News »

The social composition of Moncada insurgents

Fidel Moncada presoThe fact that the Cuban people were politically prepared and full of patriotic fervor in 1953 is made evident in the social composition of the revolutionary movement which the young attorney, Fidel Castro Ruz, was able to pull together in a short period of time following the military coup of March 10, 1952, carried out by Fulgencio Batista, and promptly recognized by the United States government, practically on the eve of general elections scheduled for June 1 that year.

The members of what would become a transforming, revolutionary movement recognized the critical moment in which they were living. They reflected the conception of the people that Fidel would later define in his defense statement following the Moncada assault known as “History will absolve me.”

The spark of a true revolution was lit among broad layers of Cuba society: campesinos, workers, modest professionals, unemployed youth, and those with precarious and seasonal jobs, drawn to the political program presented to the nation as the Moncada Manifesto. The insurgents were not only audacious. They understood and wanted to achieve more than a simple change of government.

The organization’s program was outlined by Fidel. A part came from the 1940 Constitution, abolished by Batista during the coup. This document, among other precepts, abolished the possession of vast areas of land, but laws to implement a land reform were never approved. Fidel’s proposal included as a fundamental point rejection of U.S. companies’ control, like that of the United Fruit Company, and others of all kinds, including those providing electricity and telephone services, as well as gasoline refineries.

Also among fundamental elements were the development of public education, a health care program within the reach of the entire people, and many other social demands that became