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The Cuban Revolution was an armed conflict between the US-backed Cuban Republic, under dictator Fulgencio Batista, and the Soviet-backed 26th of July Movement, led by Fidel Castro. After employing the Monroe Doctrine, President MacArthur launched an invasion of the Castroist stronghold of Santiago, escalating the conflict and forcing Castro to align with the Soviets, a move which he originally resented.
In the end, Batista maintained power and Castro fled, along with his brother Raul and advisor Che Guevara, to the Soviet Union. Batista failed to win reelection in the Cuban Presidential Election of 1960, which were observed by both the US and the UN.
The background of the Cuban Revolution is based largely in the century immediately prior to the conflict. The Cubans had been under Spanish colonial rule since the establishment of New Spain, but received great autonomy as the Captaincy General of Cuba in 1607.
US in Cuba
With the successful independence movement of Cuba, which culminated in the Spanish-American War, the US had become involved in Caribbean affairs to a great extent. Cuba was largely reliant on American trade and goodwill, a fact which many Cubans resented. The US-presence in Cuba only increased as Batista took to power by military coup in 1952.
Batista had been elected democratically as President of Cuba from 1940 to 1944 and actually had the support of the Communist Party of Cuba. Batista was not a Communist, however, and favored limited capitalism with labor restrictions. After stepping down, Batista eventually became interested in Cuban politics once again, and led a coup in March of 1952 after it became apparent that he would lose the election.
Batista proved far more dictatorial and indifferent to popular concerns in his second term, and was staunchly anti-Communist in order to gain the support of MacArthur. Cuba's economy was not improving while Batista continued to allow perceived exploitation of Cuba by American corporations, leading to major disapproval among some Cubans, especially Fidel Castro, a moderately successful lawyer.
26th of July, 1953
The Revolution had its first origins in the attack on Moncada Barracks on July 26th, 1953. Fidel Castro and his younger brother, Raul, led an unsuccessful attack on these barracks in order to gain enough weapons to be able to overthrow the corrupt Batista regime.
As a result of the insurgent attacks, both Castro brothers were sentenced to over a decade of time in prison, but they were pardoned after Batista was pressured into pardoning all political prisoners. As a result, Fidel and Raul were released and fled to Mexico, where they met Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara, would would play a huge role in the later guerrilla war.
The actual rebellion begun when the Castros and Guevara arrived in Cuba aboard the yacht Granma on December 2, 1956. A small skirmish ensued, and most of the movement was killed. The leaders managed to survive nonetheless.
From there, the Communists waged a minor guerrilla campaign as a larger revolt took place in Havana. When Batista used brute force to quell the rebellion, the US withdrew its public support of Batista although the CIA continued to investigate the rumors of a Communist insurgency in the eastern half of the island.
Castro used guerrilla tactics to push back much larger Batista forces and used radio to convey propaganda to locals, gaining massive support. In the hilly, mountainous combat, the Castroist forces won almost all battles.
Fall of Santiago
The high-water point of the Castroist forces in Cuba was achieved in the Battle of Santiago.
The Revolution was crushed.
Communism was stayed from American waters.
Batista removed from office in 1960 elections.