Monday, May 18, 2009

1956: Prio Funds Castro’s Granma Expedition

Cuba History Timeline Events
September 1, 1956
Trying to regroup after the loss of all weapons and cash to the Mexican Police raids, the desperate and penniless Castro turns to the exiled Carlos Prío Socarrás to fund the preparation and execution of a 26th of July Movement (M-26-7) invasion of Cuba.

In September Prío Socarrás and Castro meet clandestinely at the Casa de Palmas Hotel in McAllen, Texas, after Castro illegally enters the US by swimming across the Rio Grande near Reynosa. Prío agrees to provide Castro the necessary funds for the planned invasion. The amount remains uncertain, estimates range from $50,000 to $500,000. Prío imposes the condition that some of his men go with Castro’s expeditionary force. Castro agrees and on his return to Mexico exulted: “I conned him!” After this meeting Prío will have one more phone conversation with Castro about the expedition, and then never hear from him again. Castro’s purchase of the yacht Granma ($18,000) and other costs of the expedition were covered with the $50,000 or more provided by Prío.

Casa de Palmas Hotel, McAllen TXCasa de Palmas Hotel, McAllen TX. Site of Prio-Castro 1956 meeting.

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

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