CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
A group of rebels in Sierra Maestra, headed by Fidel Castro, engaged in war and forced tyrant Fulgencio Batista to leave power. It was Castro's moment of glory. He took one week to get to Havana and launch his so-called Cuban Revolution. He did not want power, but he held office for 50 years. Now, his brother, Raúl Castro leads a country plunged into misery that is afloat thanks to Venezuelan aid, rather than Soviet aid
Surrounded by the people, Fidel Castro launched his revolution. Nowadays, when 50 years have elapsed, many wonder where is the promised future (Photo: Andrés Mata Foundation)
From a presidential balcony, Manuel Urrutia, briefly in charge of the revolutionary government, addressed himself to the people to extend his greetings, upon arriving in Havana, to the man that the crowds below viewed as their liberator: "The Cuban democracy should be honored with the presence, within the presidential palace, of a great hero in the fight against tyranny."
It was January 8th, 1959, and he referred of course to Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz.
A week earlier, in the dawn of the first day of the New Year, General Fulgencio Batista fled the island. This marked not only the end of a dictatorship, supported in more ways than one by the United States, and ruled with an iron fist and a strong aversion to the masses, but also the birth of a new dictatorship, with different allies and under the veil of the collective wellbeing, that would clinch tightly at all costs to power for five decades and continues to date. But timing was different. In 1959 there was not other choice but to lay all hope on those slovenly bearded characters that, with a will of titanic proportions, had managed to corner the island's 30,000 troops and forced the dictator to flee.
Celebrations would last hours on end.
Over the radio, Castro learned of Batista's retreat and immediately, along with his rebels, descended from Sierra Maestra. On January 2nd, he entered Santiago and proceeded to make his first official speech: "It is now that the revolution begins I am not interested in power nor do I plan on exercising it... There will be freedom to criticize us... and we shall abide by only one rule, to respect the law and the thoughts of others."
On January 8th, Castro arrived in the Cuban capital with the aura of a hero, reinforced by five days of television images accompanying his trek and showing his emotional passing through the streets of Havana filled with bright colors and flags of the Revolutionary Movement 26 de Julio. Of minute proportions, Cuba celebrated its commander in a big way, but soon this island would begin to change the course of global geopolitics.
While the world literally discovered the other side of the moon, thanks to a Soviet mission, and two monkeys survived the first space flight from Cape Canaveral, the incipient Venezuela democracy faced its demons.
Rómulo Betancourt was sworn in as president on February 13th. In the early days of this administration, efforts were focused on bringing to justice a fugitive Marcos Pérez Jiménez, who had been expelled from the United States in January, while dealing with the consequences of a wave of terrorist attacks throughout the capital aimed at television station RCTV, political party URD, the Country Club, the Portugal Embassy and the residence of former President Eleazar López Contreras.
5.- Renewed status
6.- Radio Capital
9.- Cyber Radio
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