26th of July Movement

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The history museum in Cienfuegos, with the Cuban flag left, and the flag of the movement, right

The 26th of July Movement was the name of the political party led by Fidel Castro during the Cuban Revolution. In Spanish, it is called Movimiento 26 de Julio, it is often abbreviated M-26-7. The name comes from the date of the attack on the Moncada Barracks, in Santiago de Cuba, which was carried out on 26th July 1953. The participants were condemned to long prison terms, but were freed at an amnesty in 1955. After this, they formed the movement. Their strategy was armed resistance, in small cells, that were spread all over the country, and were kept secret. Frank País was made the leader of the resistance in Cuba, other activists were Raúl Pujol, Celia Sánchez, Haydée Santamaría, Aldo Santamaría and Vilma Espín.

Fidel castro and other Moncadistas went into exile. Castro went to Mexico, where he met Ernesto Guevara. In 1956, Fidel and Raul Castro, Juan Almeida Bosque, Ramiro Valdés Menéndez, Guevara, and Camilo Cienfuegos went back to Cuba to support the cells there. After two years of guerilla fighting, Fulgencio Batista fled from Cuba, in 1959.

Until the fall of Batista, the forces did not have a Marxist ideology, rather they were different people collaborating to overturn the Batista regime. Later they started to work together with the Communist Party of Cuba. In 1961, they merged with the Communist Party.