Moncada attack 60 years later: Batista’s errors and Fidel’s opportunism

Phillippe Diederich in Voxxi:

Moncada attack 60 years later: Batista’s errors and Fidel’s opportunism

The Moncada Attacks sparked the beginning of the Cuban revolution.

July 26 marks the 60th anniversary of Fidel Castro’s attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba. This ill-fated attack marked the beginning of the Cuban Revolution, 1953-1959, and the beginning of Cuba’s current dictatorship under Fidel and Raul Castro.

The multiple missed “opportunities” by Fulgencio Batista to keep Fidel Castro out of power gave way to the dictator’s rise.

The Cuban Revolution continues to be a polarizing subject between liberals and conservatives, Cuban exiles and Cubans who remain in the island and who view Castro as the savior of the Cuban people.

In 1952, Fulgencio Batista seized power in a military coup. He suspended the 1940 constitution (which he had instated when he was president of Cuba 1940-1944). He revoked political liberties, and his regime became increasingly corrupt and repressive.

At first, Fidel Castro tried to have Batista overthrown through the courts in accordance with the Cuban Constitution. But when legal means failed, Castro launched an armed revolt.

Moncada attack sparked the revolution

By most accounts the attack on the Moncada Barracks was a failure. A 26-year-old Fidel Castro led approximately 135 rebels into battle, but the caravan of cars got separated, some got lost and some did not even have weapons. The rebels were either killed, murdered or jailed. Batista’s regime was hardly bruised by the incident.

The surviving rebel suspects were sent to trial. At the trial, Castro, a lawyer, brought up the issue of the murdered rebel suspects by the military and spoke of the atrocities Batista’s regime was committing.

In order to try to avoid problems and save face, Moncada chief Col. Alberto del Rio Chaviano, separated Castro from the rest of the men, saying Castro was too ill to attend the trial of the rebels. So Castro got his own trial. And this was Batista’s first mistake (although this was not strictly Batista’s order).

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7 thoughts on “Moncada attack 60 years later: Batista’s errors and Fidel’s opportunism”

  1. Batista was a hack who was more interested in money and image than in power per se. He was too clumsy and stupid to be effective, and he was further weakened by his need for social acceptance and respectability, since, unlike Castro, he came from poverty and was of mixed race, and of course he’d taken power illegitimately in 1952. Castro never cared what people thought because he already saw himself as the alpha and the omega, and he was far more focused on getting and keeping absolute power, which was never what Batista had in mind. Batista, like most Cubans, grossly underestimated Castro, partly because Cuba had never faced anything that dangerous and malevolent. It was like children who knew nothing about tigers being exposed to one and thinking it was just a big cat. Disaster naturally ensued.

  2. So what is our country’s excuse? Why do so many still defend this president and his horrible leadership? and disastrous choices?

  3. Honey, I think it’s a combination of fashion victimhood, inability to see through BS (especially media BS), spoiled apathy, immaturity (such as utopian delusions), wanting a free ride, racism (voting for someone primarily because of race IS racist), stupidity (remember what Einstein said) and, I’m afraid, perversity.

    I’ve recently become acquainted with a little-known Founding Father named Fisher Ames who foresaw much of what we’re facing now. He cautioned against the excesses of democracy unfettered by morals and reason, and warned against flattering demagogues who incite disunion and ultimately lead the people into bondage. He said: “Popular reason does not always know how to act right, nor does it always act right when it knows.” His retort to “All men are created equal” was “But differ greatly in the sequel.” He was known for his eloquence, and was smart enough to be offered the presidency of Harvard, but sadly he died too young due to TB. He certainly bears more looking into.

  4. I looked him up. He’d never pass muster today. Too elitist. I am an elitist, but then I don’t pass muster anywhere these days, either.

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