The Moncada Attack
Birth of the Cuban Revolution
In July of 1953, aided by his brother Raúl, Fidel Castro led 160 sparsely armed and poorly trained followers in simultaneous assaults on two Cuban army posts, declaring as his goal the restoration of constitutional democracy on the island. Skirmishes lasted only minutes on both fronts as the insurgents failed to take the garrisons and were killed, captured, or dispersed without contingency plans. A master of manipulation, Castro was later able to recast this humiliating military defeat as a political victory when Major General Fulgencio Batista's troops summarily executed more than fifty rebel prisoners, garnering the ire of the people.
De la Cova chronicles the assaults and their aftermath as they happened, with a special focus on countering false statements later made by Castro at his subsequent trial and in his published defense speech History Will Absolve Me—a required text for Cuban schoolchildren to this day. Through research and interviews, de la Cova brings to light the persistent falsehoods told of atrocities committed by Batista's soldiers and Castro's rebels. He proves that Castro invented a legend of prisoner torture, mutilation, and dismemberment and that likewise Batista falsified the historical record of the attack. The myths surrounding the assault provided superb fodder for building support for the successful guerrilla campaign that brought Castro to power in 1959. Assessing the impact of this mythology, the divided loyalties of the Cuban soldiers, and U.S. policy toward Cuba in the 1950s, de la Cova presents a detailed and candid survey of the lasting importance of the Moncada attack and its place in history as the birth of the Cuban revolution.
About the Author
"From the beginning of the Cuban Republic on May 20, 1902, there had never been as bloody and tragic a day in Cuban history as July 26, 1953 when Fidel Castro sought to make a name for himself with an armed attack on the Moncada garrison in Santiago de Cuba. Antonio de la Cova's book constitutes the most thorough and serious historical account ever written of that infamous episode in Cuban history."—U.S. Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Florida's Twenty-First District
"Few topics remain as shrouded in humbug as the Cuban Revolution. A barrier of strict taboos has hindered researchers in this field, but de la Cova—to the immense benefit of anyone interested in facts—crosses that barrier and thus debunks the most cherished tenets of Castro apologia. In this book we see Fidel Castro as a shrewd megalomaniac with little regard for human life and with a clear plan for Cuba. De la Cova has a fanatical penchant for ascertaining facts. The result is this fascinating and groundbreaking book, surely a landmark in Cuba scholarship."—Humberto Fontova, author of Fidel: Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant and Exposing The Real Che Guevara and The Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him
"Since the early 1950s, Castro's revolution has been a great source of myths, false or over-inflated statements, and political fairy tales. Finally, Antonio de la Cova gives us a well-documented book that demystifies the past and tells what really happened on that sad, legendary day of July 26, 1953, at the Moncada barracks."—Paquito D'Rivera, author of My Sax Life: A Memoir
Other Titles by Antonio Rafael de la Cova
Other Titles in HISTORY / Caribbean & West Indies / Cuba