When the people of the Cuban province of Sancti Spiritus celebrate the 63rd anniversary of the attack on the Moncada Barracks on July 26 next, they will be paying homage to one the most glorious acts in the history of the struggle for the liberation of their homeland.
The resistance that followed the March 10, 1952 coup -- that left the country under the control of a cruel dictatorship -- was primarily driven by the generation of a young lawyer and graduate of the University of Havana Fidel Castro, leader of a group of combatants from all over the country willing to risk their lives in support of their cause.
At 5.12am on a carnival Sunday in Santiago de Cuba, the young revolutionaries launched an un fearing and audacious assault on the far superiornumerically and better armed forces within the nation’s second military fortress.
They drew their inspiration from the thinking of Jose Marti, whose centenary had been celebrated in January of the same year.
Even though the intended element of surprise did no transpire and the action consequently failed in it’s fundamental purpose of taking the barracks occupied by the tyrannical forces of dictator Fulgencio Batista, it marked the commencement of the last stage of the Cuban struggle for independence.
The city suffered a horrific bloodbath in the days following the attack. Many of insurgents were brutally tortured and murdered in cold blood. Suspects were relentlessly hunted down and the surviving leaders were put on trial and jailed for the daring raid.
Exile in Mexico followed a 1955 amnesty, from where plans for a final campaign against Batista were prepared. It was on December 2, 1956 that the now famous yacht named Granma touched ground on Cuba’s eastern shore and the 82 rebels aboard set out for freedom.
The 26 of July Movement, formed as a political force to give form to the desire for radical change in Cuba, became the primary promoter of the cause and the Rebel Army, created by the Granma landing became an armed wing sustained by the rural population of the Sierra Maestra mountains and other clandestine revolutionaries.
Five years, five months and five days after the Moncada attack, Fidel Castro declared from the balcony of the city council building in Santiago, that the rebels had routed the Dictatorship.
A JOYFUL SANCTI SPIRITUS
It was on the 26th of July following the revolutionary triumph of January 1, 1959 that the date was declared the National Day of Rebellion and celebrated primarily in Havana and Santiago de Cuba.
For some decades past however, the festivities are held in other provinces as a celebration by a proud and content local population of the social, economic and political progress attained.
It was announced on June 11 last that the central province of Sancti Spiritus would this year be home to the central act celebrating 63 years since the historic assault and theShare on FB Share on TT