Condemn me. It does not matter.

History will absolve me.

–Fidel Castro

July of 1953 marks the beginning of the Cuban Revolution as Fidel Castro rallied his troops to oppose the totalitarian regime of President Fulgencio Batista. Within the 5 years of instability that followed, countless lives were lost as revolutionaries sought to establish a socialist state –fighting the influence of the US promoted by Batista’s government. It wasn’t until the Battle of Santa Clara that Castro’s guerrilla fighters enabled a political change that established Cuba as the first communist state within the western hemisphere of the world.

Castro’s consolidation of power revolved around arrests and executions of those who had been linked to the Batista government and celebratory visits to countries like Caracas and Venezuela to preach the values of his communist state and highlight the growing threat from the capitalist Americas. The deteriorating relationship between the two countries resulted in innumerable attempts to overthrow the pragmatic leader as well as trade embargos –in effect presently as well.

Cuba, as it was modelled by Castro, was looked at as a blueprint for many leftist countries in Latin America. Today, he is hailed as one of the apostles of the communist struggle.