The Commemoration of the Assault on Moncada is observed on July 25 to honor the beginning of the Cuban Revolution, which started with a failed attack on the Moncada Barracks, renowned military quarters in Cuba’s second-largest city. The incident, which was instrumental in bringing Fidel Castro into the national limelight, led to the collapse of the Batista dictatorship six years later. Present-day Cubans remember the day as one of the most significant turning points in their nation’s history and honor the martyrs who laid down their lives in the quest for freedom.
History of Commemoration of the Assault on Moncada
On the dawn of July 26, 1953, Fidel Castro led an army of 136 personally trained guerilla fighters in an attack on Moncada Barracks. The siege occurred after a year of planning and was triggered by the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista’s military coup. An insufficiency of weapons and lapses in communication foiled the attack. However, the elites received an invaluable message — Castro and his mutineers had rocked the empire, consisting of a diverse group of Africans, Cubans, and biracial citizens with an average age of 26.
The aftermath of the attack was bittersweet for the rebels as over a dozen of them were executed. A handful of the survivors, including Castro, were later apprehended and imprisoned. Although the months-long trial resulted in Castro being found guilty, his iconic speech, “History Will Absolve Me,” made headlines across the island and awakened nationalism in thousands of people — transforming Castro into a national hero. As cracks developed in the Batista Empire, the dictator sought ways to salvage his reputation, freeing Castro and the rest of the insurgents in 1955. This began Castro’s unparalleled journey to becoming Cuba’s leader.
The Commemoration of the Assault on Moncada, also known as the July 26 Movement, was highlighted by Castro as the first step toward toppling oppressive dictatorship and foreign influence on Cuban leadership. It is a part of the three-day National Revolution Day celebrations in Cuba that takes place from July 25 to July 27.
Commemoration of the Assault on Moncada timeline
Fidel Castro organizes a training camp and starts teaching nearly 1,200 young men guerilla warfare.
Castro’s army launches an attack on the Moncada Barracks.
Castro is sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in the siege on Moncada.
Upon surviving the brutal Granma yacht journey, Castro gathers his troops to honor the Moncada attack.
Commemoration of the Assault on Moncada FAQs
Who led the assault on Moncada Barracks?
Fidel Castro, with the help of his guerilla army, charged an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks.
How many people died in the Cuban revolution?
An estimated 2,000 people died during the Cuban Revolution.
When is the best time to visit Cuba?
The months between October and April are the best time to enjoy Cuba’s Caribbean climate and sunny beaches.
How to Observe Commemoration of the Assault on Moncada
Join the celebrations
On the Commemoration of the Assault on Moncada, Cubans stage reenactments and host various programs honoring the lives lost during the attack. Visit the country to see the celebrations firsthand.
Read about it
The Moncada Attack launched a monumental era in Cuba’s history and changed the social, economic, and political destinies of millions. To mark the day, educate yourself about the tumultuous history of the Cuban Revolution.
Throw a Cuban feast
You’ll be shocked to learn that Cuban delicacies are much more than cigars and Piña Coladas. Celebrate the day with a hearty feast of plantains, corn dishes, and black bean stew.
5 Thrilling Facts About The Cuban Revolution
There was a high death toll
Nineteen mutineers were killed during the assault on the Moncada Barracks.
Castro was imprisoned
Fidel and Raúl Castro were imprisoned for 22 months for their role in the Moncada attack.
A mother’s appeal
Mothers of the imprisoned led a joint appeal to free the jailed mutineers.
A wave of inspiration
Fidel’s iconic “History Will Absolve Me” speech inspired thousands of people to join his cause.
An opportunity in exile
Upon his release from prison, Castro sailed to Mexico City and met Che Guevera.
Why Commemoration of the Assault on Moncada is Important
It started the Cuban Revolution
The Assault on Moncada marked the dawn of the six-year revolution that would end the Batista dictatorship. Millions of Cubans remember the day as the true start of the country’s republic and reiterate the revolutionary ideology.
It brought Castro into the limelight
Although it was unsuccessful, the Moncada assault thrust the Castro brothers, Fidel and Raúl, onto the national stage. This allowed them to strengthen their army and widen their reach.
It’s a day of remembrance
More than a dozen mutineers died on the field, and the rest were imprisoned for at least 22 months. The anniversary of the Assault on Moncada honors the brave-hearted fighters who sacrificed their lives to serve the motherland.
Commemoration of the Assault on Moncada dates