Army Politics in Socialist Cuba, 1959-69
Many of the early qualities of the Cuban revolution emanated from the experience of armed struggle. In the Sierra Maestra, features of the socialist order acquired their earliest expression, assumed recognizable form, and established the foundations upon which the radical transformation of Cuban society would proceed. The exigencies of armed struggle created a new consciousness and at once proletarianized middle- class revolutionaries and militarized civilian combatants. The guerrilla war conferred on the revolutionary order a powerful legacy of struggle which, in its earliest forms, expressed itself most compellingly in the Rebel Army. Indeed, the insurgent societies forged by the Rebel Army represented the revolutionary processes in microcosm. When Ernesto Che Guevara and Régis Debray subsequently suggested foquismo as the means of national liberation, the model drew heavily from the guerrilla experience of the Rebel Army in Cuba. From the experience of armed struggle in the Sierra Maestra, the contours of socialist Cuba emerged under Rebel Army auspices.
Fulgencio Batista derived enormous satisfaction in recounting to his followers the details of his seizure of power in 1952. Within one hour and seventeen minutes, Batista boasted, the conspirators had overturned the government. And, indeed, the golpe of March 10 unquestionably owed much of its spectacular and comparatively easy success to the organizational skills of its planners.