The Shot that Brought Communism to Cuba

By: Nardini

 Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryThis year, on July 26th, marks the 59th anniversary of the failed attack on the Moncada barracks in Cuba. On July 26th of 1953, then lawyer Fidel Castro led an attack against the Moncada barracks in an effort to topple then Cuban President and dictator Fugencio Batista. Castro had 137 volunteers who were prepared to attack and take over the Moncada. Before I say anything more, I should say something about the background of the Moncada. Originally built in the late 19th Century, it was named for Guillermon Moncada—a hero of Cuba’s war for independence. The Moncada was the second largest supply base of weaponry in Cuba at the time, and guarded by 1,000 troops. Fidel Castro had hoped to seize the Moncada so that he could start a general revolt against Batista. The whole operation was pretty much doomed from the start. Many of the rebels got separated, and those who did make it to the Moncada were killed quickly. Those who were captured were executed a few hours later. Fidal and his brother Raul Castro were captured and imprisoned. They were released after serving 20 months by an amnesty granted by Batista. Years later, Fidel Castro called the attack on the Moncada the start of his revolution. That is quite accurate. This was the beginning where Cuba would never be the same.

After the Communist revolution in Cuba, Fidel Castro turned the Moncada into a school and then turned half of the building into the July 26th Historical Museum. Well, everyone in Cuba learns about the “brave” men who risked everything for the revolution, but nothing about the 73,000 people slaughtered by Fidel since he came to power. An estimated one million Cubans have fled Cuba since Castro came to power, and more Cubans were shot and killed trying to flee Cuba than the number of East Germans who fled East Germany. Cuba has only one party, the Communist Party of Cuba, and no one can elect those who run the country. There is no freedom of the press, no freedom of the Internet, and the Cuban economy is even worse off than it was in 1959. What is also not mentioned in Cuban history books in Cuba is that there have been more political prisoners under Fidel (and now Raul) Castro than at any time in Cuban history. In fact, there are still cases where Cuban political prisoners are tortured and secretly executed. No one is sure how many Cuban political prisoners have been executed since this remains a state secret. Considering what has happened to Cuba since a Communist dictatorship was established, I ask myself what point is there in celebrating the anniversary of the attack on the Moncada?

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