Why Cuba celebrates July 26

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Noel Manzanares Blanco –

July 26, 1953 marked the continuation of the Necessary War conceived by José Martí, as Fidel Castro started the engine of what would become the victory of January 1, 1959.Amid the darkness brought in Cuba by the tyranny, established on the coup d’état of March 10, 1952, the novel ideas of Fidel Castro Ruz found a significant time on July 26, 1953. That day, two different assaults occurred simultaneously in two eastern barracks one in Santiago de Cuba (Guillermón Moncada), and the other in Bayamo (Carlos M. de Cespedes).

Despite the military failure, the action is considered successful given that at least the undisputed leader of the revolutionary political vanguard of the Cuban people came public. Related to this fact is the next October 16, the day that served as the trial against the man who became a disciple of Cuba’s National Hero José Martí. This trial would go down in history under the name of History Will Acquit Me, due to the self-defense argument that would become the political program of the new Cuban Revolutionary Moment. Fidel formulated a concept of people that, while discriminating “the affluent and conservative sectors of the nation” regarding ” the vast

unredeemed masses”, showed the adjustment to a task that would have fighting for and from popular sectors as the main axis. Meanwhile, highlighted measures (laws) which sought to implement (solution to the problems of land, unemployment, industrialization,

housing, education and health), and created conditions to fight for unity from below (from this concept of people) and from above (with organizations whose programs were related to the Moncada). Towards the end of 1953, the July 26 attacks combatants that had been prosecuted and remained prisoners in the prison of Boniato, in the East, were transferred to the Presidio Modelo of Isla de Pinos (today Isla de la Juventud). However, the adverse situation was turned by the Moncada fighters into a new battle trench, especially from the organizational and ideological standpoint: the concern remained and the revolutionary leader’s call to keep the fighting spirit from propaganda activity and to increase the struggle of the student movement, especially the university. He also warned about the need for a unified work, while learning became constant, particularly the process of the continuous learning of history.

An important task developed by the members of the Centennial’s Generation (that is the way those who were raised in honor of the centenary of the birth of Martí in 1953 were called) was the structuring of History Will Acquit Me (La Historia me Absolverá)—with the allegation rebuilt, sent by Fidel himself from prison—and its distribution across the country, taking advantage of the release of some of the fighters, such as Haydee Santamaría and Melba Hernández, heroines of the events of that July 26.

That way the people learned about the revolutionary program that served to clarify its situation and prospects, and to expose the lies told by the Batista dictatorship with its related media. This was under the influence of the work deployed in this regard by the most ideologically experienced colleagues, particularly the heads of the new cells of the revolutionary vanguard that was being organized. To some extent, an outgrowth of the Moncada program distribution can be found in the following fact: as people acquired more awareness there was an increase in the claims of public opinion in favor of the freedom of Fidel and his comrades, to which —without eliminating the pressures of bourgeois— block the tyrant was forced to provide amnesty for all political prisoners. In such a way —without accepting surrender as a condition for the release—, the core of the emerging vanguard that was being formed was free again by mid-May 1955. The continuation of the struggle was thus completely fostered.

Thereafter, the organization of the Moncada reached a higher level —not only chose the name of the July 26th Revolutionary Movement (MR 26-7), but was also enriched by militants from other groups, such as Frank Pais Garcia and Armando Hart Davalos, of the Eastern Revolutionary Action (ARO, for its Spanish acronyms) and the National Revolutionary Movement (MNR, for its Spanish acronyms) respectively—; and Fidel, defying the regime, continued to denounce the excesses of the tyranny, until he had to leave the country. The top leader left for Mexico, almost two years after the Moncada events, and from the Aztec nation he masterfully came back and led the continuity of the Necessary War —precisely conceived by the so-called Intellectual Author of event in question, José Martí— to the historic victory of the January 1st, 1959.

That is why we celebrate July 26, as the Day of National Rebelliousness.