Monday, June 1, 2009

1956: Granma expedition reaches Cuba

Cuba History Timeline Events
December 2, 1956
On 2 December, Granma lands, or more precisely, runs aground several miles from the intended landing in Oriente province. Twenty of the 82 who sailed from Mexico on the Granma had participated in the Moncada and Bayamo attacks. Landing is at Playa Las Coloradas near the town of Belic. Debarking was difficult due to the vessel’s severe overloading which prevented beaching—forcing the expeditionaries to unload in chest-high swamp water.

Castro and his expeditionary force were quickly spotted by Batista’s forces. About a third of the guerillas were killed or captured almost immediately, most in their first encounter with Batista’s troops on December 5, 1956 at Alegría de Pío.

Of the 82 who made the trip from Mexico, only 12-20 made it to the Sierra Maestra, including the Castro brothers, Ché Guevara (wounded and bleeding), and Camilo Cienfuegos. After the rout, the battered remaining expeditionaries encountered a local guide (Crescencio Pérez, a well-known fugitive from justice), who led them to the safety offered by the mountain caves in the intricate recesses of the Sierra Maestra. They set up camp in the Sierra a few days later as a base and prepared to wage guerrilla actions and terrorist attacks.

Batista troops enroute to Sierra Maestra 1956Granma yacht
Cuban Army troops enroute to Sierra Maestra. December 1956 (photo: Bettmann/CORBIS)Granma yacht

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

No comments: