Cuban Revolution

Cuban Revolution
CheyFidel.jpg
Revolutionary leaders Che Guevara (left) and Fidel Castro (right) in 1961
Date 26 July 1953 – 1 January 1959
(5 years, 5 months and 6 days)
Location Cuba
Result

26th of July Movement victory

Belligerents

26th of July Movement

Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil
Cuba Republic of Cuba
Commanders and leaders
Fidel Castro
Che Guevara
Raúl Castro
Frank País 
Camilo Cienfuegos
Juan Almeida Bosque
Huber Matos
Abel Santamaría  Executed
Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo
René Ramos Latour 
Rolando Cubela
Humberto Sori Marín
Cuba Fulgencio Batista
Cuba Eulogio Cantillo
Cuba José Quevedo
Cuba Alberto del Río Chaviano
Cuba Joaquín Casillas
Cuba Cornelio Rojas
Cuba Fernández Suero
Cuba Cándido Hernández
Cuba Alfredo Abon Lee
Casualties and losses
5,000+ combat-related Cubans killed [1] [2] [3]
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The Cuban Revolution ( Spanish: Revolución cubana) (1959) was an armed revolt conducted by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement and its allies against the authoritarian government of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista. The revolution began in July 1953, [4] and continued sporadically until the rebels finally ousted Batista on 1 January 1959, replacing his government with a revolutionary socialist state. The 26th of July Movement later reformed along communist lines, becoming the Communist Party in October 1965. [5]

The Cuban Revolution had powerful domestic and international repercussions. In particular, it reshaped Cuba's relationship with the United States. Efforts to improve diplomatic relations have gained momentum in recent years. [6] [7] [8] [9] In the immediate aftermath of the revolution, Castro's government began a program of nationalization and political consolidation that transformed Cuba's economy and civil society. [10] [11] The revolution also heralded an era of Cuban intervention in foreign military conflicts, including the Angolan Civil War and the Nicaraguan Revolution. [12]

Background and causes

In the decades following Cuba's liberation from Spain in 1898, and formal independence from the U.S. on May 20, 1902, Cuba experienced a period of significant instability, enduring a number of revolts, coups and periods of U.S. military intervention. Fulgencio Batista, a former soldier who had served as the elected president of Cuba from 1940 to 1944, became president for the second time in March 1952, after seizing power in a military coup and canceling the 1952 elections. [13] Although Batista had been a relative progressive during his first term, [14] in the 1950s he proved far more dictatorial and indifferent to popular concerns. [15] While Cuba remained plagued by high unemployment and limited water infrastructure, [16] Batista antagonized the population by forming lucrative links to organized crime and allowing American companies to dominate the Cuban economy. [16] [17] [18]

During his first term as President, Batista had been supported by the Communist Party of Cuba, [14] but during his second term he became strongly anti-communist, gaining him political and military support from the United States. [16] [19] Batista developed a powerful security infrastructure to silence political opponents. In the months following the March 1952 coup, Fidel Castro, then a young lawyer and activist, petitioned for the overthrow of Batista, whom he accused of corruption and tyranny. However, Castro's constitutional arguments were rejected by the Cuban courts. [20] After deciding that the Cuban regime could not be replaced through legal means, Castro resolved to launch an armed revolution. To this end, he and his brother Raúl founded a paramilitary organization known as "The Movement", stockpiling weapons and recruiting around 1,200 followers from Havana's disgruntled working class by the end of 1952. [21]