Communist Party of Australia

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Issue #1603      July 24, 2013

Sixty years since the spark of the Cuban Revolution

On July 26, 2013 Cuba and people around the world in solidarity will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the historical attacks on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Barracks.

Cuba prior to 1953 had economic and political conditions that exacerbated the class struggle. The Cuban people resolved that the resistance movement had to utilise all forms of struggle to defeat the dictatorship. The attacks of July 26 were considered a military defeat but are regarded as the spark of the Cuban revolution that later triumphed on January 1, 1959.

Fulgencio Batista had come to power through a coup D’état in March 1952 and led a dictatorship until fleeing the country at the end of 1958 after being pushed out by the victorious Rebel Army.

Fidel Castro led the failed 1953 attacks on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba with just over one hundred patriots while a smaller number attacked the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Garrison in Bayamo.

The main objective was to attack the military installations and gain control of the military armaments for distribution to the people and to spark an armed insurrection. Unfortunately this objective was not achieved and most of the combatants were captured, tortured and assassinated. Only a handful had their lives spared and were taken prisoners serving long sentences; among them Fidel, Raul Castro and Juan Almedia among others.

The attacks however sparked a mass movement that campaigned for the freedom of all political prisoners forcing the Batista regime to grant an amnesty two years later releasing the Moncada survivors.

Fidel, Raul and others spent time exiled in Mexico where they organised the Granma expedition, which was joined by Ernesto Che Guevara. The expedition landed in Cuba in December 1956.

They confronted the Batista’s army soon after landing and faced many casualties. The few survivors from the Granma expedition engaged the people of the Sierra Maestra in the struggle for freedom. A Rebel Army was organised that through heroic battles defeated the army of the dictatorship marching to Havana in January 1959.

July 26 is now a public holiday in Cuba; the Day of National Revelry, which was first, commemorated on July 26, 1959. This first commemoration was attended by thousands of Cubans from the countryside in support of the revolutionary government’s agrarian reform.

Sixty years after the historical Moncada attacks, the people of Cuba continue to support the socialist government and the gains of the revolution and commemorate this day as the spark of the revolution.

This July 26 the Communist Party of Australia salutes the people of Cuba and their determination in continuing to build a Socialist society. The CPA also reaffirms its solidarity with the Cuban people in their struggle against the US blockade and for the freedom of the Cuban Five.   

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