Celebrations in Cuba for the First Revolt by Fidel Castro

Today the Moncada garrison is a school and museum. Photo: Janis Hernandez

HAVANA TIMES – Cuba is preparing to celebrate this Friday the 60th anniversary of the July 26, 1953 assault on the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba. The action failed militarily but would go on to spark the Cuban revolution.

Usually rotating around the country, the celebration this year will take place symbolically in Santiago itself. The city, punished last year by Hurricane “Sandy,” has been given a facelift with more than 150 public works projects preceding the event, says the official daily “Granma”.

The July 26 celebration will be led by President Raul Castro. The presidents of Uruguay, Jose Mujica, and Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, announced they will attending. There has been no mention whether ex-president Fidel Castro would attend.

Fidel, 86, is rarely seen in public. The former president lives out of power since 2006, after suffering a severe intestinal disease that put him on the brink of death, noted dpa news.

Sixty years ago Castro led the assault on the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba, with which a group of young rebels wanted to start a revolt against the regime of Fulgencio Batista.

Raul Castro, then 22, also participated in the simultaneous attacks on both the Moncada garrison in Santiago and the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes garrison in Bayamo, heading up the insurgent group in Santiago.

The action led by Fidel Castro, then a young 26-year-old lawyer, failed. Castro was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but was released under an amnesty two years later.

The date commemorating the assault on the Batista garrisons is known as “The Day of National Rebellion”.

The main event is held every year in a different city. In 2013, it returns symbolically to Santiago for the sixtieth anniversary of the revolt.