Almost every nation in the world has experienced a revolution. A revolution can be simply defined as "a change." When a country undergoes a revolution, its ideals that it once believed in are being modified. Sometimes revolutionaries act intellectually, yet others may respond physically through destruction. Some may be peaceful, some short lasting, and some pointless. Historians do argue on identifying whether a revolution has occurred. Revolutions usually follow a rupture in the nation's events, are directed by a hero, have an ideology and belief system, and use symbols or tools to get its points across to the people. Cuba and its leader today, Fidel Castro, have their own roots in a revolution that took place only some forty years ago. The causes of the Revolution itself laid behind the military dictatorship of General Batista.
The overthrow of the June 1952 elections by Batista indirectly led to the Cuban Revolution. With this event the weakness behind Cuba's politics was revealed to the people. Their economy also fluctuated between high and low profits. Because Cuba, after the destruction of land in Europe in WWII, had the most sugar production in the world, small farm owners prospered. Yet because sugar was the only major crop they produced, Cubans suffered when economies in other nations prospered. This in turn resulted in unemployment in the cities. With these circumstances, Cubans showed more oppression to their government and soon began to be rebellious. However, Batista jailed, exiled, executed, and used terror and threats of violence against all the challenges he faced. The people became even more unhappy, until finally a rupture occurred. While earning a doctorate of law in Havana, Fidel Castro began to participate in student protests against Batistan polices. Castro housed weapons and prepared his supporters in the university campus in Havana. He organized a surprise attack on the Moncada barracks in the Oriente Province on July 26, 1953, where Batista's military stayed, hoping to destroy the army that persecuted other rebels. Castro did not realize one major problem: the odds of taking over a nation's military base are small. All revolutionaries except Castro and his family were massacred. Although this rupture failed, Castro's movement gained popularity and prestige all over the world. In fact, Castro called the Revolution the 26 of July Movement. Castro himself was caught and sentenced to jail for two years. Between 1955 and 1956,
Castro went to United States and Mexico looking for supporters and money to fund his revolution. On December 2, 1956, eighty-two men including Castro and the physician Ernesto "Che" Guevara, set sail once again for the Oriente on their yacht, the Granma. The campaign was doomed from the beginning. "Nobody could navigate the boat properly, everybody was seasick, most of the supplies were jettisoned in a storm, and the expedition landed in the wrong place."(Sinclair,15) On one occasion Guevara followed the wrong star to travel North, and on another, his comrade put the only the drink they had, milk, upside down in his pocket. By the end of the day the milk was gone. On December 5 in the battle of Alegr?a de P?o, Batista's troops killed all of the rebels except twelve. Among these survivors, coincidentally, were Castro and Guevara.
Meanwhile, in the cities and universities, a revolutionary movement was also taking place. The Ortodoxo political party favored a violent revolution against Batista. Its leader and University of Havana Professor Rafael B?rcena organized the National Revolutionary Movement, which gained support from students. Castro refused to join, partly because he was leading his own revolts. In 1953, Batista's government found out about an upcoming attack that B?rcena planned, and sent him to prison. Colonel Cosme de la Torriente sought a peaceful answer to Batista by having elections. Knowing he would lose, Batista disregarded Torriente. By this time the Cubans knew that a violent revolution was unavoidable.
The police under Batista fiercely put down a student protest on November 27, 1955 with beatings. Later during a baseball game being broadcasted on television, students showed anti-Batista banners, which led to a demonstration that was also put down by the police. In another demonstration, they killed a popular student, Ciego de ?vila. His funeral on December 10 turned into a protest