Cuba has no reason to celebrate July 26, 1953

There is no reason for Cubans to celebrate July 26, 1953 when Fidel Castro had his band of communist thugs carry out a cowardly terrorist attack on the Moncada military barracks as soldiers were sleeping. True to form, Fidel never actually made it to the barracks since the car he was in “got lost” on its way there, a fact rarely, if ever, mentioned by the regime or its sycophants.

On that day 70 years ago, Cuba began a seemingly unstoppable plunge into communist tyranny, which came into full fruition on January 1, 1959 and continues to this day. Definitely nothing to celebrate.

John Suarez explains in an Op-Ed via Yahoo News:

In the 1950s, Cubans soon learned the Moncada attack was nothing to celebrate

On July 26, at 5:00 a.m., Raúl Castro, age 92, Ramiro Valdés, 91, and Guillermo García Frías, 95, presided over the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the assault on the Moncada military barracks in Santiago de Cuba. It was a violent act that led to the formation of the July 26th Movement and helped establish a dictatorship with Fidel Castro as its leader.

By contrast, 75 years ago, a delegation representing the Cuban Republic helped draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the United Nations. That republic provided an eight-hour work day; the right to strike; and university autonomy. The island enjoyed a large number of newspapers and radio stations with diverse political and ideological viewpoints. This year, Cuba is observing the Declaration’s 75th anniversary with a new draconian penal code and more beatings and arrests of dissidents.

After Fulgencio Batista’s coup ended Cuban democracy on March 10, 1952, Cubans fell for Fidel Castro, a charismatic young lawyer who promised to return constitutional order. Following the July 26 Moncada attack in 1953, the July 26th Movement’s urban terrorism killed Cubans throughout the rest of the decade. Raúl Castro plotted numerous aircraft hijackings. On Nov. 1, 1958, one such skyjacking killed 17 civilians when the plane crashed.

The United States slapped an arms embargo on the Batista dictatorship in March 1958, thanks to Castro’s July 26th Movement’s lobbying, and in December 1958, the U.S. ambassador in Havana pressed Batista to leave.

On Jan. 1, 1959, Fidel Castro rose to power and was quickly recognized by the United States. Raúl Castro remains there today.

What happened to the Cubans who, in good faith, used violence to effect democratic change?

Mario Chanes de Armas, for example, who survived the Moncada attack, served prison time with Fidel and, like Castro, received amnesty, went to Mexico to train and returned to Cuba on the Granma yacht to unseat Batista. Chanes could have taken any position in the new regime, but he chose to return to his brewery work. After watching Castro betray their movement, Chanes spoke out against communist influence. In 1961, Chanes was prosecuted as a counterrevolutionary and imprisoned for 30 years. He died of Alzheimer’s in 2007 in Miami, after being released in 1991 and going into exile in 1993.

He was not the only one to follow this trajectory; others took up arms again.

The men and women who battled Batista’s dictatorship, many of them in Castro’s July 26th Movement, hoped for the restoration of Cuba’s 1940 Constitution and its republic. This is what Fidel promised in his “History will Absolve Me” speech at his trial for the Moncada assault. They got a totalitarian dictatorship, instead. They then fought Castro for six years in a civil war with substantially higher casualties on both sides than during the struggle against Batista. About 400 Soviet advisers assisted Castro in crushing the resistance. The opposition ended up in exile, imprisoned or executed.

It was within the prison cells that Cuba’s human-rights movement was forged.

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