Friday, April 3, 2009

Cuba 1953: Moncada Trial, Castro imprisoned

Cuba History Timeline Events
October 16, 1953

The Moncada attack trial runs September 21 to October 16, 1953. Fifty-one of the surviving Moncada attackers were tried. Most defendants were found guilty and sentenced to prison terms of 10-13 years. A few men drew shorter sentences, three years for a few of the men, seven months for the two women charged (19 defendants were acquitted).

Castro demanded and received a separate trial at which he acted as attorney pro se. At the end of the proceedings Castro delivered a famous defense speech, which purportedly ended with the phrase, “History will Absolve Me.” There is no official transcript of the speech. Whatever he actually said, there are now a handful of versions. Reportedly, a distinguished Ortodoxo intellectual (Harvard-trained Jorge Mañach) was willing to work on its first published version because it would be good anti-Batista propaganda. Over the years the speech has been frequently modified to adapt it to the regime’s propaganda needs.

Castro was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison on the Isle of Pines, but served only 22 months as the result of an amnesty law approved by the national legislature and signed by Batista in May 1955.

based on Manuel Márquez-Sterling's Cuba 1952-1959 and
Cuba 1952-1959 Interactive Timeline

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