Monday, May 11, 2009

1956: Castro and M-26-7 followers arrested in Mexico

Cuba History Timeline Events
June 20, 1956
Over 20-24 June, under pressure from Batista, Mexican authorities arrested Fidel Castro and five of his 26th of July Movement (M-26-7) associates. They were charged with violations of immigration laws, illegal possession of military weapons, and conspiring to mount a revolution against a foreign government. During their interrogation they betray the existence of Bayo’s M-26-7 training camp, and the police then raid the rebel training camp (Santa Rosa Ranch, aka Las Rosas), arresting the other 45 Castro followers, and seizing the rebels' weapons, supplies, and cash.

During his interrogation Guevara confessed he was a Communist, that M-26-7 was preparing a revolutionary force to violently overthrow the Cuban government, and that he advocated of armed revolutionary struggle throughout Latin America.

Through the intervention of Mexico’s former president Lázaro Cárdenas all were released by the end of July, beginning on July 6. By July 10, only Fidel Castro, Ché Guevara and Calixto García Martínez remained in detention. On July 24 Castro was freed, Guevara and García were released a week later.

Enrique Ros provides a detailed view of the arrests, including the Mexican police record of admissions made by Guevara in his 2002 book Ernesto Che Guevara: Mito y Realidad (Miami:Ediciones Universal).

Castro praised the courteous treatment of the Mexican authorities during detention, and maintained a close relationship with the Mexican Secret Police chief who arrested him (Fernando Gutiérrez Barrios), and they both publicly acknowledged mutual admiration and friendship until Gutierrez’ death in 2009.

Castro Followers Arrested Mexico 1956Fidel-Che-Prison1956
Fidel Castro (arrow) and followers arrested in Mexico, 1956. Seated second from left is Ernesto "Ché" Guevara. (photo: AP)Fidel Castro (left) and "Ché" Guevara after one of their nights in Miguel Schultz prison, Mexico 1956. (photo: Rue des Archives/PVDE)

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

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