Cuba - Rise to power



On 2 December 1956, Fidel Castro, his brother Raúl, Ernesto "Ché" Guevara (an Argentinean doctor whom they met in Mexico), and a force of about 82 men landed on the north coast of the Oriente province. The trip from Mexico was made on Granma , an old yacht that had been acquired with money donated by deposed president Prío-Socarrás. Shortly after their landing, the rebel group was met by the Batista forces, and most of the rebels were killed. A few of the survivors, including the brothers, Fidel and Raúl Castro, and Ché Guevara, escaped to the Sierra Maestro Mountains, where they regrouped and began recruiting new members. Beginning in early 1958, the rebel movement gained a series of victories against the Batista forces, which encouraged massive civic resistance in the cities.

The growing success of the rebel forces led to increasingly brutal repression by the Batista forces. In early 1958, the administration of U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower suspended arms shipments to Cuba, accusing Batista of having violated agreements with the United States by using the weapons not for national defense, but to fight internal enemies. This decision increased public disenchantment with Batista. Finally, on New Year's Day 1959, Batista accepted his defeat and went into exile in the Dominican Republic. The next day, Fidel Castro and his "26th of July" movement marched into Havana and assumed control of Cuba.

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