July 26 was the day in 1953 when Castro launched his first attack on the Batista regime, at the Moncada army base.
Outnumbered ten to one, Castro’s forces failed and he was arrested. He was sent into exile in Mexico, but he was soon back to try again.
From 1956 to 1959, in what is called the Cuban revolution, Castro and his troops waged guerrilla warfare from their base in Cuba’s Sierra Maestra. They raided army posts and blew up property.
Peasant farmers shielded them and volunteered as soldiers, viewing Castro as their best hope for a better life. Castro’s top officers included his brother Raul Castro and Che Guevara.
The rebels called themselves the Twenty-sixth of July Movement, in honor of Castro’s first daring blow.