Saturday, December 03, 2016

History Will Not Absolve Him

In 1953, a young Fidel Castro was tried for his armed attack on the Moncada military barracks in Santiago de Cuba during the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. The attack was a dismal failure, though its date—July 26—was later taken as the name of Castro's revolutionary movement.

At the trial 24 lawyers represented the roughly 100 defendants, but Castro, who had a law degree, defended himself. He spoke for four hours, ending with the famous phrase History will absolve me.

The court sentenced Castro to 15 years in prison, 1 of only 31 defendants who were convicted. And Castro and his brother Raúl were in fact released less than two years later. From their release in 1955, it was not even four years to the overthrow of the dictator on January 1, 1959. That day, Castro pledged, I am not interested in power nor do I envisage assuming it at any time. All that I will do is to make sure that the sacrifices of so many compatriots should not be in vain, whatever the future may hold in store for me.

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