The Revolution of the ‘barbudos’

Fidel Castro (left) led the Cuban revolution with an army of “barbudos”, among whom was the mythical Che Guevara. (Roberto Salas / AFP)

Fidel Castro led for two years the revolution that ended with Batista’s dictatorship in Cuba.

Cuba was a Spanish colony until the end of the 19th century. In 1895 several towns of the island rebelled against their Spanish landlords: they wanted to be independent. After several years of fighting, the Cubans won the war and became independent in 1898.

The victory of Cuba was possible thanks to the intervention US, but they had an interest behind: the Americans wanted to use the island as a strategic place for their business with other countries of South America.

To achieve this, they interfered in Cuban politics to place rulers who favored their interests, such as Fulgencio Batista. The dictator led a corrupt and repressive government, which used the army to reduce protests and eliminate their opponents.

That was the origin of the revolution and the enmity between the Cuban regime and the US government, which they considered a repressive country.

FOTO: Relations between the United States and Cuba improved with Barack Obama in office, the first US president to visit the island in almost 90 years.. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP)

Relations between the United States and Cuba improved with Barack Obama in office, the first US president to visit the island in almost 90 years.. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP)

From Santiago to Havana

Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban Revolution, was born in 1926 in Birán, a small town east of the island. As a child, he was a curious and very intelligent student. He moved Havana to go to college, where he studied law, diplomatic law and social sciences.

At college, he became interested in politics, made contact with leftist organizations and participated in demonstrations and protests. He even joined a political party, but before he could stand for election, Fulgencio Bautista’s coup d’état took place in 1952.

Castro then became involved with several revolutionary groups that fought against the Baptist regime. In 1953 he participated in the assault on the Montada barracks, where they intended to obtain weapons. The attack failed and the rebels were imprisoned for almost two years.

When he got out of prison in 1955, Castro went into exile from Cuba for fear of being arrested again. From Mexico, he planned his return to the island to make the revolution and overthrow the dictator.

On December 2, 1956, 82 guerrillas traveled from Mexico to Cuba aboard the Granma yacht and landed on the south of the island.

Fidel and his army of “barbudos”, among whom was the legendary guerrilla Che Guevara, achieved victory thanks to the support of the people, who had suffered the repression of the dictatorship and wanted to oust Batista.

After two years of fighting, on January 1, 1959, Fidel Castro proclaimed the triumph of the revolution from Santiago de Cuba. Batista had fled the day before to the US. Finally, on January 8, the army of rebels entered Havana and took control of the government and its institutions.

It was the beginning of a new communist state and the figure of Fidel Castro, a controversial ruler who strictly ruled the country for 50 years.

Translated by Chaplin’s Languages | Find out more in Junior Report

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