Tuesday, December 15, 2009

1958: Battle of La Plata (El Jigüe)

Cuba History Timeline Events
July 11-21, 1958
On July 11, 1958, the Battle of La Plata (also called Battle of Jigüe) was launched by Batista forces as part of Operation Verano, a campaign to end the Castro rebellion. The battle plan created by General Eulogio Cantillo called for a direct attack on Castro's base in the Sierra Maestra featuring a coordinated amphibious assault from sea by Battalion 18, led by Major Jose Quevedo Pérez. Although the landing was successful. Castro forces quickly surrounded the assault battalion, ending with the humiliating surrender of the battalion and the loss of about 500 Cuban army troops. Quevedo (a Castro school chum) and a few other officers joined Castro’s rebels soon after the surrender.The scale of the defeat demoralized Batista’s armed forces, and provided the rebels supplies, military equipment, a morale boost and a propaganda victory.

An August 1958 Time report summarized Castro's comeback and the gains of the revolutionaries:

Five months ago many Cubans thought that Rebel Chief Fidel Castro was through. His much-touted "total war" against President Fulgencio Batista was a total failure; the general strike in Havana that started literally with a bang ended with a whimper as local leaders went into hiding, shrilly blaming one another for the fiasco. That was early April. Last week reports sifting through heavy censorship indicated that Castro had made a notable comeback. Despite the rebels' continued grandstanding and disorganization, the swelling tide of popular discontent had carried them back to a position of strength.

Cuban Rebel Fronts July 1958 Rebel Fronts summer 58: Fidel (Sierra Maestra) & Raul Castro (Sierra Cristal),
Oriente province, Cuba. (illustration: LIFE July 21 1958)

based on Manuel Márquez-Sterling's Cuba 1952-1959 and
Cuba 1952-1959 Interactive Timeline

No comments: