July 26, 1953
Failed assault by a motley group of Auténtico, Ortodoxo, and Communist youths led by Fidel Castro against the Moncada Military headquarters in Santiago de Cuba. Half of the attackers were killed in the attack and a third captured including Raúl Castro. Fidel Castro who did not actively participate in the attack went into hiding. He surrendered a week later, under the protection of Santiago’s Archbishop, Mons. Enrique Pérez-Serantes. Fifty-one of the 99 rebel survivors were indicted and tried. Most were found guilty and imprisoned.
There are indications that the Communists had also been involved in the planning of the Moncada attack. A month before the attack the government’s Servicio de Inteligencia Militar [SIM] had uncovered documents implicating the Communists in a conspiracy to take over the country. Under the heading of El Pais XXVI, the documents indicated that Cuba had been singled out to fall under the domination of the Soviet Union. The police reports also indicated that the Communist leaders Joaquín Ordoquí and Lázaro Peña were involved. However, these reports were successfully denounced by all non-Communist revolutionaries as paquetes [packs of lies] and fear-mongering by the regime in an effort to shape public opinion.
Salvador Diaz-Versón published a comprehensive picture of Communist operations in Cuba before 1959, including Soviet involvement. A summary of his findings is available in his paper When Castro Became a Communist.
Antonio de la Cova has written a book with extensive detail about this event, The Moncada Attack: Birth of the Cuban Revolution, and has made available some of his research (including photographs) on the web at: The Attack on the Moncada & Bayamo Garrisons.
|Cuban Army troops defend Moncada 7/26/53 (photo: AFP)||Fidel Castro (far Right) and followers arrested after Moncada attack 8/1/53 (photo: AFP)|