Cuban Revolution Timeline Activity


Batista leads a series of puppet presidents

1934 - 1940

Batista ran his country through puppet presidents.

Washington abrogates the Platt Amendment


U.S. Navy ships took up stations off the Cuban coast; old style intervention seemed near so the Batista ousted Grau and the radicals on the signal of the United States. In 1934, the U.S. agreed to abrogating the Platt Amendment that wouldn’t affect the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo.

Batista rules Cuba directly for the first time

1940 - 1944

He ruled directly from 1940-1944, then went back to a behind-the-scenes role as the one time radical Grau San Martin returned to the presidency (1944-48)

Castro gives his first manifesto

July 23, 1953

Castro’s ‘History will absolve me’ speech later became the manifesto of his movement and contained the ‘five revolutionary laws’ that would have been published if his attack had been successful.

Castro leads attack on Moncada barracks

July 26, 1953

The attack was the provincial army barracks at Moncada in the Southeastern city of Santiago. Fidel led a band of 165 youths who stormed the garrison. The government reaction was swift and ruthless and led to the police slaughtering suspects and the capture of Fidel and his brother Raul where they were tried and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Castro makes his history will absolve me speech

October 16,1953

Castro’s History Will Absolve Me was a summary of arguments Castro made in the trial of the Moncada Barracks attack.

Castro comes back to Cuba in the Granma

December 1956

By February 1956, Castro had begun to train his ‘army,’ however the Mexican authorities discovered their plans and Castro, Che Guevara and some others were arrested. Once released, planning was renewed in greater secrecy. Following more raids by the Mexican police, Castro decided it was time to take his band of revolutionaries to Cuba - on the Granma, an old motor yacht. They left Mexico.

Cuban communist began to support Castro in the revolution


Until, February 1957, most people thought Castro had been killed, as this was what Batista and the Cuban press reported. The reports of Herbert Matthews, reported Castro’s successes, which encouraged Batista’s opponents and brought extra recruits. Throughout 1957 and early 1958, the size of Castro’s rebel army increased and the area of military operations expanded. The sympathy and respect they showed for the poor peasants gave them valuable support among the local population.

Prior to this date only 15% of rural inhabitants had running water


ORPC founded

January 1959

Castro formed the Office of the Revolutionary Plans and Coordination, an unofficial committee composed of his closest advisers, including his brother Raul and Guevara. This soon created a situation of dual power between the ORPC and the cabinet, as the former began to push forward the revolution Castro wanted.

In this period 40,000 emigrants left Cuba

1959 - 1961

From the mid 1960s, waves of Cuban emigrants went into exile in the US. The first wave were supporters of Batista, and especially those who had tortured or killed his opponents.

Castro makes his proclamation against discrimination speech

March 1959

His Proclamation against discrimination speech, called a campaign against racial discrimination and making it clear that differences in skin color were of no significance.

Agrarian Reform Act passed

May 17, 1959

This was the first major act of revolutionary policy to be established by the new government under the control of Fidel Castro. This act alled for profit sharing among farmers and the division of unused lands. The Agrarian reform included the following measures: limited landholdings to 993 acres, expropriated latifundia, distributed expropriated land to peasants, and nationalized cattle ranches.

All US owned business and public utilities were nationalized

August 6, 1960

The immediate trigger was the refusal by US owned oil refineries to refine the crude received from the USSR. Faced with the prospect of no oil, Cuba nationalized the three American refineries. This action escalated the US embargo on Cuba, which responded by nationalizing all American owned property.

Mass literacy campaign begins

January 1, 1961 - December 22, 1961

This was a year long effort to abolish illiteracy in Cuba after the Cuban Revolution.

Eisenhower administration severs diplomatic relations with Cuba

January 3, 1961

President Dwight D. Eisenhower closes the American embassy in Havana and severs diplomatic relations. The action signaled that the United States was prepared to take extreme measures to oppose Castro’s regime, which U.S. officials worried was beachhead of communism in the western hemisphere. The immediate reason cited for the break was Castro’s demand that the U.S. embassy staff be reduced, which followed heated accusations from the Cuban government that America was using the embassy as a base for spies.

Bay of Pigs incident occurs

April 15, 1961

8 bombers left Nicaragua to bomb Cuban airfields. The bomber missed many of their targets and left most of Castro’s air force intact. As news broke of the attack, photos of the repainted U.S. planes became public and revealed American support for the invasion.

Economic embargo by US on Cuba

February 7, 1962

The embargo was a commercial, economic, and financial embargo imposed by the United States on Cuba. An embargo was first imposed by the United States on sale of arms to Cuba on March 14, 1958. Again on October 19, 1960 the U.S. placed an embargo on exports to Cuba except for food and medicine after Cuba nationalizes American-owned Cuban oil refineries without compensation. On February 7, 1962 the embargo was extended to include almost all imports.

Castro launches attack on PSP party leader, Anibal Escalante

March 1962

Castro asserted his authority and launched an attack on the PSP’S leading member, Anibal Escalante, who was accused of packing the party with his own family and supporters, and of trying to undermine the government’s authority.

The Cuban Missile Crisis occurs

October 14, 1962

The Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 was a direct and dangerous confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War and was the moment when the two superpowers came closest to nuclear conflict.

Castro goes to Russia to visit Khrushchev

April 1963

Castro and Khrushchev negotiated new sugar export deals and agricultural methods to solve the main problem in increasing the output of sugar.

Battle for Sugar takes place

November 1969 - July 1970

In 1966, a new deal with the Soviet Union saw Cuba agree to provide 5 million tonnes in 1968 and 1969, with a guaranteed price. But, despite Soviet investment funds to modernise the sugar industry, the harvests of 1968 and 1969 each only yielded 3.7 million tonnes. Hence Castro launched a spectacular plan to rise the sugar harvest for 1970 to 10 million tonnes.

Castro gives his Let the Shame be Welcome speech

July 26, 1970

Castro took on his own shoulders the responsibility for the quixotic crusade for the super harvest. He offered to resign, but the crowds cried no.

Cuba signs trade deal with the Soviet Union

July 1972

Castro went to Moscow, where he signed a 15 year economic agreement with Leonid Brezhnev that substantially increased the Soviet subsidy to the Cuban economy. This included increasing the price paid for sugar, deferring all debt payments for 15 years, and new investment credits.

Family code adopted in this year

March 8, 1975

The Family Code covers marriage, divorce, paternity, adoption and parental responsibilities.