The Cuban independence movement continued off and on for some forty years without much success, including failed efforts at United States annexation, until Jose Marti, at the head of the "CubanRevolutionary Party", led the effort for a national uprising in 1892. In 1898, the USS Maine, moored in Havana Harbor, sunk as the result of an on board explosion of unknown origins. Urged on by the press,in the person of William Randolph Herst and Joseph Pulitzer, even though the cause of the event could not definitively be traced to Spain, the United States entered the conflict against Spain on theside of the revolutionaries, rallying to the battle cry, "Remember the Maine , and to hell with Spain!" Thus began that "splendid little war"-- the Spanish-American War -- fueled, in large measure, byU. S. empathy with the Cuban peoples’ desires for independence. When it was over, Spain, among other things, lost its Cuban colony to the United States, which administered it as a protectorate for aperiod of three years. Thereafter, in 1902, Cuba became an independent nation.
For nearly the next half century, Cuba, although ostensibly a democracy, was dominated by one regime after anotherunderpinned by the military, culminating in 1940 in the notorious dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. At this point in its history, corruption, unequal distribution of wealth and opportunity, and somemeasure of police/military oppression characterized Cuba.17 Fidel Castro made his first appearance in opposition to this unsatisfactory state of affairs in July, 1953, in a failed military strike againstone of Batista’s military barracks. After a relatively short period of imprisonment, Castro was released and then exiled. While in exile, he formed the 26th of July Movement and planned his return tothe island. In 1956, he and a small group of nine original followers18 landed on the island and launched what became a well executed guerrilla war that skillfully took advantage of the sanctuaries...
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