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1959 - Fidel Castro Becomes Dictator of Cuba

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Fidel Castro Becomes Dictator of Cuba (1959): Ever since General Fulgencio Batista's successful coup in 1952, Fidel Castro had worked to oust Batista from Cuba. At first, Castro used the legal system but when that didn't work, he resorted to violence.

After a failed attempt to control the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba in 1953, Castro spent two years in jail before being released and traveling to Mexico. While in Mexico, Castro trained in guerilla warfare tactics which readied him for the next few years of fighting.

Arriving back in Cuba on December 2, 1956, Castro and his group of trained rebels (the 26th of July Movement) landed on Cuban soil with the intention of starting a revolution. Met by heavy opposition forces, nearly all of the rebels died. Castro, his brother, and Che Guevara escaped into the mountains.

Over the next two years, Castro and his newly recruited rebels used guerilla tactics against Batista's troops.

On January 1, 1959, Batista admitted defeat and left the country. Although not at first appointed president, Castro succeeded in taking power of the new Cuban government by July 1959.

See full article: Fidel Castro

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