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On July 26, 1953, unhappy with the political direction of their country, Cuban revolutionaries Fidel and Raul Castro recruited 160 men and staged a coup to overthrow the military dictatorship of Cuba’s President Fulgencio Batista. The plan, however, failed, with most of Castro’s crew was tried and executed while Castro and his brother were both sentenced to prison.

Later, in 1955, under political pressure, the Batista government freed the Castros, who later flee to Mexico where they would encounter Ernesto “Che” Guevara, an Argentinian and fellow revolutionary. There they 3 would recruit more men for their second attempt to cast Batista out of power. 

Upon returning to Cuba the next year, the Castros’ small band of rebels would engage in long, bloody campaign of guerrilla warfare against Batista and successfully overthrow his government, establishing in its place a communist, one-party state in which Castro would rule with an iron first for the next 52 years.