The move backfired: the nimble rebels carried out guerrilla attacks on the soldiers, many of whom switched sides or deserted.

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In May of 1955 the Batista government, bending to international pressure to reform, released many political prisoners, including those who had taken part in the Moncada assault.

Fidel and Raul Castro went to Mexico to regroup and plan the next step in the revolution.

Fidel and Raul Castro escaped but were captured later.

The Castros and surviving rebels were put on public trial.

He made long speeches and the government belatedly tried to shut him up by claiming he was too ill to attend his own trial.

His most famous quote from the trial was “History will absolve me.” He was sentenced to fifteen years in prison but had become a nationally recognized figure and a hero to many poor Cubans.In the final days of 1958, ragged rebels began the process of driving out forces loyal to Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.By New Year’s Day, the nation was theirs, and Fidel Castro, Ché Guevara, Raúl Castro, Camilo Cienfuegos and their companions rode triumphantly into Havana and history.Batista authorized some of his subordinates to deal with Castro and the rebels.The people of Cuba took to the streets, joyfully greeting the rebels.In the cities, rebel groups loosely allied with Castro carried out hit-and-run attacks and nearly succeeded in assassinating Batista.