The Cuban Revolution

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The Cuban Revolution and Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

The Cuban Revolution started as a result of a dream, two men in particular; Fidel Castro and Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara shared this dream. The dream was to take power away from General Fulgencio Batista, and return this power to the underprivileged population of Cuba. Batista was at the time protected and supported by the American government because he was extremely anti communist and during the Cold War the American’s were in great fear of Communism spreading at all, let alone to an island a few miles from their shores.

Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara was born on the 14th June 1928 in Rosario, Argentina. As a young man he had extremely different views on how governments should be run and believed that some must suffer for others to prosper and he wanted to be a famous Doctor of medicine. He studied medicine at the University of Buenos Aires and when he finished there, he decided to go on an unusual trip through Latin America with his friend and co-worker Alberto and his aim was to finish at the San Pablo Leper Colony and to do some work there for a few weeks. It was on this journey that Ernesto began to consider the idea of Communism because he started to see the huge economic divide with Americans dominating and using Latin Americans for the difficult work like mining. There is one example when Ernesto and Alberto meet a communist couple in the mountains in Chile who have been forced onto the road because of their Communist ideology. Ernesto and Alberto went with the couple to the Chinquicamata mine and Ernesto became extremely irritated with the people in charge of the mine because they treats the miners with no respect whatsoever. This is possibly the first stage where Ernesto starts to feel that he has to change the way that poorer countries are run.

When Ernesto and Fidel Castro set out in November 1956, there were 82 men and women aboard the ship that was taking them to Cuba including themselves and only 12 of the original 82 survived to see their Victory. This movement became known as the July 26th Movement. Their plan was to set up a camp in the Sierra Maestra Mountains in Cuba however on their way Batista’s army ambushed them and by the time they reached the Sierra Maestra Mountains there was only 16 people alive with 12 guns between them and it was in the next few months that the revolution struggled and guerrilla tactics were put into place.

Guerrilla tactics are often put into place in mountainous areas or rainforest areas such as Vietnam and Cuba. The Vietcong army during the Vietnam War were guerrillas and they lived underground in tunnels and the network of tunnels stretched across the whole of Vietnam. These tunnels were what prevented the Americans from winning this war. The guerrillas in Vietnam were much the same as the ones in Cuba; they were fighting for the same reason and around the same period and the Americans tried to use modern war technology such as napalm in both cases and in both cases, they killed more civilians than revolutionaries as they could often not know the difference. The whole point of guerrilla warfare is to be discrete and in both Vietnam and Cuba, they executed this perfectly. The next most crucial point is to have a large support group and this starts by knowing what the people want and having a small but strong army with both military skills and basic skills such as being able to read and write and there were very few soldiers in the July 26th Movement who started without being literate and those that were not, were taught. Essentially, guerrilla warfare is about being all round soldiers and being able to adapt to your surroundings and the key to Fidel Castro and Che Guevara’s success was as a result of brilliant all round soldiers.

Fidel Castro wanted to send a message to Batista and so rather than taking weapons from the army vehicles that were always on the road they raided army garrisons and built up their armoury. This...
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