Victory Day in Cuba Date in the current year: January 2, 2024

Victory Day in Cuba On January 1 and 2, Cubans celebrate not only New Year, but also the anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, which resulted in the fall of Fulgencio Batista’s regime and Fidel Castro’s rise to power. January 1 is celebrated as Triumph of the Revolution or Liberation Day, and January 2 is referred to as Victory Day.

Fulgensio Batista rose to power twice through military coups: first in the 1933 Revolt of the Sergeants, maintaining control until 1944, and then in the 1952 Cuban coup d'état. After overthrowing President Carlos Prío Socarrás three months before the scheduled presidential election, he established a de facto military dictatorship.

On July 26, 1953, a group of progressive-minded young people led by Fidel Castro staged an armed attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba. Since the defending garrison was more numerous than Castro’s group of rebels and the attack was poorly planned, the majority of rebels were either killed or captured. Fidel Castro received a 15-year prison sentence, and his brother Raúl was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

However, in 1955, Batista pardoned political prisoners, including the Castro brothers, due to political pressure. Fidel and Raúl, accompanied by other Moncada attackers, went to Mexico to prepare for a full-blown revolution. They named themselves the “26th of July Movement” to commemorate their attack on the Moncada Barracks. In Mexico, the Castro brothers met Che Guevara, who joined their revolutionary movement.

On December 2, 1956, 82 Cuban revolutionaries, including the Castro brothers and Che Guevara, were transported from Mexico on the yacht Granma and landed in Cuba. Most of them were killed by Batista’s army, but a small group of survivors escaped into the Sierra Maestra mountains to plot a guerrilla war against Batista’s regime.

The rebels carried out their first successful offensive in January 1957. During the first year of the revolution, the rebels mostly succeeded in the countryside. In the early 1958, they begin to win major battles against Batista’s army due to the growing support from the population and the arrival of reinforcements. The strategic initiative went over to the rebels in the mid-1958.

In December 1958, the rebels began to occupy city after city. By December 31, Batista’s army had completely lost its combat power. Realizing that he had no chance against the revolutionary forces, Batista fled the country on January 1, 1959. The next day, Castro’s forces took over Santiago de Cuba, and the forces of Camilo Cienfuegos and Che Guevara entered Havana.

The anniversary of Batista’s flight to the Dominican Republic (January 1) is now celebrated as Triumph of the Revolution or Liberation Day, and January 2 – the day when the revolutionary army entered Santiago de Cuba and Havana – is celebrated as Victory Day, sometimes also referred to as Victory of the Armed Forces Day. Both days are public holidays marked by military parades, fireworks, and other festive events held throughout the country.

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Victory Day in Cuba, holidays in Cuba, public holidays, Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro