How and why did Castro in Cuba come to power? For what purpose and with what success did Castro use the power he had won?

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Tim Bell

History HL


How and why did Castro in Cuba come to power? For what purpose and with what success did Castro use the power he had won?

        Born in 1926, Fidel Castro was a second generation Spanish interested in the fields of history, sociology, geography, and agriculture. For 400 years, the Spanish had control of Cuba until the 1890’s when the Spanish-American War forced the Spanish to leave. From then on, the USA dominated Cuba both politically and economically. In 1933, Machando, the dictator of Cuba, was overthrown in a revolt with Batista as the new head of state. Under Batista, opposition formed such as the ‘Autenticos’ party which was led by Grau as well as the ‘Ortodoxes’ also known as the Cuban People’s Party which had broken from the ‘Autenticos’ in 1947. Due to pressure from the opposition, Batista was forced to step down whereby the leader of the ‘Autenticos’, Grau, was able to take power. The popularity for the ‘Ortodoxes’ grew larger through the dissatisfaction of the current government – the ‘Autenticos’. Castro himself, was a member of the ‘Ortodoxes’ but later joined the left wing split group – Accion Radical Ortodox. When Castro attempted to run for Congress in 1952, Batista revolted and overthrew the government once again. From this year on, Castro was determined to make a change to Batista’s regime and published ‘The Accuser’ in seek for support for his cause against the corrupt dictator.

        In 1953, Castro started his way to the top and had gained support from Universities and farmers with 200 followers. Furious with the actions of Batista, Castro attempted a coup at Moncada. With 144 men at hand, Castro hoped to even the odds by the elements of surprise and confusion to capture the 1,000-soldier garrison. Due to confusion during the operation, the band of revolutionsists lost their surprise tactic and were confronted with an awakened garrison. Realizing the hopelessness in the operation, Castro ordered a retreat. Three revolutionaries died and eighty were captured. Fidel and Raul (Fidel’s brother) managed to escape to a remote mountain range in the ‘Sierra Maestra’. On August 1st, 1953 a patrol found Castro hiding in a peasant’s house sympathetic to the revolutionaries. Although the patrol was ordered to kill Castro on sight, Lieutenant Pedro Sarria, leader of the patrol, sent him to civil prison. Later on, Castro was handed over to the authorities though the public opinion was to save Castro from execution. The public was shocked by the treatment of soldiers at Moncada, and Castro was sentenced to a light sentence of 15 years after his famous 2-hour speech in which he said, “History will absolve me.” Two years later, in an amnesty from Batista to his people, the rebels including Castro were released. Upon releasal, Castro and his fellow revolutionaries agreed upon the continuation of their interests.

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        A new campaign was started known as the ‘26th of July Movement’. Castro was determined to continue his struggle against the opposition, though found that other opposition groups had broken appart and become weak again. Castro spoke at deomonstrations and openly criticized the government in newspaper articles, although his marriage and carreer were no longer existant. In fear of being followed and assassinated by Batista’s secret police, Castro decided to plan on foreign territory. Castro left to Mexico on July 7th, 1955. The planning of the revolution which was to come went underway. Tactical training in guerilla warfare was the focus, ...

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