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News > Cuba

Cuba's Rebellion Day Honors the M26 Fighters and Their Legacy

  • An image of Fidel Castro at the

    An image of Fidel Castro at the "July 26 School City" in Santiago, Cuba, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/ @Funda_cenamec1

Published 26 July 2022

The assaults on the Moncada and Cespedes barracks in 1953 announced to the world the existence of a new generation of Cubans willing to fight for the dignity of their nation.

Every July 26, Cubans celebrate the "National Rebellion Day" and remember the assaults on the Moncada and Cespedes barracks in 1953, when a group of young people led by Fidel Castro carried out armed actions against the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.


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"In the early hours of Sunday, July 26, 1953, during the noisy carnival in Santiago City, 131 young combatants, boarded in 16 cars, dressed in Army uniforms, and led by Fidel Castro, assaulted the Moncada Barracks," the Cuban writer Pedro Rioseco recalled.

"On that same day and at the same time, 28 revolutionaries assaulted the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes barracks in Bayamo... The objective of both actions was to unleash an armed struggle against the dictatorship. They sought to confront the political crisis and the very serious existing social problems."

Fidel Castro wanted to take advantage of the massive presence of tourists who came to the Santiago carnival to go unnoticed and take over the barracks while the soldiers slept. The element of surprise, however, did not work.

"The fight began outside the barracks and was prolonged in a positional battle, in which the soldiers prevailed. Fidel ordered the withdrawal," Rioseco recounted, adding that "except for a few combatants who were able to escape helped by the people, most of the rebels were captured and most of them killed in the following days."

The tweet reads, "It is the 69th anniversary of the assault on the Moncada barracks. On July 26, 1953, in honor of the centenary of the birth of Cuba's hero Jose Marti, a group of youths led by Fidel Castro assaulted the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes barracks".

Although the insurgent operations of July 26 were a military failure, they did not go unnoticed by all citizens who confirmed that a whole new generation of Cubans was willing to resume the libertarian path that Jose Marti, the poet who died in combat, began decades ago.

A few years later, Fidel and the survivors of the attacks on the barracks formed the July 26 Movement (M26), which carried out a guerrilla war from the Sierra Maestra and defeated the dictatorship on January 1, 1959.

"Do not be discouraged by any setback or difficulty! This has been not only the teaching of July 26 but also the teaching of our entire history: from Cespedes, Maximo Gomez and Agramonte to Marti and Maceo," lawmaker Martha Valenciano stressed.

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