed because
of another breach of security, but for some reason -- either
poor communications or  stubborn determination -- the second
phase  of  the Cienfuegos operation went into effect at  the
appointed  hour.  Although  the rebels initially  succeeded,
Batista  responded  with brutal force; aircraft,  tanks  and
troops were rushed to Cienfuegos to crush the uprising.  The
ensuing battle left more than 300 dead.  37/  A  handful  of
the  rebels  escaped to the Escambray Mountains  where  they
continued to wage war against the government.
     It  is  unclear  exactly  what   the   naval   officers
associated  with the  Cienfuegos  uprising  hoped  to  gain.
Evidence indicates  that  they  were  highly  influenced  by
elements  of  the  M-26-7 who had infilitrated their  ranks.
Apparently,  the   M-26-7  viewed  these  disgruntled  naval
officers  as  a  good  source  of  revolutionary  fervor and
planned to  use  their  dissatisfaction  with  Batista  as a
foundation for  an  island-wide  revolt.  The naval officers
themselves had no stated goals other than to return  control
of the navy to graduates of the Cuban Naval Academy.
     Cienfuegos   was   certainly  a  military  victory  for
Batista,  but  not  a  political  one.  For  the first time,
members  of  Cuba's Armed Forces  had  united  against  him.
Never again could he depend upon  their unified support, the
bedrock of his regime.  Officers  of  all three branches had
been  implicated; not  even  the  Cuban  Army  had  remained
faithful.   Perhaps   even   more   significant,  not  since
Batista's own  revolt  in  1933,  had military and civilians
united to oppose a Cuban President.
     Pact of  Miami.  Members  of  the  major  revolutionary
factions opposing Batista met in Miami during December 1957,
to attempt to unify their efforts.  This particular  meeting
was significant  because  it was composed of representatives
of virtually all of the anti-Batista organizations operating
within Cuba  or  in  exile.  After  some debate, a number of
members    of    the    revolutionary    groups,   including
representatives    of  the  M-26-7,  signed a pact  signifying
solidarity  and    co-equal  status  in  the  struggle against
Batista.   Provisions of the pact called for the creation of
a provisional  government and closely resembled those of the
earlier "Sierra Maestra Manifesto."
     When Castro heard  of  the pact, he was enragad.*  In a
letter to  the  conference  he  wrote:  "... while leaders of
other organizations are  living abroad carrying on imaginary
revolutions, the leaders of the M-26-7 are in Cuba, making a
real revolution." 38/  What really upset Fidel was that the
pact left  the  M-26-7  on  equal  footing  with  the  other
organizations, although  the  M-26-7  and the DR had carried
the  full  load  of  the  insurrection.  While  the  DR  was
*Castro's representatives  had  signed  the pact, apparently
misunderstanding  their leader's position, a phenomenon  not
uncommon at  the  time  because Castro frequently shifted or
"expanded" his ideology to suit the occasion.
apparently ready  to grant equal status to the other groups,
Fidel was not.   Castro  denounced  the pact and reinterated
his  position  on Cuba's future as offered  by  the  "Sierra
Maestra   Manifesto."  In  addition,  he  offered  his   own
candidate, Manuel  Urrutia Lleo, for the post of Provisional
     Castro's  rejection  of  the  Pact  of  Miami had major
repercussions.    First,  Fidel  demonstrated  within his own
movement  that   he  would  not  be  the pawn of politicians.
Second, he established the M-26-7  as  a clearly independent
movement,  never   again   to   be   confused   with   other
organizations.  Third, he demonstrated his preeminence among
the other opposition groups;  and finally, it portended that
any  future  attempts  at  unity would be fruitless  without
prior consultation with Castro.
     The Second Front.  The end of 1957, and the early  part
of  1958,  saw  a sort of unofficial cease-fire.  Both sides
used the period to consolidate their  positions  and prepare
for  future operations.  Batista increased  his  forces  and
prepared them for mountain warfare.  This was done primarily
in response to Castro's ill-advised scheme  to  disrupt  the
island's single-crop  economy.  Late  in  the  fall of 1957,
just as the sugar  crops  were  to  be  harvested,  Castro's
followers  began burning the cane  fields  hoping  to  bring
economic   disparity  to  the   government.  Understandably,
farmers and  local  merchants  --  many  of whom were ardent
supporters  of  Castro -- began to  complain  to  the  rebel
leader.  Belatedly realizing that the harvest was the  major
source  of  livelihood  for  his  supporters as well as  the
government, Castro  rescinded his order, thus preserving his
popular support.  Enough  of  the  sabotage was carried-out,
however,  to  gain  Batista's  attention.   Recognizing  the
potential seriousness of  that  kind of action if it were to
be repeated on a large scale, the President resolved to  end
Castro's rebellion the following year.  This decision proved
to be the beginning of Batista's downfall.
     Castro,   meanwhile,  was  engaging  in  a  program  to
paralyze the rail and road networks near the Sierra Maestra.
Gradually he was expanding his control beyond  the mountains
to other  parts  of  Oriente  province.  By the beginning of
1958, no  vehicles, trains or military patrols could move at
night in the Manzanillo-Bayamo area without being ambushed.
     On   January  25,  1958,  President  Batista   restored
constitutional guarantees  everywhere  on  the island except
Oriente province.  Under increasing pressure from the United
States, he called for free elections, promising to turn over
the  government  to   his  elected  successor.  However,  he
retained the right to control the armed forces.  Earl Smith,
the  U.S.  Ambassador  to  Cuba  at  the time, reported that
Castro indicated, at  least unofficially, his willingness to
accept   general  lections  provided  that   Batista   would
withdraw his troops (without their  equipment)  from Oriente
province. 39/*  The  Papal  Nuncio of Cuba, representing the
Catholic  Church,  even  attempted  to  bring  the two sides
together.**   While   Batista   professed  interest,  Castro
rejected    these  overtures,  saying  that     the   committee
appointed   by the church was pro-Batista and   therefore  not
acting for the benefit of the Cuban people. 40/
     In early March,  Raul  Castro led a small column out of
the Sierra Maestra northeastward  toward  the Sierra Cristal
Mountains with the goal of opening a second front in Oriente
province.  On March 12th, Raul  established the Second Front
"Frank   Pais,"   and  Fidel  issued  a  21-point  manifesto
announcing  its opening and declaring that total  war  would
begin  against  Batista  on  April  1,   1958.  41/  Batista
responded by airlifting more government  troops into Oriente
to  reinforce   the   5,000   already  there.  In  addition,
constitutional  guarantees were again  suspended  throughout
the island, and elections were  postponed  from  June 1st to
November 3rd.  On  March 14th, the U.S. government announced
its intention to cease the shipment of arms to Cuba. 42/
*The sincerity  of  Castro's  overture  is  suspect since it
violates his "Sierra Maestra Manifesto."  Evidence indicates
that he planned  to  use  Ambassador  Smith  for leverage in
an attempt to buy time and maneuvering room.
**The  Papal  Nuncio  more  likely  represented  the  Church
hierarchy and  wealthy patrons only, since most young cubans
advocated the overthrow of Batista, although not necessarily
in accordance with Castro's plan.
     Castro's forces made important advances  in  the  early
spring of 1958, prior  to  April 9th.  Besides Raul's second
front, there  were  four  other separate guerrilla forces at
work in  Oriente,  keeping  the  whole province in an almost
constant state  of turmoil.  Uprisings were also reported in
Camaguey  and  Pinar del Rio  provinces  and  the  Escambray
Mountains. 43/
Total War 44/
     General  Strike:  April 9th, 1958.  As promised in  his
March  12th  manifesto,  Castro  called  for  an island-wide
general  strike   to   commence   on  April  9th,  1958.  As
originally conceived, the strike was to bring the country to
a  standstill;  however,  contrary  to  statements  claiming
otherwise, the M-26-7 did not  yet  have  the level of urban
revolutionary organization,  leadership  and popular support
necessary to make it successful.   Batista ordered his 7,000
man  National  Police  force to brutalize strikers  wherever
they were  found;  furthermore,  the  head  of  Cuba's labor
unions promised  that anyone who struck would lose their job
forever.   Needless  to say, the strike was a dismal failure
and acute  embarrassment  for  Castro.  At this stage of the
revolt the majority of the Cuban people  simply did not have
the confidence to risk their livelihoods, and perhaps lives,
for Fidel Castro's dreams.   His  revolutionary platform was
neither well known nor understood.   Not surprisingly, after
April 9th, Castro placed increased emphasis  on the military
solution  as  the  principal  means of removing Batista from
power.  Less stringent measures  virtually  disappeared from
his strategy.
     Batista's  Summer Offensive.   Meanwhile,  interpreting
the strike's  failure  as  a sign of Castro's vulnerability,
Batista surged  forward  with  his  plan  to  mount a summer
offensive against the rebel's forces in  the Sierra Maestra.
General Eulogio Cantillo was appointed to head the campaign,
and in  early  May  he presented his plan to Batista and the
general staff.
     Basically,   Cantillo's   strategy  called  for  a   24
battalion attack against  Castro's  stronghold in the Sierra
Maestra.   He  planned  to  establish  a blockade around the
mountains to isolate the guerrillas from potential supplies,
arms  and  men.  Once  the blockade was in  place,  Cantillo
envisioned that the army would attack the  rebels  from  the
north and  northeast  with 14 battalions while holding 10 in
reserve.  Faced  with such overwhelming odds,  Castro  would
have no choice but  to  withdraw to the west into the plains
north  of Santiago, or  risk  being  driven  into  the  sea.
Cantillo reasoned that if Castro's forces  could  be  forced
into open terrain, they could be easily eliminated.
     Batista approved Cantillo's basic plan, but feared that
such large numbers committed to  one  operation  would leave
other  areas  of  the country dangerously exposed.  Instead,
Cantillo was given 14 battalions (roughly  12,000  men),  of
whom approximately 7,000  were  new peasant recruits who had
responded to Batista's recent recruiting drive.  The  latter
were poorly  trained,  and  generally unreliable.*  Cantillo
was dissatisfied  with  the  number and quality of troops he
had been  given  for  the  offensive, and argued strenuously
with Batista for more forces.  The President  remained firm,
however,  claiming  that he could not afford to shift troops
who  were  guarding  private farms and  sugar  mills.  Still
disgruntled   and    now   pessimistic,   General   Cantillo
nevertheless proceeded with his plans. **
     The  government's  offensive  was still in the planning
stages when Batista made his  first error.  In early May the
President had installed General Cantillo  to replace General
Alberto del Rio Chaviano  as  the  head  of  army  forces in
Oriente province.  Chaviano had  frequently shown himself to
be  incompetent  in  trying  to  deal with the  rebels,  and
Batista did  not  trust him.  However, Chaviano had a strong
ally in  his  father-in-law,  General  Francisco Tabernilla,
Sr.,  the  Chief  of  Staff  of  the Cuban Army.  Tabernilla
convinced Batista to reappoint Chaviano to Oriente province.
The  President  acquiesced  and  ordered the province to  be
*The vast majority of these  peasants  had joined purely for
economic reasons.  The  Army offered steady employment while
farming did not.
**Cantillo's concern stemmed primarily  from his belief that
Castro's forces numbered  between  1,000  and  2,000 veteran
guerrilla fighters.   The number was actually much closer to
split; Chaviano was given command of the eastern sector with
the  Central  Highway  as the dividing line between the  two
generals'  spheres  of  influence.  Cantillo   was   furious
because the  reappointment  represented  a  political rather
than   a    military  decision.  Cantillo's  fears  were  not
unfounded a Chaviano was  in  charge  of the sector in which
Raul  Castro's  guerrillas  operated, but made no attempt to
engage them.  Worse  yet,  he frequently interfered with, or
failed to support, Cantillo's efforts in the western sector.
Finally,  Chaviano   undermined   Cantillo's   campaign   by
frequently complaining to Tabernilla that General Cantillo's
ineffectiveness  was  causing the government to lose control
of Oriente province.  As a result, Tabernilla was often slow
to  extend  much  needed  logistical  support to  Cantillo's
forces, assuming that the supplies and ammunition would only
be wasted.
     All  of  this  military  intrigue  and infighting  only
served  to  highlight  Batista's  inability  to  conduct  an
effective military  operation.  For  years the President had
played one officer against another, until none  of them were
capable of leading any  serious  military  operation.  Since
enlisted  troops  and  junior  officers  were aware of  this
impotency among their commanders, discipline  and morale was
at an ebb before the summer offensive began.
     By  the  middle  of  June  1958,  General  Cantillo was
completing his  plans.   Rather than blocking with his poorer
troops  and   using  his  better  units  to  drive  Castro's
guerrillas onto the plains, Cantillo's tactics amounted to a
series of piecemeal attacks.*  Castro's  strategy was by now
standard; bleed and exhaust the enemy until the time as ripe
for  counterattack.  He  relied  heavily upon minefields and
ambushes to  protect  his  flanks.  His  main  tactic was to
allow the army to move  forward,  extending  its lines, then
hit the  advanced  guard and fall back.  The maneuver was to
be repeated as  many  times  as  possible.  In the event the
army penetrated deep enough to threaten the guerrilla's base-
camp, Castro's  forces  prepared  an  extensive  trench  and
bunker  network  designed  to  hold the enemy back from  the
vital areas.  If necessary, this network  would be manned by
Guevara's  column,   allowing  Castro  to  freely  move  the
remaining columns along interior lines to the weakest point,
counterattacking when  the opportunity arose.  However, this
close-in defense was never necessary.
     Cantillo   launched   his   initial   attack  with  two
battalions moving out from the Estrada Palma Sugar  Mill  at
the base of Sierra Maestra on June  28,  1958  (see May #4).
The force  relied upon a single road as its axis-of-advance.
Flank security was poor.  Less  than  four  miles  from  the
mill, forces under the command of "Che" Guevara attacked the
vanguard battalion.   Thrown  into  disarray,  the battalion
stopped while  armored  cars  were  brought  up to clear the
battalion's flanks.  As the armored cars deployed, they  ran
*It's hard to say whether there  tactics grew from ineptness
or caution.  Considering Cantillo's reverence for his enemy,
it was probably the latter.
directly into minefields the  rebels  had  placed  on either
side of the road.  Several of  the  cars were destroyed.  As
the  Cuban  soldiers  panicked  and  attempted  to  retreat,
Guevara's  sharpshooter's  opened  fire and killed  several.
The situation totally degenerated when the second  battalion
failed  to  come  to  the  relief  of  the first.   As  both
battalions began  to withdraw, the guerrillas moved forward,
covering   the   flanks   of   the  retreating  column.  The
sharpshooters  now  caused heavy casualties  on  the  routed
soldiers.  In total, the regular army suffered 86 casualties
compared  to  only  three for the rebels.  Guevara's  forces
captured some 65 weapons and 18,000 rounds of ammunition.
     General  Cantillo's  plan to force Castro's rebels onto
the western plains was not working.    Castro's  position was
too strong to  be   taken  with  a  single  point  thrust, so
Cantillo devised   a  daring plan that featured an amphibious
landing  at  La  Plata,  a  coastal  town  south of Castro's
Turquino  Peak  base  camp.  Cantillo  envisioned  a  pincer
movement with  a single battalion landing at La Plata, a two
company  landing  a  little  further  to  the  west   and  a
simultaneous assault by another battalion from the north and
east.  If the  plan  worked,  Castro's  base  on the western
slope of Turquino Peak  would  be surrounded on three sides.
The guerrillas would be forced to  stand  and  fight against
overwhelming odds, or withdraw to the plains where they were
especially vulnerable.
     On July 11,  1958, Battalion No. 18, commanded by Major
Jose Quevedo  Perez,  a former student colleague of Castro's
at  Havana University, landed about ten kilometers southeast
of  Turquino  Peak  at the mouth  of  the  La  Plata  River.
Quevedo's troops, most of whom had never experienced combat,
moved cautiously  inland, expecting an ambush at any minute.
Alerted by his intelligence network  that  the  landing  had
occurred, Castro  did  not  disappoint them.  In the classic
fashion  of  the Cuban Army,  Quevedo's  soldiers  blundered
into   Castro's   ambush.  Working   rapidly    and   moving
constantly, the  rebels  fragmented  and then surrounded the
battalion in a matter of minutes.
     Observing   the   battle  from  a  helicopter,  General
Cantillo  decided  that  while  Castro  was  busy  beseiging
Battalion  No.  18,  he  might  be vulnerable to a flanking/
surprise attack.  Consequently, Cantillo ordered the planned
second  landing  of two companies to the west of  La  Plata.
Again, Castro's intelligence paid-off; he had been warned to
expect  this tactic.  In response, the guerrilla leader  had
emplaced two .50  caliber  machine-gun sites overlooking the
beach intended for the second landing.  The vicious grazing-
fire that these positions produced forced the  lightly-armed
landing-barges  to  turn back.  Cantillo ultimately  had  to
land the two companies behind Battalion No.  18 at La Plata.
His  amphibious  plan  in obvious jeopardy, General Cantillo
shifted  his    emphasis   to  Battalion  No.  17  which  was
attempting  to  bring pressure on Castro's position from the
north and east.
     Meanwhile,  upon  learning  that the leader of the army
forces was  his  former  classmate, Castro repeatedly called
upon Quevedo to  surrender  and  join  the revolution.  Each
time  Quevedo declined, and the fighting continued.  Quevedo
believed that  reinforcements  would  eventually  arrive and
simply would not capitulate even  though  his  position  was
increasingly untenable.  What Quevedo did  not know was that
Battalion   No.  17  had  met   determined   fighting  against
Guevara's   column,  and  had   withdrawn.  General  Cantillo,
acknowledging  that the operation was another  failure,  now
looked  for  another  strategy.  Disheartened and exhausted,
Quevedo  finally surrendered his command on  July  21st.  In
all,  his  force  had  suffered  41  killed  and 30 wounded.
Castro's rebels had but three deaths, yet managed to capture
241 prisoners,  249  assorted  weapons  including  bazookas,
machine guns and mortars and 31,000 rounds of ammunition.
     By the end of July, Cantillo's confidence in the Army's
ability  to  defeat  Castro   was   rapidly   waning.  In  a
confidential report to Batista, he described the  rebels  in
superhuman terms:
     ... (they) can tolerate staying  for  days  at the
     same place,  without  moving,  eating  or drinking
Furthermore,  he still believed he was facing  a  force  of
between 1,000-2,000 rebels.*
*Cantillo's overestimation can  partially  be contributed to
faulty intelligence.  However, the primary reason stems from
the fact that he refused to believe that a force of only 300
men could be so effective.
     Cantillo's assessment of  his  own  troops  in the same
report  was   far   different.  He   cited  low  morale  and
discipline,  plus  a  lack  of weapons.   One  of  the  main
problems effecting morale was the troops':
     ... awareness that  there  is  no  strong  penalty
     against  those who surrender or betray their unit,
     and that falling prisoner to  the  enemy  ends all
     their  problems, has  sapped  the  will  to  fight
     through the  ranks  ...  .  The  number  of  self-
     inflicted wounds  is  extraordinarily high.  It is
     necessary to punish troops refusing to advance and
     to occupy their positions. 45/
     A  review of  the  record reveals that Cantillo's forces
suffered  considerably more than  low  morale  and  weapons'
shortages.  His forces lacked tactical knowledge in military
operations in  general,  and  counterguerrilla operations in
particular.   In  addition,  lack of command unity above the
battalion  level  (except  for Cantillo  himself),  and  the
refusal of many of his officers to fight, contributed to the
generally   poor   performance  of  his  units.  With  these
problems weighing heavily upon his mind, Cantillo decided to
make one more attempt to defeat Castro.
     The  General's  new  strategy  was  based  on a venture
designed  to  capitalize on the tactical situation remaining
from his last plan.  Battalion No. 17 was still  stranded in
the mountains  following  their  abortive attempt to relieve
Quevedo's battalion.   Cantillo planned to trick Castro into
pursuing Battalion No. 17 as it withdrew, pulling the  rebel
leader into an ambush by making him think  that  the regular
army was in full retreat.
     Cantillo's  plan  consisted of developing a  triangular
perimeter around the town of  Las  Mercedes,  located to the
north  of  the  Sierra  Maestra.  To  preclude any chance of
escape  should  the  rebels  take  the  bait,  Cantillo also
stationed several companies on the flanks  of the retreating
battalion.   The  General hoped that the rebels would pursue
Battalion No.  17 in its retreat from the mountains until it
became   impossible  for   them   to   escape   the   army's
encirclement.  Cantillo's   plan   depended  upon   Castro's
probable ambition  to defeat a second battalion within a one
month period.  He correctly guessed that Fidel would want to
take advantage of  his  newly  acquired  firepower  and  the
apparent demoralization of the retreating troops.
     Cantillo  read  Castro perfectly.   Overly  anxious  to
score  a major offensive victory and sustain the momentum of
his insurrection, Fidel was ripe  for this kind of ruse.  It
played not only to his sense of drama, but his ego.
     Las Mercedes.  The Battle of Las Mercedes began on July
29,  1958.  Just   as  General  Cantillo  had  hoped,  the
opportunity to defeat another army battalion  was  too  much
for Castro to ignore.  As Battalion No. 17 began to retreat,
Fidel  ordered  the  complete  mobilization  of  his  Sierra
Maestra columns.  With uncharacteristic abandon,  the  rebel
leader plunged his forces headlong into Cantillo's trap.
     On  the first day of the battle, about half of Castro's
forces  positioned  themselves  along   Battalion  No.  17's
withdrawal route, while the rest of the rebels kept pressure
on   the  battalion's  rear-guard.  In  classic  "fidelista"
style, the rebels opened up on the battalion's advance-guard
as soon as  it  entered the ambush site.  The rebels quickly
dispatched 32 soldiers before realizing that they themselves
were in an ambush, and Battalion No.  17's  advance unit had
been the bait.  As regular army forces began to close on the
ambush site,  Major  Rene ("Daniel") Ramos Latour, commander
of  the guerrilla forces now engaged, attempted to  withdraw
his  column while  calling  to  Castro  for  reinforcements.
Fidel responded by  moving  to  the  aid  of  his beleagured
column,  only  to  move  within  the  encirclement  himself.
Seizing upon the situation, General Cantillo moved  to  take
the  unique  opportunity  of engaging the guerrillas on  the
plains by ordering three battalions  from  the Estrada Palma
post into  position  against  the  rebels.  In addition, the
General further  increased  his forces by committing another
1,500 troops from Bayamo and Manzanillo garrisons.
     Toward  the end of the day, Castro finally realized his
precarious   position.  He   sent  word  to  "Che"  Guevara,
describing his  serious  situation.  Guevara,  probably  the
best of the guerrilla leaders from a tactical viewpoint, had
the  ability  to  see  the  whole  battlefield  in any given
encounter.   After  receiving  Castro's  report,  he quickly
deduced  Cantillo's plan.  "Che" realized that Castro  could
be  saved  from  disaster  only if Cantillo's reinforcements
could  be delayed.   Without  hesitation,  Guevara  and  his
forces attacked the reinforcing column  as  they  moved into
position  near  Cubanacao, inflicting serious casualties and
capturing some  50  prisoners.  This  action  caused a brief
impasse in  the  fighting,  during  which Castro was able to
withdraw some of his troops and  consolidate  the  rest into
better defensive positions.
     July 31st, despite  Guevara's  brilliant  action, found
Castro  still  entrapped.  By  now, the guerrilla forces had
suffered  some  70  rebels  killed.  The  price  of  Fidel's
vainglory had  become  quite  high.  Still, General Cantillo
did  not  press  his  advantage.  He as  yet  believed  that
Castro's forces numbered much higher than  was  actually the
case.  In addition,  his  great  respect  for  the guerrilla
fighter's tenacity  made  him naturally cautious.  He seemed
to be waiting until he was absolutely sure of victory before
he proceeded with the action.
     Early on August 1st, Castro sent a messenger to General
Cantillo   asking   for  a   ceasefire   and   negotiations.
Castro, the politician, would try  to  salvage the situation
that  Fidel,  the  guerrilla  leader, had  caused.  Cantillo
agreed  and sent forth negotiators.  In a letter to Cantillo
on a  page from his personal notebook, Castro wrote:  "It is
necessary to  open  a  dialogue so that we can put an end to
the conflict." 46/  Upon receipt of  the  letter  and  after
consultation with   his  advisors,  Cantillo decided that the
letter was important enough to warrant Batista's attention.
     Batista was  puzzled  as  to  Castro's intentions.  The
President  was convinced that, despite  his  losses  at  Las
Mercedes, Castro had the ability to  carry  on the guerrilla
war almost indefinitely.   Batista  sensed  that  Castro was
only delaying,  but  on Cantillo's insistence, he decided to
appoint  a government negotiator and personal representative
to return with Cantillo to talk to Castro.
     Batista's analysis  of  Castro's  scheme  was accurate,
although  neither  the  President nor Cantillo  guessed  the
extent of Castro's peril.  Fidel kept  the discussions going
until August 8th, by which time he had managed to remove his
forces  from  Cantillo's  grasp.   After   the  negotiations
failed, Cantillo and Batista found that they had no one left
with whom to resume the battle.   The impact of this debacle
upon  the  morale of the Cuban  army  was  devastating.  The
majority of the junior officers who had fought so  hard over
the preceding weeks were disgusted  that  Cantillo  had even
stooped to negotiate.  Moreover, Castro's masterful maneuver
had come at  just  the juncture when the regular army, after
having fought  well  for  the  first  time  in the campaign,
seemed to have all the advantages.
     In  later  years Castro frequently claimed Las Mercedes
as a military victory for the M-26-7.  While the results may
be  viewed  as a political success, the  fact  is  that  Las
Mercedes almost resulted in a disaster  for his movement and
in Fidel's  capture  by  the government forces.  Ultimately,
Las Mercedes  was  particularly significant in two respects:
it marked the final phase of  Batista's  unsuccessful summer
offensive, and established General Cantillo  as  a  point of
contact  between Fidel Castro and Fulgencio Batista.   While
the  former  result faded in comparison to the  events  that
followed, the latter was to be a portentous occurrence.
     The  Last  Campaign 47/.  As Batista's summer offensive
ended, the  regular  army  forces  withdrew  to  their major
garrisons, allowing Castro  to  commence  his own offensive.
On August 21st,  Fidel  summoned  two  of his most respected
lieutenants, "Che" Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos.  In  their
presence he signed the  general order that ultimately sealed
Batista's fate.  Guevara and Cienfuegos were  to  depart the
Sierra Maestra between  August 24th and August 30th, each at
the head  of  his own column.*  He assigned them one primary
mission:  to  march to Las Villas province,  more  than  600
kilometers to the east:  Once there, Guevara was to organize
the rebel groups in the Escambray Mountains under the M-26-7
Movement  and  begin  Third  Front  operations  against  the
government  in  accordance  with Castro's plan  to  cut  the
island in half  Cienfuegos, meanwhile, would organize M-26-7
elements in northern Las Villas,  and then press-on with his
own column to open a fourth front in the mountains of Cuba's
eastern most  province,  Pinar  del  Rio.  In order to reach
*The Second Column, under Cienfuegos, numbered about  60 and
the Eight Column, under Guevara, about 150.
these eastern  provinces, however, the guerrilla columns had
to transit Camaguey province.
     The  M-26-7  movement  was  essentially  nonexistent in
Camaguey  province;  crossing  was therefore a problem.  The
open,  flat  terrain  and  limited  vegetation  the province
offered was not  conducive to the brand of rural mountainous
operations  Castro's  guerrillas were accustomed to  waging.
Further,  since  the  majority  of the island's agricultural
effort was centered in Camaguey, the province was relatively
prosperous, and  the  populus  was generally unsupportive of
Castro's aims.
     To   counter   the   obvious  treat  of  crossing  this
unfamiliar and unfriendly terrain, arrangements were made to
bribe the army commander  of  Camaguey to guarantee the safe
passage of  the two columns.  Unfortunately, the commander's
defection  was   discovered,  and  the  columns  encountered
disjointed, but often heavy, resistance from  Batista's  air
and   ground   forces.  Almost   immediately  upon  entering
Camaguey  province,  Guevara  and Cienfuegos were forced  to
separate  their  columns;  they were never able  to  reunite
until after they reached Las Villas.
     Once the rebels were detected, the  army  mobilized its
forces and carefully laid a series of ambushes and blockades
across the  province.  Incensed that the guerrillas would be
so bold, the army's byword became:
     They shall not  pass!  We  shall serve the corpses
     of their  chiefs on a silver platter, because they
     have  had  the audacity to  think  that  they  can
     conduct a military parade throughout Camaguey. 48/
	Largely  because  of  the  attitude  suggested  in this
quote, the progress  of  Guevara's  and Cienfuegos's columns
was extremely slow.  Often they would have to wait for days,
without food or water, before the way was clear to move.  As
always,  they  were forced to traverse the  most  impassable
terrain   possible,   to  avoid  the  army's  roadlocks  and
ambushes.   The  author  of  the above quote, Colonel Suarez
Suquet of   the  Camaguey Rural Guards Regiment, took it upon
his  command to zero in on Guevara's column.  However, "Che"
had years of experience in this type of movement behind him,
and managed  to  frustrate  every ambush and blockade effort
that  Suarez   devised.  By   the  first  part  of  October,
Guevara's   column  had  woven  its  way  through  Camaguey,
avoiding major  confrontation  with  government  forces.  On
October 12th,  Guevara  led  his force across the Jatibonico
River  into  Las Villas province after being surreptitiously
escorted through Suarez's final blockade by an informer.  By
October  15th,   "Che"   was   installed  in  the  Escambray
Mountains.  Guevara's tactical skill and patience  had again
proved successful.
     Camilo  Cienfuegos  arrived   in  northern  Las  Villas
province a few days before Guevara  was  established  in the
Escambray.   While  government  forces  were  busy trying to
capture "Che," the Second Column had managed to slip through
relatively unscathed.  On  October  14th,  Castro  wrote  to
Cienfuegos saying:
        There  are  no  words with which to express the
     joy, the pride and the admiration  that I feel for
     you and your men.  What you have done is enough to
     win  you  a  place  in  the history of Cuba and of
     great military exploits.
        Don't  continue  your  advance  until  you  get
     further  orders.  Wait  for  Che in Las Villas and
     stay   with    him.  The    politico-revolutionary
     situation there is complicated and it is essential
     for you to  remain  in the province long enough to
     help stabilize it solidly. 49/
Cienfuegos was not to venture westward until  the rebels had
been able to  recover  physically,  and  until  the conflict
intensified in the areas already under Castro's influence.
     While Guevara and Cienfuegos were  moving  to establish
the  Third  Front  in  Las Villas, the Castro brothers  were
solidifying  their  control  over  Oriente.  By  mid-October
their  forces,  now  numbering  about 2,000, were  operating
freely throughout the  province.  Castro's  strategy for the
next weeks centered on the capital cities of Oriente and Las
Villas provinces:  Santiago  and  Santa Clara, respectively.
His plan called for the Third Front to capture  Santa Clara,
thus severing the  western  half  of the island from Havana,
and leaving  the  way  open  for  Fidel  and Raul to capture
Santiago  and its military garrison at  Moncada.  Using  the
arms that would be captured in these operations, the  rebels
could then move on Camaguey.   Once  the western half of the
island was secured, Castro planned to proceed with his plans
to establish the Fourth Front in Pinar del Rio province.
     Santa Clara. The  conquest  of  Santa Clara was left to
the combined forces of  Guevara  and  Cienfuegos.  Together,
their columns had  swollen to about 1,000 guerrilla fighters
by  the  first  part  of  December.  "Che" was given overall
command for the approaching battle.
     Santa Clara, geographically in the center of Las Villas
province, is surrounded by  four strategically located towns
that  form  a kind of man-made barrier around the provincial
capital.  Guevara's  plan  was  to  attack  all  four  towns
simultaneously.   Cienfuegos  and  his  guerrillas  were  to
operate north of the city  while  Guevara's  forces attacked
from   the   south.  To    preclude   the   possibility   of
reinforcements,  Guevara  also  planned  to  blockade  major
resupply routes to the  east  (from  Havana)  and west (from
Camaguey).  Finally, Guevara planned the capture of the orts
of Caibarien, to the north, and Cienfuegos, to the south, to
complete Santa Clara's isolation.  With the isolation of the
capital  and  capture  of  the  four towns surrounding Santa
Clara,  including  their  garrisons,  the  rebels then would
attempt to capture the city.
     The battle for Santa Clara began on  December 14th when
Guevara's columns attacked the town of Fomento, southeast of
Santa  Clara.  The  Fomento  garrison  capitulated,  without
serious resistance,  on  the  17th.  Leaving  a  small  rear
guard, the  rebels  pressed  on  to the town of Remedios the
next day.
     To the north, Camilo Cienfuegos  advanced  with  little
opposition   until   he   reached   the  town  of  Yaguajay.
Yaguajay's garrison was defended by a relatively small group
of regulars (250) under the  command  of  Captain Abon Ly, a
Cuban  of Chinese ancestry.  Convinced  that  reinforcements
would  be  sent  from Santa Clara, Ly put  up  a  determined
defense of his post.  Repeatedly, the guerrillas attempted o
overpower  Ly  and  his men, but each time they  failed.  By
December 26th, Cienfuegos had  become  quite  frustrated; it
seemed  that  Ly  could not be overpowered, nor could he  be
convinced to surrender.  In desparation, Cienfuegos began to
use a homemade "tank" against Ly's position.  The "tank" was
actually a large tractor encased  in  iron plates with a .50
caliber   machine  gun  mounted  on  top.  It,  too,  proved
unsuccessful.   Finally,   on  December  30th,  Ly,  out  of
ammunition, surrendered his garrison.   Cienfuegos,  one  of
the  most gallant of the rebel officers, allowed Captain  Ly
to retain his weapon and accepted his honorable surrender.
     On  December  27th, following the uncontested surrender
of the port cities of Caibarien and  Cienfuegos, Guevara met
with his officers to study the plan for the final  attack on
Santa Clara.  On December 30th, with Cienfuegos's success at
Yaguajay, the way was now open to  the  capital.  The  early
morning  hours  of  December  31st  found Guevara's combined
forces converging from all directions on  the city.  By mid-
afternoon  the  battle  was  over.  Having little heart  for
combat, most of the city's 6,500  regular  troops and police
surrendered without a fight.
     Meanwhile,  in  Oriente  province, Fidel Castro and his
rebel army  continued  their  general  offensive  toward the
Santiago.  From December 23rd to December 26th the offensive
in Oriente had cost the rebels 26  dead and over 50 wounded,
but the Army had  sustained  over  600  casualties.  50/  On
December 30th, the town of Maffo fell to Fidel after 20 days
of seige.  The way was now clear  to the capital of Oriente,
and the battle for Santiago could begin.
Batista's Departure 51/
     By   the   end   of  December,  1958,  Castro's  forces
controlled   virtually   all   of  Las  Villas  and  Oriente
provinces,  and  Camaguey  province  from  its  geographical
center westward to  Oriente.  In  Havana, events of the last
days  of  December  were  beginning  to affect the morale of
Batista and his high ranking officers.  The  Chief  of Staff
of the  Cuban  Armed  Forces,  General  Tabernilla,  Sr. was
actively  pursuing a plan to remove Batista  and  install  a
civilian   or  military  junta  in  his   place.  Tabernilla
approached U.S.  ambassador  Earl  Smith asking for American
support for the junta, but Smith  replied that he could only
discuss  such  a solution with Batista himself.*  Tabernilla
next  turned  to other members of the general staff.   After
consultation, they decided that General Cantillo should once
again  negotiate  a  settlement  with   Castro   based  upon
Tabernilla's plan for a junta to succeed the President.
*In point of fact,  Washington had been trying for some time
to remove Batista from power, while  preventing  Castro from
taking over.
     Cantillo  flew  to  Oriente  to  meet  with  Castro  on
December 28th  and  explain  the  Chief of Staff's proposal.
Castro rejected Cantillo's overture out-of-hand  because  it
included  Batista's escape.   Castro  wanted  the  President
arrested  and  brought to trial for crimes against the Cuban
people.*  Castro  also  opposed  the  junta, preferring  (he
said) a return to constitutional  guarantees  and democracy.
As a counter-proposal, Castro suggested that he and Cantillo
join their  forces  and  carry out a joint operation against
Batista starting  with  the capture of Santiago and sweeping
eastward across the island to Havana.  Under Castro's  plan,
the army  would  support  the  insurrection unconditionally,
back   the   president   appointed   by   the  revolutionary
organizations and  accept whatever decisions were made as to
the  military's  future.  52/  Cantillo  would  not  promise
outright support for Castro, but closed the  meeting  saying
that he would return to Havana  and  consider  the proposal.
He  promised  he would send word to Castro prior to December
31st, Fidel's deadline for the attack on Santiago.
     Upon his return to Havana, Cantillo was summoned to the
Presidential Palace by Batista.  The President chastised his
Chief of Operations for negotiating with  Castro without his
approval.  Cantillo explained that he was under  orders from
Tabernilla  and   thought  that  Batista  had  approved  his
*Castro  did  not consider Batista's coup  d'etat  to  be  a
legitimate revolution  as  had  been  ruled  by the Court of
Constitutional Guarantees in 1952.  He instead believed that
Batista had violated Cuban law and should be punished.
mission.  Calling Tabernilla a  traitor,  Batista  asked for
Cantillo's support until the  President  could devise a plan
himself.  Cantillo agreed.
     Late on December 31st, after the word of  Santa Clara's
fall had reached the  capital,  Cantillo  met  with  Batista
again.   The  President  explained his plan of succession to
the General.   He  said  that  he  would be leaving in a few
hours, and that Cantillo should assume control of  the armed
forces.  In addition, Batista proposed that a civilian junta
be  organized  with   individuals   not  involved  with  the
government, and  that the senior member of the Supreme Court
assume the presidency in accordance with  Article 149 of the
Cuban  Constitution.  Unhesitatingly,  Cantillo   agreed  to
follow the President's plan.
     In   the  early  morning  hours  of  January  1,  1959,
President Batista released a  message  to  the Cuban people.
He stated that, upon the advice of his generals and to avoid
further  bloodshed  he  was  leaving the country.  At  2:10
A.M. Batista boarded a DC-4 bound for the Dominican Republic
with members of his family and those "Batistianos" who  knew
they could expect no mercy from the rebels.   In  Cuba,  all
was lost for Fulgencio Batista, Fidel Castro had triumphed.
              Chapter III:  Castro's Insurrection
     1/   Enrique Meneses, Fidel Castro (New York:  Taplinger
Publishing Company, 1966), p. 29.
     2/   The  material  on  Batista  is  based primarily on:
Edmund A.  Chester,  A  Sergeant  Named  Batista  (New York:
Henry Holt and Company, 1954).
     3/   Unless otherwise noted, the principal  sources  for
the background on  Castro  are:  Jules  Dubois, Fidel Castro
(Indianapolis:  Bobbs-Merrill Co.,  Inc.,  1959,  pp. 14-25;
Herbert  L.  Matthews,  Fidel Castro (New York:   Simon  and
Schuster, 1969), pp. 17-62; and Meneses, op. cit., pp. 29-
     4/   Ramon  L.  Bonachea and Marta San Martin, The Cuban
Insurrection:    1952-1959,     (New   Brunswick:  Transaction
Books, 1974), p. 10.  A birth year  for Fidel Castro of 1926
is  the popularly accepted year used  by  most  of  Castro's
biographers.   However,   Bonachea   and   San  Martin  cite
convincing evidence, in the form of a certifying letter from
Castro's mother, that attests to Fidel's birthyear as 1927.
     5/ Carlos Franqui, Diary  of the Cuban Revolution, (New
York:  Viking  Press,  1976),  pp. 1-2.  Extracted  from  an
interview taken by Franqui.
     6/   This  fact  is  noted  by  all  three  of the above
principal sources cited in note 3, although Meneses explains
that only Castro's detractors make this accusation.
     7/ Matthews, op. cit., p. 21.
     8/ Dubois, op. cit., p. 15.
     9/   Theodore  Draper,  Castroism:  Theory and  Practice
(New York:  Frederick A. Praeger, Inc., 1965), p. 114.
     10/ Franqui, op. cit., p. 1.
     11/ Meneses, op. cit., p. 38.
     12/  The  principal sources  for  this  account  of  the
assault on the Moncada Barracks are:  Franqui, op. cit., pp.
43-64; Meneses, op.  cit., pp. 37-40; Bonachea, et. al., op.
cit., pp. 17-28; Matthews, op.  cit., pp. 63-77; and Dubois,
op. cit., pp. 30-83.
     13/  Matthews, op. cit., p.  63.  In  his  conclusion to
his  defense,  Castro argued that he had the right to  rebel
against tyranny as  was guaranteed by article 40 of the 1940
Constitution.   Judge  Manual Urrutia, during the 1957 trial
of some of the Granma prisoners, used the same reasoning  in
his refusal  to  condemn  the  accused  to death.  Urrutia's
decision ended his career as a judge and caused  his  exile,
but laid the groundwork for Fidel to  chose him, in 1958, as
the future President of Cuba.  (Matthews, pp. 75-76).
     14/  Dubois,  op.  cit.,  pp. 84-137; and Bonachea, et.
al., op. cit., pp. 34-79.
     15/  Meneses, op. cit., p. 39.
     16/  Ibid, p. 40.
     17/  Wyatt  Mac  Gaffey  and Clifford R. Barnett, Cuba:
Its  People,  Its  Society,  Its  Culture  (New  Haven:  ARAF
Press,  1962), p. 235.  Although Castro continued to express
loyalty  to  the Ortodoxo Party, he failed to gain the level
of Party leadership he had anticipated upon his release from
prison.  according  to Meneses, op. cit., p. 42, indications
were that  the  Ortodoxo  Party  had  split,  and Castro had
followed the  more  revolutionary  faction.  Apparently  the
more conservative (and largest) element of the Party did not
agree  with  Fidel's  advocation  of  violence to  overthrow
     18/  Franqui, op. cit., p. 90.
     19/  Martin  Ebon, Chea  The Making of  a  Legend  (New
York:   Universe Books, 1969), pp. 7-35.
     20/  Meneses, op.cit., p. 41.
     21/  Fidel  Castro,  History  Will Absolve Me (New York:
Lyle Stuart,  1961), pp. 35-36.  This publication is said to
be a reprint of the pamphlet that was  circulated  following
the Moncada trial.
     22/  Bonachea, et. al., op. cit., p. 65.
     23/  Unless otherwise noted, the  principal  sources for
the   Sierra  Maestra  phase  of  Castro's  revolution  are:
Dubois, op. cit., pp. 139-324; Bonachea,  et.  al.,  pp. 79-
197; and Matthews, op. cit., pp. 93-125.
     24/  Ernesto   Guevara,  Reminiscences  of  the  Cuban
Revolutionary War, (New York:  Grove Press, 1968), p. 41.
     25/Fulgencio  Batista,  Cuba   Betrayed,   (New   York:
Vantage, 1962), p. 51.  In his own  account  of this period,
Batista implies that his artillery attacked  Castro's forces
as  soon  as they landed, inflicting significant casualties.
His account is vague, however,  and disagrees with all other
sources which place the attack several days later.
     26/ More than anything else, this practice by the Cuban
Army of executing prisoners  caused  the  rebels,  in future
battles, to fight to the death.
     27/  R.  Hart  Phillips,  Cuba:  Island of Paradox (New
York:  McDowell,  Obolensky, n.d.), pp.  289-291.  Hart  and
others  indicate  that   the   Matthew's   interview  was  a
significant turning point in  Castro's  insurrection.  Prior
to  its  release,  many Cubans believed Castro to  be  dead.
After the  interview  was  published, fighters with food and
weapons began to stream into the Sierra Maestra  seeking  to
join Fidel.
     28/  John Dorschner and Roberto  Fabricio,  The Winds of
December (New York:  Coward, McCann &  Geoghegan,  1980), p.
     29/  Batista, op. cit., p. 51.  Batista chose to ignore
any activity by Castro or  his  men  until  after  Matthews'
article appeared in February, calling this  attack  the "act
of bandits."
     30/  As  soon  as  the Cuban Army pressure against the
rebels  relaxed,  Guevara  abandoned  Castro's technique  of
roaming the mountains, and remaining constantly on the move.
Throughout   the   major  portion  of  the  rebellion  "Che"
maintained  a  base camp in a valley near Pico Turquino.  He
established a  hospital,  armament  workshop, tailor's shop,
bakery and newspaper.
     32/ Meneses, op. cit., pp. 56-57.
     33/ Ibid., p. 57.
     34/  Ernesto Guevara, Episodes of the Revolutionary War
(New York:  International Publishers, 1968), p. 69.
     35/  Ray  Brenman, Castro, Cuba and Justice (New York:
Doubleday and Co., 1959), pp. 20-21.  Not all  of  Batista's
measures  were as  harsh.  More  subtle  reprisals  such  as
neglect  of  public  schools,  garbage collection and street
repairs were also used.
     36/  Manuel  Urrutia Lleo, Fidel Castro & Company, Inc.
(New York:  Frederick A. Praeger, 1964), pp. 3-4.
     37/  Earl  E.T.  Smith,  The  Fourth  Floor  (New York
Random House, 1962), p. 31.
     38/ Bonachea, et. al., op. cit., p. 166.
     39/ Smith, op. cit., p. 71.
     40/ Ibid., pp. 74-76.
     41/ Robert Taber, M-26:  Biography of a Revolution (New
York:  Lyle Stuart, 1961), p. 30.
     42/ Batista opponents  had  been  petitioning  the U.S.
State Department for sometime to stop the  flow  of  arms to
Batista.  In  addition,  there was considerable disagreement
within Congress concerning  the same subject.  As a point of
information,  U.S.  arms  shipments  to  Cuba  had  actually
stopped several  months  before  the  official announcement.
Only Batista's  insistence  upon delivery of some 20 armored
cars he had previously been promised brought the  issue to a
climax. See Urrutia, op  cit.,  pp. 17-18  and Smith, op.
cit., passim.
     43/ Guevara, op   cit.,  p.  124.  At least two unasso-
ciated groups were known to be operating in the Escambray in
early 1958.  One,  built   on  the remnants of the Cienfuegos
disaster, and  the  other   comprised of the survivors of the
1957 palace attack.
     44/ Unless  otherwise  cited, the principal source is
Bonachea, et. al., op. cit., pp. 198-317.
     45/ Bonachea, et. al., ibid., pa 248.
     46/ Ibid., p. 257.
     47/  The  principal  sources for the discussion of the
final   campaign   area  Dubois,  op.  cit.,  pp.  302-351;
Bonachea, et. al., op.  cit.,  pp.  266-301;  Matthews,  op.
cit., pp. 127-130; and Dorschner, et. al., op. cit., pp. 81-
     48/ Bonachea, et.  al.,  op.  cit.,  p. 273.  Extracted
from  a confidential set of instructions issued  by  Colonel
Suarez  Suquet,  commander  of  the  Camaguey  Rural  Guards
     49/ Franqui, op. cit., p. 416.
     50/ Bonachea, et. al., op. cit., p. 299.
	51/ The principal sources for the climax of Castro's
rebellion are:  Meneses,  op. cit., pp. 85-86; Bonachea, et.
al., op. cit., pp. 302-317; and Franqui, op. cit., pp. 481-
	52/ Bonachea, et. al., op. cit., p. 307.
     Cuba's new  government was essentially stillborn.  When
General Cantillo informed Supreme  Court  Magistrate  Carlos
Manuel  Piedra,  a  septuagenarian,  that  he  was  the  new
president, Piedra  is reported to have said, "Now what do we
do, General?" 2/  Cantillo suggested that they call together
some advisors and attempt to form a government.
     Before  dawn  on  January  1st,  Cantillo,  Piedra  and
several handpicked civilians met to discuss the situation.
     All of those present represented the passing of an
     era; and, confronting a desperate situation (they)
     launched into  long, rhetorical discourses.  While
     the speakers reminisced about the 1933 Revolution,
     World  War  II and Batista's regime ... , Cantillo
     observed that, 'the whole structure of  the  armed
     forces  was  falling  apart  while   the  old  men
     discussed irrelevancies.' 3/
At  mid-day,  Cantillo  suggested  that  the group  move  to
officially  install  Piedra  as  president  by  gaining  the
approval of the Supreme Court:  However,  the  Court refused
to  legitimize  Piedra,  citing  the  legal  principle  that
Batista's  resignation  was  the   result  of  a  victorious
revolution and not the normal course  of  events; therefore,
the revolution was the font of  law,  leaving the insurgents
in the  position  of organizaing their own government.  Once
learning of the Courts decision, Piedra told  Cantillo that
he could  not serve as president without his fellow jurists'
acceptance.  When the news of Cantillo's failure  to  form a
government reached  the M-26-7 urban underground, they moved
to  take  control of Havana's streets, government  buildings
and  police  precincts.   By   the   end  of  the  day,  the
underground controlled most of the city.
At Long Last; Victory
     Castro did not learn of Batista's departure until about
9:00  AM on January 1st.  Hearing too of Cantillo's attempts
to form a civilian or  military  junta, Fidel knew he had no
time to waste in  consolidating his position.  Consequently,
he immediately ordered "Che" Guevara  and  Camilo Cienfuegos
to  proceed  to  Havana to consolidate M-26-7 control of the
capital.   Immediately  thereafter,  he delivered a dramatic
radio   address  to  the  Cuban  people,  alerting  them  to
Batista's departure and Cantillo's unlawful attempts to take
over the government. In  the  same  speech,  he  warned the
workers to  be  prepared  for a general strike to counteract
Cantillo's scheme.   Finally,  Castro  ordered his forces to
immediately march on Santiago.
     News  of  the  events  in  Havana also reached Santiago
early on  January  1st.  The  city  was  under  regular army
control, and a battle  seemed  inevitable.   As the guerrilla
army  approached  the  city, Castro released a communique to
the  Santiago garrison:  the army was  to  surrender  before
6:00 PM, or  his  guerrilla  forces  would  take the city by
assault.  The commander of the regular forces,  Colonel Rego
Rubido,  flew  by helicopter to  see  Castro.  Acknowledging
that in light of the events in the capital further bloodshed
was useless, Rubido agreed to allow Castro to enter Santiago
de Cuba unopposed.   In  turn,  to placate Rubido's officers
and  troops  as  well as to ensure their  neutrality,  Fidel
appointed  Rubido  commander-in-chief  of  the revolutionary
army  in Santiago.  The city fell  into  Castro's  hands  on
January 2, 1959.
     At 1:30  AM  that  same morning, Castro made his first
speech to a large crowd.  He spoke from the wall of the same
Moncada Fortress  where  the  M-26-7 Movement has begun five
and one-half years  before.  Fidel  Castro had fulfilled his
promise to liberate Cuba.
        He had started with 200 men who were reduced to
     seventy; seventy who, with another twelve, made up
     the eighty-two who  disembarked  at Belic; eighty-
     two, of whom twelve remained  at  the  end  of the
     first week in  the  Sierra; twelve, who in twenty-
     five  months had  wiped  out  an  army  of  30,000
     professional soldiers.
        Fidel  Castro  was to go through many emotional
     moments on  his  journey  along  the length of the
     island to  the  Presidential Palace in Havana, but
     perhaps none was so significant, so full of drama,
     as when he spoke at Moncada on that morning of the
     2nd January  1959.  Next  to  him  stood  the  new
     President of Cuba, Manuel Urrutia Lleo, and on his
     other   side  Monsignor  Enrique  Perez  Serantes,
     Archbishop  of  Santiago  de Cuba, the man who had
     not only baptized Fidel Castro, but also saved his
     life when  Batista  wanted  to eliminate him after
     the unsuccessful attack on Moncada. 4/
     Castro began his long march to  Havana  on  January  2,
1959.   The  progress  of  the march was tediously slow, but
Fidel  was  in  no hurry.  President Urrutia had  been  sent
ahead to install the government, and Guevara and  Cienfuegos
were establishing control over the capital.   As for Castro,
he had  accepted the position of Representative of the Rebel
Army.  Behind this modest front, however, Castro had a well-
conceived plan.   He  wanted  to project his personality over
the  people  and  insure their support for the revolutionary
changes he envisioned.  He knew that a  slow  and triumphant
march across the length of Cuba  would set the island aflame
with  fervor.  Through  every  town  he  passed  Castro  was
greeted with wild enthusiasm.  Old ladies blessed and prayed
for him, and young  women tried to get close enough to touch
him.   Fidel   had   become   larger  than  life;  all  past
"caudillos" paled before him.
     Meanwhile, General  Cantillo  was  making  a last-ditch
attempt   to   consolidate   his   position.  He   reasoned,
correctly,  that a personal attempt  to  mobilize  the  army
would fail.  He needed to find someone  who was both dynamic
and  anti-Batista.  Cantillo  concluded  that  only  Colonel
Ramond Barquin fit both  of  those  requirements and ordered
his release from the Isle of Pines.*  Upon Barquin's arrival
at  Camp  Columbia in Havana, Cantillo informed him  of  the
situation.  He suggested the Barquin attempt to organize the
army in order to present a  cohesive  front to the guerrilla
forces when they arrived.  Barquin  agreed  and demonstrated
his good faith by having Cantillo arrested.
*Colonel Barquin had led an  abortive  coup  attempt against
Batista known  as the "Conspiracy of the Pure" in late 1955.
He was imprisoned for his efforts.
     With  Cantillo  out  of the way, Barquin  proceeded  to
consolidate his  position.  He  planned to play a moderating
role  between  the regular army and the revolutionary forces
by demonstrating his neutrality and  calling for compromise.
Barquin  soon  came  to  the  same  conclusion  Cantillo had
reached,  however;  the  insurgents  were  in  no  mood  for
compromise and  any  resistance would only cause unnecessary
bloodshed, probably including his  own.  Consequently,  with
little  ceremony, Barquin delivered command  of  the  Havana
garrison  to Camilo Cienfuegos.  The total  victory  of  the
insurrection was now guaranteed.  The  last  bastion of hope
was removed for those  who  wished  to see Batista defeated,
but not by Castro.
The Communist State
     Fidel Castro finally reached Havana on January 6th, the
day  after  the  United  States  extended formal  diplomatic
recognition  to   President  Urrutia's  government.  5/  Few
people paid much attention to  anything  Urrutia was engaged
in, however; Castro was the  main  attraction and everything
else was secondary.
        As  Castro,  surrounded  by guerrillas, entered
     the capital, emotion reached incalculable heights.
     Banners and  flags hung from almost every building
     in Havana.   The  national  anthem  was heard from
     loud speakers all along the way, as was the M-26-7
     battle hymn ... .
        Castro  stopped  at  the Presidential Palace to
     pay his  respects  to  Urrutia.  He  went  to  the
     balcony, and addressed the thousands of people who
     surrounded the  building.  An  ovation that lasted
     close to 15 minutes welcomed the Maximum Leader.*
     Castro  gave  a short, but  emotional  speech.  He
     closed by raising his right hand, and lowering his
     voice.  The   multitude  quieted.  In  a  dramatic
     voice he  asked  Cubans  to open a path for him to
     walk through.  He  would  show the world, he said,
     how disciplined Cubans  were.  As  he moved toward
     the  palace's  exit,  the people, as if enchanted,
     opened a path  for  the Maximum Leader ... .  This
     act impressed  everyone  who  saw  the event.  For
     customarily  emotional,  undisciplined Cubans,  it
     was unprecedented. 6/
     From the palace, Castro  marched  toward  Camp Columbia
where he was scheduled to  present  a  television address to
the  nation. Upon arriving, he launched into an impassioned
oration that  lasted  for  hours.  Castro  talked  about the
republic  and  the  revolution  entering  a  new  phase.  He
denounced  the cults of personality and ambition that  might
endanger the  revolution  and  cautioned  the people against
accepting dictatorships.  Toward  the  end  of  his  speech,
several white doves were released as a symbol of peace.  One
of the  doves  landed on Castro's shoulder causing the crowd
to  fall  into  a deep silence.  Many fell to their knees in
prayer,  and  a  general  sense of awe spread throughout the
throng and  the  nation.  While  Fidel spoke of the evils of
caudilloism,  he  was  being  simultaneously  revered as the
"Savior of  the Fatherland."  His words were falling on deaf
ears.   No  one  doubted  on  that day that Castro was a man
inspired with a mission, and that Cuba was  on  its  way  to
restoration  of  the  1940  Constitution  and  a  return  to
democratic reforms.
*English translation of  "Maximo Lider," a title bestowed on
Castro by his followers.
     In the days and weeks that followed, Castro appeared as
a  man  driven  by euphoria.  Sleeping only  three  hours  a
night, he delivered speeches everywhere  and  anywhere there
was a crowd, no matter how small.   As  Castro governed from
his  hotel,  President Urrutia and his Prime  Minister  Jose
Miro Cardona looked  on  helplessly  from  the  Presidential
Palace.  Cardona  finally  became  so  frustrated  with  the
dichotomy  between  what  the  government  ordered and  what
Castro did, that on February 13th, he  resigned,  suggesting
that  Castro  take over as Prime Minister.   Fidel  promptly
obliged.  With his brother Raul as head of the armed forces,
Fidel now began to assume control  of the "official" destiny
of Cuba.
     As  Castro  became  more enamored with his own fame, he
began to reject any criticism, no  matter  how constructive,
as  anti-revolutionary.  Any  dialogue that  questioned  his
ideas became viewed both as a personal attack and an affront
to  the M-26-7.  It is significant to  note  that  the  only
people who seemed to sense this, and therefore did not argue
with  him,  were  the members of the Cuban Communist  Party.
While Castro went on expounding  theoretical  jibberish with
few, if  any,  practical  ideas,  the  communists  set about
quietly gaining  control  of  the labor unions, press, radio
and television.
     Castro's personal connection with the  Cuban  Communist
Party prior to  the  end  of  1958  had  been virtually nil,
although toward the end of the offensive, an uneasy alliance
had been struck:  However, at the time, Castro was accepting
aide from almost every corner, thinking he could sort things
out later.  Further, until Batista's fall seemed inevitable,
the communists had  been  strong  supporters  of his regime.
Batista had needed communist support to help keep control of
the  workers and labor unions, and allowed them a relatively
free reign of Cuban politics as long as they did not present
an overt threat.
     Castro was now faced with much the  same situation.  He
desparately needed  someone to shadow his theoretical ideas,
and quietly place them into practice without detracting from
his image of being the "Maximum Leader."  Behind the scenes,
Raul Castro and Che Guevara, both long established Marxists,
provided   that   practicality,   aided    by    the   Cuban
Communist  Party.  Fidel,   perhaps  at  first  unwittingly,
assisted them by continually  denouncing  any  disruption of
his "plans" as anti-revolutionary.
     On  July 17,  1959,  the  Havana  newspaper  Revolucion
published    a    banner   headline   which   read:  "CASTRO
RESIGNS!" 7/  As expected, the  country  was  deeply shaken.
Castro really had no intention of resigning.   He  was  only
using  the  threat  to  consolidate  his  control  over  the
government by removing  the  last  of the moderates, whom he
considered to be anti-revolutionary.   By mid-morning of the
17th, when  the   people  had  been sufficiently aroused with
many protesting   against  his "resignation," Castro appeared
on  television,   announced  his resignation and  launched  a
vicious attack against President Urrutia and other moderates
who were trying to derail the revolution.  Since Urrutia had
often publically cautioned that the communists were becoming
too  powerful, Castro accused the  President  of  trying  to
blackmail him with the communist menace.
     Prior to the  speech, Castro had been out of the public
eye for some time.   The  impact of his sudden reappearance,
coupled with his  "resignation"  and his accusations against
Urrutia  was   electric;   the   people   clamored  for  the
President's  resignation.  That  same night, Urrutia  sought
protection in  the  Venezuelan  Embassy.  It  had  been  his
resignation,  not  Castro's,  that  had been accepted by the
Revolutionary  Cabinet.   He  was  replaced  by  an  obscure
communist named  Osvaldo  Dorticos  Torrado.  From July 17th
forward, Fidel Castro controlled the Cuban people while  the
Cuban Communist Party controlled the country.
              Chapter IV:    Castro's Revolution
     1/  Unless  otherwise noted, the principal sources are:
Enrique   Meneses,  Fidel   Castro   (New   York:  Taplinger
Publishing Company, 1966), pp. 85-101; Ramon L. Bonachea and
Marta San Martin, The  Cuban  Insurrection:  1952-1959  (New
Brunswick:  Transaction  Books,  1974),  pp.  313-331;  John
Dorschner  and  Robert Fabricio, The Winds of December  (New
York:  Coward,  McCann  &  Geoghegan,  1980),  pp.  251-494;
Manual  Urrutia  Lleo, Fidel Castro &  Company,  Inc.,  (New
York:  Frederick  A.  Praeger,  1964), pp. 3-54; and  Irving
Peter Pflaum,  Tragic  Island:  How  Communism  Came to Cuba
(Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:  Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1961), pp. 1-
14, 28-81.
     2/  Bonachea, et. al., op. cit., p. 313.
     3/  Ibid.
     4/  Meneses, op. cit., p. 87.
     5/  Earl E.T. Smith, The Fourth Floor (New York:  Random
House, 1962), pp. 198-199.
     6/  Bonachea, et. al., op. cit., p. 329.
     7/  Meneses, op. cit., p. 97.
     Fidel Castro won because he had a  better  plan, better
tactics and  better  organization;  Fulgencio  Batista  lost
because he did not.  Castro won because he had an idea whose
time had come;  Batista  lost because his idea was no longer
supportable.  Castro won because he never quit; Batista lost
because he did.
     In trying to discover the  reasons  for  Fidel Castro's
success, these  comparisons  may  seem superficial, but they
are not.  Castro won  because  he  developed  and  waged  an
effective guerrilla war;  Batista  lost because he could not
mount a  meaningful  counter.  Castro was successful because
he neutralized the  impact  of  the  United  States; Batista
failed  because  he  could  not retain Washington's support.
Finally, Castro won because he made the Cuban people believe
in him; Batista lost because he could not hold their faith.
     The  remainder  of this chapter will concentrate on  an
analysis  of   the   1953-1959  Cuban  Revolution  with  the
objective of  determining  why  Castro won and Batista lost.
Four  areas will be examined:   Castro's  guerrilla  warfare
technique, Batista's  counter-insurgency  policies, the role
of  the  United  States  and  the  impact  of  ideology  and
Guerrilla Warfare a la Castro
     Prior  to  Fidel  Castro,  the  traditional  method  of
removing  Latin  American  leaders  had  been  by "golpe  de
estado" ("coup d'etat") or palace revolution.  Generally,  a
small military  detachment would occupy government buildings
and the governmental leader  and  his  associates would seek
asylum   -- usually in a foreign embassy.  Then, with little
ceremony, a  new leader would proclaim himself in control of
the  government.  More  than 30 Latin American leaders  were
deposed   by  this  technique  between  1945  and  1955.  1/
Considering  the  inherent   restrictions  of  a  "golpe  de
estado," these revolts, while abruptly ending  the tenure of
political leaders and their followers, usually did not upset
the  prevailing  patterns  of  social,  economic or military
     If  Fidel  Castro's assault on the Moncada Fortress had
been successful, it is quite possible that Fulgencio Batista
would  have  been  removed  as  President, thus establishing
Castro as  the  catalyst for a "golpe de estado."  Since the
attack  on  the  Moncada Fortress was  unsuccessful,  Castro
turned to  a  type  of  combat  virtually  unknown  in Latin
America  --  guerrilla  warfare.  Whatever  his  intensions,
Castro's commitment to  this form of struggle implied a long
military  campaign,  sweeping   social   reforms  and  major
economic change.
     Revolutionary Doctrine.  This is not to say that Castro
and his  lieutenants  did not know what they were doing.  On
the  contrary,  several  of   the   cadre  of  leaders  that
surrounded Castro were quite familiar with the principles of
guerrilla tactics.  Men  such  as  "Che" Guevara and Alberto
Bayo had studied the guerrilla warfare doctrines of both Mao
and Giap.
     Bayo,  and  especially  Guevara,  became quite adept at
altering  established  guerrilla  tactical  theory  to  suit
Cuba's  social conditions and terrain.  They recognized  the
need to recruit young people who could endure the  hardships
of  guerrilla  fighting.  Considering  Batista's  repressive
practices,  volunteers  were  easy  to  find.  They  quickly
learned  that surprise, hit and run and other highly  mobile
tactics were  well  suited  to their small numbers and rural
surroundings.  They discovered the  role  of  deception  and
became experts at setting ambushes.  Perhaps most important,
they understood  the value of intelligence and were quick to
establish an effective network throughout the island.
     Still,  guerrilla  warfare  is not  solely  a  military
problem.  Tactics, training, intelligence  and  strategy are
not  enough.  Military  operations are only one component in
an overall system of insurgency.   To  be totally effective,
combat actions must be coordinated with political, economic,
social  and   psychological  variables  as  well a  Guerrilla
warfare, for  example,  would  not  have proved a sufficient
condition for success if other variables had not neutralized
the  power  of the United States. 2/  Castro understood this
symbiotic  relationship   and  frequently  demonstrated  its
application through the coordinated use of propaganda, urban
underground activities and rural guerrilla attacks.
     "Che"  Guevara.  Guevara's  contribution   to  Castro's
success cannot be  overemphasized.  Teacher,  tactician  and
warrior,  he knew the importance of the sanctuary  that  was
afforded by the Sierra Maestra and cautioned Castro  not  to
leave it until the  time  was right.  Guevara recognized the
necessity of  attention  to  detail,  such  as  establishing
hospitals and schools for the rural people who supported the
guerrillas  with food,  shelter  and  intelligence.  He  and
Castro both insisted  that the local people never be abused.
Food and  supplies  were  never  confiscated; the guerrillas
always paid.  Guevara and Raul Castro implemented  plans  to
spread  propaganda  by  radio  and  clandestine  newspapers,
carefully  explaining  Fidel Castro's revolutionary platform
to thousands who previously had  been  unaware  of  what the
rebels were fighting for. 3/  If Castro was the heart of the
revolution, Guevara became its soul.
     Urban Guerrilla Organizations.  As mentioned previously
in the study, the Cuban Revolution was not the sole province
of  Fidel  Castro and his rural guerrillas.   Several  urban
organizations existed.  Most  were either directly under the
control of M-26-7 (and thus in coordination with Castro), or
nominally associated.  These groups  may  have been the real
heros of the Cuban Revolution because they took the brunt of
any  reprisals   Batista's  forces  administered.  Following
every act  of  revolutionary sabotage or terrorism and every
guerrilla success in the field, known members of the various
urban   undergrounds  were  sought  out,  and,  if   caught,
executed.   This  counter-guerrilla  technique proved highly
successful.   As  a  result,  urban  guerrilla  activity was
limited until  the  later  months  of the revolution; groups
became  fragmented   and   coordination,  either  among  the
numerous  cadres  or  with Fidel Castro, became almost  non-
existent.  Nevertheless, urban guerrilla  organizations kept
pressure on Batista until  the  end,  providing  Castro with
valuable intelligence and smoothing the way for his eventual
takeover of Havana and the island.
     Role of the  Middle-Class.  The  Cuban Insurrection has
often been publicized as  a middle-class rebellion.  This is
an  arguable  point.  Castro  spent a considerable amount of
time  and  rhetoric  trying to convince the rural  sugarmill
workers and  peasants  to  join  his movement.  His ideas on
agricultural  reform  were based upon the precept of  giving
land to  the  landless  and  were  specifically  intended to
attract rural lower-class subvention.
     Initially,  he  was  not  very  successful  in  gaining
peasant support  beyond the immediate vicinity of the Sierra
Maestra.  Government  propaganda,  poor  communications from
Castro's   headquarters   and   the   factionalism  of   the
revolutionary  groups  made  it virtually impossible for the
rural  inhabitants to  get  a  clear  picture  of  what  was
happening.    It    was   not  until   after  Batista's  summer
offensive   that   rural support  for  the   guerrillas  became
prominent.  By  then,  Castro  had  been  so successful that
government  anti-guerrilla propaganda  was  ineffectual.  In
addition, by mid-1958, most of the major revolutionary grups
were  either   consolidated   under   Castro's   control  or
coordinating their efforts with his.  Also, "Radio Rebelde,"
Castro's  short-wave  radio  station, was  broadcasting  the
"revolutionary truth" throughout the island.
     Castro's   initial   failure   to  generate  widespread
interest among Cuba's rural poor held his rebellion in check
for several  months  because of manpower shortages.  Perhaps
more importantly,  it  had the effect of giving the movement
the personnel characteristics which ultimately accounted for
its reputation as a middle-class revolt.  The leaders of the
guerrilla columns and many  of  their troops had backgrounds
traceable to middle-class professions; the urban underground
organizations were almost exclusively middle-class; and most
of the  financial  support generated both at home and abroad
came    from    middle-class    pockets.  Further,    Castro
deliberately  did  not  antagonize Cuba's middle-class.   In
fact, he was careful to cultivate their support and sympathy
by  exploiting  their  hatred  of  Batista,  promising  free
elections and  the  return  of civil liberties, and avoiding
social,  economic   and  political  statements  which  might
alienate them  from  his cause.  Even after he gained power,
he   transiently   rewarded    non-Communist,   middle-class
supporters    with     offical    governmental    positions.
Ironically,   the  Cuban  middle-class  who  had  originally
supported Castro eventually swelled the ranks of the exiled.
     Propaganda.  In  the  hands of an expert, publicity can
be a  powerful weapon.  Information about guerrilla leaders
and  their exploits, if handled properly, may serve to  gain
sympathy, attract  recruits  and  create  doubts  about  the
effectiveness of the established government. The interviews
between Castro and  Matthews  not  only  accomplished  these
objectives,  but  contradicted  Batista's  contentions  that
Castro was dead.
     Thanks to  the  efforts  of Guevara, Castro learned the
value  of   propaganda.  As   the   guerrillas  became  more
organized, Castro began  to  soften his statements for wider
appeal.   In  addition,  he shifted emphasis away from broad
entreatment   of   the   general   population  to   specific
solicitation   of   the  rural  lower-class.   Coincidently,
several  revolutionary  newspapers,  bulletins and  leaflets
began to  appear  throughout  the  country, each touting the
motives and successes of the revolution and  the  tyrantical
excesses of  the  government.  However, the most influential
propaganda device used by Castro was "Radio Rebelde."
     First operated in February 1958, the station  became an
excellent tool  by  which  Castro could personally reach the
masses.  Every   night,  exaggerated   news   of   guerrilla
victories and proclamations were  broadcast  throughout  the
island.  In  great  oratorical style, Castro exhorted Cubans
not to fear his  revolution;  denying Batista's charges that
he was a communist and that M-26-7 was a communist movement.
The broadcasts became so  effective that Batista resorted to
jamming  the  transmissions  and simulating rebel broadcasts
over  the   same   frequency   to   counter   the  guerrilla
propagand. 4/
     Summary.  In  the  final  anaylysis, Castro's brand  of
guerrilla warfare did  not  depart dramatically from that of
Mao or  Giap.  He and Guevara merely modified their theories
to fit the Cuban scenerio.   Neither  was  the  middle-class
nature  of  the  Cuban  Revolution  unique.   As   has  been
previously  pointed  out,  many  revolutions,  including the
American, French and Russian, had  deep, middle-class roots.
What did  set  Castro's  revolution  apart, however, was its
departure from the  more traditional forms of Latin American
insurrections.  Events  since  1959  have demonstrated  that
that  lesson  has not been wasted elsewhere in the Caribbean
Internal Defense
     Some contend that Fidel Castro did not win, but rather,
that President  Batista  lost.  There is in fact evidence to
support the  contention  that  Batista  never  realized  the
magnitude  of   Castro's  insurgency.  It  appears  that  he
initially  saw  Castro as just another rival  for  political
power who,  although  popular,  had  no  widespread  base of
support among he Cuban  population.  Many  of  the decisions
Batista made  during  the  insurrection  suggest that he was
more concerned with maintaining the  tenuous  hold he had on
the country than eradicating Castro.
     Internal    Security   Forces.  5/  Batista's  counter-
guerrilla forces  numbered  as  high  as 40,000 men and were
composed  of   civilian   police,  paramilitary  forces  and
military forces.  The  National Cuban Police Force was built
around  seven  militarized  divisions of approximately 1,000
men each.  One division was assigned to each of  Cuba's  six
provinces, with  a  central  division  maintained in Havana.
The force was under the command of the Minister of  Defense.
In  addition to  the  National  Police,  the  Department  of
Interior  and  Justice also maintained police  forces  which
primarily handled undercover activites.
     The Rural Guard Corps was a separate paramilitary force
operated under  the  direction  of the Chief of Staff of the
Cuban  Army.  Its  activities  were  much  like  that  of  a
national guard or reserve.   It  was frequently mobilized to
help   control  demonstrations  or  strikes  and  came  into
extensive use in the latter stages of the revolution.
     The   actions   of   all   these  forces  were  closely
coordinated  with  regular   army   operations.  While   the
structure of Cuba's regular  armed  forces  has already been
discussed,  it  is  significant  to  note that all of Cuba's
internal   security   forces   shared   a  common  weakness:
inability to fight  a  protracted war, especially a counter-
guerrilla   war.  This    condition    was    understandable
considering the historical  nature  of  revolutions in Latin
America, and  certainly  not confined to Cuba.  In the words
of Fidel Castro:
     The  Armies  of  Latin  America are unnecessary if
     it's a  guestion  of this part of the world lining
     up against Russia.  None of them is strong enough,
     and if the occasion arises, the United States will
     give us all the armaments we need.  So, why do the
     Armies     exist?  Very    simple:  to    maintain
     dictatorial regimes and let the United States sell
     them  the  old  arms they don't need anymore ....
     The Army today, in Latin America, is an instrument
     of  oppression  and  a  cause  of disproportionate
     expediture for  countries  whose  economies cannot
     afford it. 6/
     Counter-Insurgency  Policy.  Batista's initial counter-
insurgency  policy  was  denial.  Until  Castro's successful
attack  upon  the   Ulbero   garrison   in   May  1957,  the
government's  official  policy  was  that  no  rebel  forces
existed.  Unofficially though,  Batista  had begun expanding
his  armed  forces  soon  after   the   Matthews  interview.
Batista's approach to combating the  insurgency  soon formed
into  two  objectives.  First to contain and then defeat the
guerrillas in the mountains, and second, to maintain law and
order in the cities.
     The regular armed forces and the Rural Guard Corps were
given the primary responsiblity of combating the  guerrillas
in   the   field.  Their  tactics  were  military  oriented,
conventional  and  largely  ineffective.  The  rebels seldom
defended the terrain over  which  they  fought;  they merely
withdrew.  Consequently, traditional military  tactics using
armor and aircraft were of limited value.  Hand grenades and
machineguns proved to be the most useful weapons. 7/
     Except   for  brief  campaigns  and  forays,  Batista's
military strategy was generally one of containment.  This is
amazing when  one  considers  the degree to which government
forces outnumbered the guerrillas, especially  in  the early
months of the conflict.  In spite of their lack of training,
it  is  difficult  to understand why several thousand  well-
equipped soldiers  could not have overrun the Sierra Maestra
and  killed or captured a few dozen poorly-armed guerrillas.
In fact, just the  opposite  always  seemed to happen.  With
few  exceptions,  Batista's  soldiers  proved time and again
that  they had no heart for fighting, and at the first  sign
of  trouble  they  usually  ran.  In general, their officers
were incapable of inspiring better performance.
     Meanwhile, the National  Police were given the function
of maintaining law and order within the urban areas.  Unlike
the regular military, they initially dispatched their duties
with considerable effectiveness.  Able to infiltrate many of
the  urban  guerrilla  organizations,  the  National  Police
conducted  a  mercilous  campaign  of  counter-revolutionary
techniques that included indiscriminate arrests, torture and
murder.  These countermeasures were so successful that urban
activities were severely curtailed through  all but the last
months of the revolution. 8/
     Insurgent  countermeasures  emphasizing  terrorism were
not  confined to the cities.  Batista's military forces were
fond of  torturing and summarily executing rebel prisoners,
in  marked   contrast   to  Castro's   policy   of   returning
government   prisoners  unharmed.  The   same   dissimilarity
applied  to  the  treatment  of    civilian.   While  Castro's
troops were  always  courteous    and honest in their dealings
with civilians, government forces  were usually contemptuous
and brutal.
     Torture  and  executions  only  made  the  rebels  more
determined to fight to the  death.  Castro  and  the  M-26-7
underground were quick to  capitalize on the negative aspect
of  Batista's  terrorist-style  countermeasures by  ensuring
that accounts and  photographs of the atrocities were widely
circulated.  Chances are  that  Batista's  decision  to  use
terrorism against the  guerrillas and guerrilla sympathizers
probably  cost  him  his  job.  It  certainly cost  him  the
support of the Cuban people.
     Summary.  Batista's  internal  defense   plan   can  be
summarized simply by saying that he really did not have one.
Initially, he  refused to acknowledge the threat that Castro
imposed.  Even after he apparently resolved to deal directly
with the rebel leader, he was  unable  to bring his military
might to bear on  the  greatly  outnumbered guerrillas.  The
only anti-guerrilla successes  his  forces  experienced were
those  spawned  by   terrorist  activities  far  worse  than
anything the  rebels  were  carrying out.  In the end, these
too proved ineffective.
     In fairness to Batista, he  was attempting to counter a
style  of  warfare  that  was  totally  unfamiliar to  Latin
America  and  most  of   the   world.  Proven  tactics  were
generally unavailable.  In  addition,  Batista  was burdened
with  trying  to  maintain  control of an unstable political
situation of  his  own making.  In effect, he was fighting a
war  on  two  fronts  and largely unequipped  to  deal  with
either.  Modern wisdom, in  retrospect,  would  suggest that
the answers to both of his problems could have been found in
civil,not military  measures.  Had  he  chosen  to conduct a
social,  political  and economic revolution of  his  own  by
returning  the   country   to   the  precepts  of  the  1940.
Constitution, Castro would not have had much of a foundation
on  which  to  base  his revolution.  Instead, Batista chose
repression,  martial  law,  terrorism  and   inept  military
campaigns.  Again in retrospect, it  is  not surprising that
he lost.
Neutralization of the United States  9/
     It is impossible to rank the various factors which lead
to   Fidel   Castro's    rise    to   power.  However,   the
neutralization   of   the  United  States  as  an  effective
supporter of Batista would  have  to be listed as a variable
of extreme importance.  Despite his  charisma,  tactics  and
popular  appeal,  Castro's  quest  may  well   have   proved
fruitless if the power of the United States had been applied
to  his  downfall  with  unqualified vigor.  As it happened,
however, the capabilities of the  United States were applied
neither  in Castro's direction nor away  from  it:  American
power was neutralized.  This moderation can be attributed to
three  factors which greatly influenced U.S. policy  toward
     Batista's  Negative  Image.  As  the  Cuban  Revolution
intensified, a cluster of negative images became attached to
Batista.  He was associated  with  repression  and terrorism
and  portrayed  as  a  leader  who profited from corruption.
Even  Batista's  supporters  in   the  United  States  found
themselves  compelled to apologize for  the  nature  of  his
regime.  As a last resort, they appealed to Americans on the
grounds   that,   at    the    very   least,   Batista   was
hostile  to  communism.  However,  the  inclination  of  the
American  press   to   take  a  dim  view  toward  dictators
ultimately placed so much negative publicity on Batista that
Washington  had   no  choice  but  to  curb  enthusiasm  and
assistance  toward  the  Cuban  President.  Ultimately,  the
United States withdrew  military  support  from  the Batista
regime, thus hastening its demise.
     Castro's Confused Image.  Washington's frigidity toward
Batista did not mean that the United States embraced Castro.
Instead,  American   leaders  became  preoccupied  with  the
paradoxes  of Castro's career.  Was Castro a communist?  Was
he a nationalist?   Did  he  really  plan to restore Cuba to
democratic ideals  as  he  had  promised?  If  he  was not a
communist,   why  did  he  ally  himself  with  such  avowed
communists as his brother Raul and "Che" Guevara?  If he was
a communist,   why   was  he  scorned by most of the communist
parties  in Latin America,    including  the  Cuban  Communist
Party?  If    he    was   a  communist,  why  did  responsible
journalists   such   as  Herbert Matthews portray him in  such
sympathetic terms?
     Obsession  with  these questions  presented  a  blurred
image  of   Castro.  Unable   to   reconcile   the  numerous
contradictions in  his  background  or  rhetoric, the United
States became powerless to classify him as either friend  or
foe.  Without that distinction, Washington could not  decide
whether to  support  his  ascension  or impede his progress.
Upon reflection,  it  is  highly  unlikely that the American
government would have been faced with this dilemma if Castro
had  announced in the late 1950's -- as he did  in  1961  --
that he was a confirmed Marxist-Leninist.
     Policy  Ambiguity.  As  suggested,  the  contradictory
image of Castro combined with the tarnished image of Batista
brought  irresolution  to   America's  Cuban  policy.  As  a
result, the United States neither offered Castro the kind of
massive  assistance  that  may  have  guaranteed  reciprocal
obligations,  nor continued to support Batista's regime with
economic and military sanctions  which  may  have guaranteed
his   survival.  Although    the    United    States   never
diplomatically  abandoned  Batista, Washington's ambivalence
doomed American's Cuban  policy  and  the Cuban President to
failure.  Consequently,  during  most  of the  late  1950's,
America's  power, which might have proved  decisive  to  the
fate of Fidel Castro, was neutralized.   Castro  was allowed
to consolidate his power with little or no  assistance  from
the United States as American leaders failed  to establish a
claim  to  the  benefits  due a friend, much less assert the
dominance of a militarily superior foe.
     Summary.   The  objective  of  American  foreign policy
toward Cuba during  the  1950's was really no different then
it had been since the early 1930's.  Through all  of  Cuba's
political  turmoil  since  that time, Washington had  always
placed itself on the side of stability.   The  United States
supported whichever Cuban leader  demonstrated  the greatest
ability  to   guarantee  domestic,  and  thus  economic  and
military,    tranquility.  While    Washington    was    not
particularly enamored with Batista's 1952 coup, it could not
ignore the fact that Batista was in an excellent position to
ensure  the  security of American interests on  the  island.
Even after Batista's regime  began to show signs of failure,
American   leaders  were  unwilling  to   totally  desert  the
foreign    policy    formula   that  had  been  so  successful.
Consequently,  they  resorted to a sort of non-policy in the
hope  that  Batista  would  be deposed, but not  by  Castro.
Unfortunately, their decision proved wrong  and  the  United
States was left out in the cold.
El Caudillo 10/
     While  the guerrilla movements of Asia and Africa share
many  similarities with  the  Cuban  Revolution,  each  also
incorporates  diverse  and  unique  elements.  The fact that
Cuba  is  an  island,  for   example,   introduced   special
geographic variables that  had  an impact upon the strategy,
tactics  and  patterns  of   logistical   support  for  both
factions.  Similarly,  guerrilla leaders may  often  exhibit
charismatic qualities,  yet  Fidel Castro remains a distinct
individual with traits and characteristics which distinguish
him  from  other  guerrilla  leaders.  In  fact, it  is  the
uniqueness of Fidel Castro that may have been the overriding
factor which caused his revolution to succeed  where several
others had failed.
     Charismatic Leadership.  That Fidel Castro qualifies as
a  charismatic  leader  is  hard  to dispute.  His political
style has always  been  colorful,  extreme,  flamboyant  and
theatrical.  He disdains established conventions and routine
procedures, and  conspicuously  departs  from organizational
norms of behavior and appearance.
     Castro instilled among his men an absolute certainty of
final  victory.  He  was never -- even in the worst of times
-- pessimistic.  For  him,  victory  was  always  around the
corner, and  one  final  push  was all that was necessary to
attain what others had never reached.  A mystique about his
capacity to overcome adversities surrounded  him.  He  was a
man   who  inspired   legends.  Youthful,   idealistic   and
audacious, he  emulated  the  great Cuban revolutionaries of
the past,  thus  capturing  the  imagination  of  the  Cuban
     Notwithstanding   the   above,   it   is  difficult  to
understand how  one  man  can  totally  mesmerize  an entire
population.  Three  special conditions which are  applicable
to  contemporary Cuba may hold the key.  First, Third  World
countries   with    large   rural  populations  often  show  a
propensity   to   gravitate toward charismatic  leaders.  Many
features of the Cuban economy, despite the  country's  large
urban population, qualify Cuba as an underdeveloped country.
     Second,  traditionally,  Latin  American countries have
not  formed their political conflicts  along  the  lines  of
political parties.  Rather,  most  Latin  American political
conflicts have assumed the  form  of  struggles  between two
strong leaders or "caudillos."  Cuba's history abounds  with
political  movements  built around personality cults of this
nature.  Batista and Castro are the most recent examples.
     The  third,  and last, condition involves the morale of
the  guerrilla  fighter.  His  ability  to  carry  on  under
adverse   conditions  is  particularly  dependent  upon  his
exalted  view  of  his  leader.  Fidel  Castro  could  evoke
intense emotional responses of faith and loyalty.
     Summary.   Castro's   image  was  that  of  a  romantic
fighter.  He was a man who, true to  the great traditions of
Cuban revolutionaires,  would know how to die, fighting with
valor and  dignity until the end.  Most Cubans assumed that,
like those revolutionaries before  him,  Fidel would one day
be killed while fighting for their freedom.  This fatalistic
view of the future of all great  "caudillos" was what fueled
the mystique surrounding Castro.
     However, Fidel  Castro was a dedicated insurrectionist,
born for action and command, but  definitely  not martyrdom.
It  was  his uncompromising belief in his own  destiny  that
eventually raised him about the "caudillos" who had preceded
him  and  established  him  as  "El  Caudillo,"  the supreme
charismatic leader.
     This  study  began with the premise that an examination
of the circumstances surrounding the Cuban Revolution  could
broaden  our  professional  understanding  of  the  problems
associated  with  countering  insurgencies.  In  so doing we
have explored  the  roots and causes of the Cuban Revolution
and  traced  its  evolution.  The  factors  behind  Castro's
success and  Batista's  failure  have, in retrospect, become
all  too common in Latin America and elsewhere in the world.
The lessons  learned  from  Cuba  are the same as those that
have been  learned  and relearned from Malaysia, Vietnam and
Nicaragua   the  tenacity  of  the  guerrilla  fighter,  the
inadequacy of conventional warfare in a guerrilla warfare
scenerio, the importance of civil measures, the complexity
of the guerrilla warfare process and the impotence of
Americn foreign policy to deal with most of the above.
	In a very real sense, the United States has not
progressed very far in its capability to deal with
insurrections which affect our vital interests.  In Vietnam,
for example, American disregard for the nonmilitary aspects
of guerrilla warfare eventually cost us victory.  The United
States may, in fact, be doomed to relearn the lessons
associated with guerrilla warfare indefinitely unless we can
develop a more flexible policy which makes allowances for
social and economic solutions as well as military action.
Revolutionary ideas have traditionally been defeated only
when countermeasures have represented better ideas.
              Chapter V:   Analyses and Conclusion
     1/   Merle Kling, "Cuba:  A Case Study of Unconventional
Warfare," Military Review, December 1962, p. 12
     2/   See  succeeding section entitled "Neutralization of
the United States."
     3/   These  broadcasts/publications  did not start until
late in the campaign, but are credited with influencing many
peasants and  rural  workers  to join Castro in the last few
months of the conflict.
     4/ Norman A. La Charite, Case Studies in Insurgency and
Revolutionary Warfare:    Cuba  1953-1959  (Washington, D.C.:
SORO, The American University, 1963), p. 112.
     5/   Andrian  H.  Jones  and  Andrew R. Molnar, Internal
Defense  against  Insurgency:  Six  Cases (Washington, D.C.:
SSRI, The American University, 1966), pp. 65-71.
     6/ Enrique Meneses, Fidel Castro, (New York:  Taplinger
Publishing Company, 1966), p. 58.
     7/ La Charite  op. cit., pp. 103-104.
     8/   As  further  proof  of  their  effectiveness, urban
guerrillas  suffered  20  times as many casualties as  their
rural counterparts.
     9/   Priscilla  A. Clapp, The Control of Local Conflict:
Case   Studies,    Cuban  Insurgency  (1952-1959)    (Waltham,
Massachusetts:    Bolt,  Beranek and Newman, Inc., 1969), pp.
73-102; and Kling, op. cit., pp. 18-19.
     10/ Ramon L. Bonachea and  Marta  San  Martin, The Cuban
Insurrection:  1952-1959  (New Brunswick, N.J.:  Transaction
books, 1974), pp. 100-105; and Kling, op. cit., pp. 15-16.
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                 Books and Special Reports
Asprey, Robert B.  War in the Shadows:  The Guerrilla in
     History.  2 vols. Garden City:  Doubleday & Company,
     Inc., 1975.  Brief synopsis of Castro's insurrection
     in Volume II.  Good overview of the rebellion.
     Manages to pack a lot of information in just three
     chapters.  Index, bibliography, footnotes, maps.
Batista, Fulgencio.  Cuba Betrayed a  New York:  Vantage
     Press, 1962.  Author*s own version of the collapse
     of his regime.  Blames international Communist
     conspiracy for most of his problems.  Very parochial.
     Frequently conflicts with other published accounts
     of historical events.
Bonachea, Ramon L. and San Martin, Marta.  The Cuban
     Insurrection:  1952-1959.  New York Brunswick
     Transaction Books, 1974a  Superior account of the
     Cuban Revolution.  Very well researched and ex-
     tensively documented.  Became one of my principal
     resource documents.  Index, footnotes, bibliography,
     photos, maps.
Brennan, Ray.  Castro, Cuba and Justice.  New York
     Doubleday, 1959.  Newspaper correspondent offers
     eye-witness account of Castro's rise to power from
     1953-1959.  Excellent account of Batista's counter-
     insurgency methods.  Index.
Chester, Edmund A.  A Sergeant Named Batista.  New York:
     Henry Holt and company, 1954.  Somewhat exhaustive,
     though interesting biographical sketch of Fulgencio
     Batista through 1953.  Based upon personal inter-
     views of Batista and his acquaintances.  Seems
     reasonably balanced and accurate.  Aligns with
     other sources.  Written before Castro became an
     issue of substance.  Index.
Clapp, Priscilla A.  The Control of Local Conflict:  Case
     Studies; Volume II (Latin America).  Washington:
     ACDA, 1969.  The Cuban Insurgency (1952-1959) is
     covered in pages 70-136.  Includes an excellent
     appendix on weapons analysis.  Footnotes.
Dorschner, John and Fabricio, Roberto.  The Winds of
     December.  New York:  Coward, McCann & Geoghegan,
     1980.  Superb and highly detailed account of the
     last weeks of Castro's revolution from 26 Novem-
     ber 1958 through 8 January 1959.  Bibliography,
     index, map, photos.
Draper, Theodore.  Castroism:  Theory and Practice.
     New York:  Frederick A. Praeger, Inc., 1965.
     Tracks the evolution of Castroism and shows how
     it was applied during the early 1960's.  Corre-
     lates Cuban history and customs with Castro's
     attempts to revolutionize Cuban agriculture and
     economy.  Interesting, but of little value to
     the overall theme of this paper.  Index.
Draper, Theodore.  Castro's Revolution:  Myths and
     Realities.  New York:  Praeger, 1962.  Good
     background source.  Presents strong evidence
     that Cuban revolution was a middle-class revo-
     lution with little peasant support until the
Dubois, Jules.  Fidel Castro:  Rebel, Liberator or
     Dictator?  Indianapolis:  Bobbs-Merrill, 1959.
     Excellent biography covering Castro's life
     through 1959.  Index, photos.
Ebon, Martin.  Che:  The Making of a Legend.  New York:
     Universe Books, 1969.  Excellent biography of Che
     Guevara.  Chapters 1-6 were particularly useful
     for this paper.  Appendices, index, bibliography.
Estep, Raymond.  The Latin American Nations Today.
     Maxwell AFB:  Air University, 1964.  Covers major
     Latin American developments which occurred bet-
     ween 1950 and 1964.  Pages 85-112 address Cuba.
     Good section on Cuba's political party alignments
     during the 1950's.  Index, glossary, suggested
Fagg, John Edwin.  Cuban Haiti & The Dominican Republic.
     Englewood Cliffs:  Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1965.  Good
     historical sketch on Cuba, pp. 9-111.  Maps, bib-
     liography, index.
Ferguson, J. Halcro.  The Revolution of Latin America.
     London:  Thames and Hudson, 1963.  Covers history
     of Latin American revolutions from early 1920's -
     1962 with a special section devoted to the Cuban
     Revolution.  Devoted more to the revolutionary
     phenomenon itself rather than details.  Good dis-
     cussion of "Fidelismo" and its repercussions on
     the rest of Latin America.  Ferguson is a British
     author and broadcaster on Latin American affairs.
     Book had limited value for this paper.
Foreign Area Studies Division.  Special Warfare Area
     Handbook for Cuba.  Washingtona  SORO, 1961.
     Presents social, economic, military background
     information intended for use in planning for
     psychological and unconventional warfare.  Bib-
     liography, maps, charts.
Franqui, Carlos, ed.  Diary of the Cuban Revolution.
     New York:  Viking Press, 1980.  As the title
     suggests, the book contains numerous letters and
     diary excerpts from the actual participants of
     the Cuban Revolution including:  Fidel Castro,
     Che Guevara and the book's editor/author who was
     the editor of an underground newspaper during the
     conflict.  Arranged chronologically.  Contains a
     brief biographical section on many of the lessor-
     known revolutionaries.  Valuable source.  Index.
Guevara, Ernesto.  Episodes of the Revolutionary War.
     New York:  International Publishers, 1968.  A
     collection of Guevara's articles describing the
     revolution.  Includes descriptions of several
Guevara, Ernesto, Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary
     War.  New York:  Grove Press, 1968.  Translated by
     Victoria Ortiz.  Compilation of 32 articles by
     Guevara.  Also includes 26 letters.  First hand
     account of several battles and the problems the
     rebels faced.
Harris, Richard.  Death of a Revolutionary:  Che Guevara's
     Last Mission.  New York;  W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.,
     1976.  Exhaustive account of Guevara's last years and
     days.  Good biographical section.  Index, map.
Huberman, Leo and Sweezy, Paul M., eds.  Regis Debrayy and
     the Latin American Revolution.  New York:  Monthly
     Review Press, 1968.  Collection of essays written
     by or about Regis Debray.  Wide variation of theories
     about Latin American revolutions, especially Cuba.
Jones, Adrian H., and Molnar, Andrew R.  Internal Defense
     Against Insurgency:  Six Cases.  Washington, D.C. a
     SSRI, The American University, 1966.  Briefly sketches
     six post World War II insurgencies which occurred
     between 1948 and 1965.  Pages 59-72 address Cuba.
     Good overview.  Maps, footnotes, charts.
Juvenal, Michael P.  United States Foreign Policy Towards
     Cuba in This Decade.  Carlisle Barracks:  U.S. Army
     War College, 1971.  Contains some information on
     United States-Cuban relations during the revolution,
     but concentrates mainly upon the 1960's.  Footnotes,
La Charite, Norman.  Case Studies in Insurgency and Re-
     volutionary Warfare:  Cuba 1953 - 1959.  Washington:
     SORO, 1963.  Somewhat redundant analysis of the
     Cuban Revolution.  Heavy emphasis on socioeconomic
     factors.  Index, bibliography, footnotes, map.
MacGaffey, Wyatt and Barnett, Clifford R.  Cuba:  Its
     People, Its Society, Its Culture.  New Haven:  HRAF
     Press, 1962.  As the title suggests, a study of
     Cuba prior to 1960 with heavy emphasis on social
     and cultural conditions.  Good demographic source.
Matthews, Herbert L.  Fidel Castro.  New York:  Simon
     and Schuster, 1969.  Newspaperman's account of
     Castro's rise to power.  Based upon many personal
     interviews.  Seems strongly biased in favor of
     Castro.  Includes some biographical data on
     Castro's early life.  Index.
Matthews, Herbert L.  The Cuban Story.  New York:  George
     Brazillier, 1961.  Largely a self-aggrandizing account
     of the effects of the author's famous interview with
     Castro in 1957.  Contains some valuable insights
     into the early stages of the insurrection.  Index.
McRae, Michael S.  The Cuban Issue Reevaluated.  Maxwell
     AFB:  Air University, 1974.  Investigates the rise
     of the Castro regime and its relationships with the
     United States, Soviet Union and the Organization of
     American States.  Excellent discussion of Castro's
     evolution to communism.  Footnotes, bibliography.
Meneses, Enrique.  Fidel Castro.  New York:  Taplinger
     Publishing Company, 1966.  A Spanish reporter for
     the Paris-Match writes of his experiences with
     Castro and the Cuban Revolution.  Chapters 1-8
     deal specifically with the period covered by this
     paper and were very useful for their insights into
     Castro and his organization.  Particularly signifi-
     cant because it helped to give the European view of
     the conflict.  Index, maps, photos.
Miller, William R.  The Dyamics of U.S.-Cuban Relations
     and Their Eventuality.  Maxwell AFB:  Air University,
     1976.  Traces United States-Cuban relations through
     the mid-1970's.  Good background on United States
     role during the revolution.  Footnotes, biblio-
Mydans, Carl and Mydans, Shelley.  The Violent Peace.
     Kingsport:  Kingsport Press, Inc., 1968.  An excel-
     lent treatment of selected wars since 1945.  Pages
     248-267 deal with the Cuban Revolution.  Most of
     the material is drawn from guotations by Sam
     Halper, one of the several correspondents who
     followed Castro around the Sierra Maestra moun-
     tains, trying to get a story.  Index, map, excel-
     lent photos.
Nelson, Lowry.  Rural Cuba.  Minneapolis:  The University
     of Minnesota Press, 1950.  Excellent source of in-
     formation about Cubans socioeconomic status prior to
     Castro's insurrection.  Index.
Perez, Louis A. Jr.  Army Politics in Cuba, 1898-1958.
     Pittsburgh:  University of Pittsburgh Press, 1976.
     Traces the creation of the Cuban Army from its
     inception until Castro's take over.  Insightful
     historical analysis of role the army played during
     various political revolutions during that period
     and degree to which it came to dominate Cuban
     politics and government.  Rich in names and details.
Pflaum, Irving Peter.  Tragic Island:  How Communism
     Came to Cuba.  Englewood Cliffs:  Prentice-Hall,
     Inc., 1961.  Newspaperman's account of Castro's
     rise to power.  The author traveled extensively
     in Cuba in late 1958 and through much of 1960.
     Excellent account of role U.S. played in Batista's
     ouster and Castro's conversion to communism.
Phillips, R. Hart.  Cuba:  Island of Paradox.  New York:
     McDowell, Obolensky, u.d.  Newspaper correspondent
     gives her impressions of events in Cuba, primarily
     between 1931 and 1960.  Excellent "on-scene" accounts
     of many events.  Based largely upon interviews and
     hearsay.  Rambling style, but quite readable.  Facts,
     especially concerning dates and specific events, are
     often wrong or obscure.  Author seems biased in favor
     of Castro.  Not a good source from a research stand-
     point except that it gives one a feel for the events
     from an American's viewpoint.  Some good guotations.
Smith, Earl E.T.  The Fourth Floor:  An Account of the
     Castro Communist Revolution.  New York:  Random House,
     1962.  Former U.S. Ambassador to Cuba from 1957-59,
     believes that U.S. policy was at least partially
     responsible for Castro's victory.  Discusses exten-
     sively his efforts to stop the insurrection.  Index.
Smith, Robert F.  The United States and Cuba:  Business
     and Diplomacy, 1917-1960.  New York:  Bookmen
     Association, 1960.  Good background on U.S. business
     and diplomatic involvement in Cuba from the Spanish-
     American War until Castro's takeover.  Index.
Strode, Hudson.  The Pageant of Cuba.  New York:  Harrison
     Smith and Robert Haas, 1934.  Detailed history of
     Cuba through Batista's initial rise to power in 1933.
     Old photos, index, bibliography, map.
Suchlicki, Jaime.  Cuba:  From Columbus to Castro.  New
     York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1974.  Concise pre-
     Castro history, but sketchy once Castro is intro-
     duced.  Index, bibliography, photos.
Taber, Robert.  M-26 Biography of a Revolution.  New York:
     Lyle Stuart, 1961.  Excellent journalist account of
     the revolution.
Urrutia Lleo, Manuel.  Fidel Castro & Company, Inc.  New
     York:  Praeger, 1964.  A former President of Cuba
     1959-60, and Castro's choice to lead the government
     following the revolution gives an account of his own
     attempts to establish a government following Batista's
     departure.  Also describes Castro's coup d'etat which
     deposed Urrutia.  Index.
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.  Selected
     Readings on Internal Defense:  Cuba 1953-59.  Fort
     Leavenworth, Kansas:  USACAGSC, 1970.  Excepts from
     selected books and articles covering the Cuban Revo-
U.S. Department of Commerce.  Investment in Cuba:  Basic
     Information for United States Businessmen.  Washington:
     GPO, 1956.  Contai.ns a wide variety of facts and
     figures concerning Cuban commerce in the early 1950's.
Aaron, Harold R.  "Why Batista Lost."  Army Magazine,
     September 1965, pp. 64-71.  Succint account of the
     Cuban Revolution.  The author hypothesizes that Castro
     won because he met no meaningful opposition.
Chapelle, Dickey.  "How Castro Won."  Marine Corps Gazette,
     February 1960.  Excellent first-hand account of
     Castro's infrastructure and tactics.  The author
     spent several months in the field, interviewing
     Castro and his men.
Guevara, Ernesto.  "La Guerra de Guerrillas."  Army Magazine,
     March, April and May  1961:  Guevara's ideas about
     guerrilla warfare translated and condensed by Army
     Magazine.  Written in hindsight after Castro had
     succeeded.  Very specific, right down to weapons,
     tactics, hygiene, role of women, logistics, etc.
Kling, Merle.  "Cuba:  A Case Study of Unconventional
     Warfare. "  Military Review, December 1962, pp. 11-22.
     Brief overview, excellent handling of Castro's strategy.
Macaulay, Neill W. Jr.  "Highway Ambush."  Army Magazine,
     August 1964, pp. 50-56.  Detailed account of a guerrilla
     attack in Pinar del Rio province during the latter
     phases of the revolution.
St. George, Andrew.  "A Visit With a Revolutionary."  Coronet,
     Vol. 43, no. 4 (whole no. 256, February 1958), pp. 74-
     80.  Journalist's view of Castro based upon personal
     interviews.  Heavily interspersed with Castro's quota-

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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias