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Insurrection and Revolution: Armed Struggle in Cuba, 1952-1959

Gladys Marel García-Pérez, with a Foreword by Louis Pérez
Insurrection and Revolution: Armed Struggle in Cuba, 1952-1959
ISBN: 978-1-55587-611-1
ISBN: 978-1-62637-136-1
1998/138 pages/LC: 97-49997
Studies in Cuban History

"García-Pérez's excellent study ... is a gem of microhistoriography, using and reproducing a wealth of detail from evidently painstaking research in local archives (private and court records, for example), in the local press (often neglected by historians) and garnered from innumerable interviews with remaining participants of both the national and the local struggles.... In the process, the study brings to life a complex and vibrant collective experience.... it is precisely this sort of meticulous and local focus which is now clearly needed."—Antoni Kapcia, Latin American Studies

"Insurrection and Revolution may be the first "revisionist" interpretation of the Revolution to come out of Cuba by an author living in Cuba.... The book revives an important discussion.... it is also pathbreaking in its use of interviews of local and regional leaders as well as judicial and police archives at the provincial level, all indispensable sources for reappraisals of the Revolution.... García-Pérez raises important questions that stimulate further research."—Juan A. Giusti-Cordero, New West Indian Guide


Based on previously untapped primary sources, this book examines the social forces that were released and shaped by the Cuban revolutionary war and, not least, the actions of real men and women attempting to forge a new future.

García's focus on Matanzas province—an area highly representative of Cuba in demographics, racial patterns, economy, and education—allows a discussion of larger issues about the origins, character, and evolution of the armed struggle against Batista. Garcia argues that the resistance to Batista developed in response principally to local grievances that affected a wide cross-section of the social strata; Fidel Castro's July 26 Movement was able to forge a national revolution with such vitality and appeal precisely because it addressed those local issues.

Among the archival records drawn on in the book are the testimonies and depositions of hundreds of men and women captured and tried by the Batista government. García also interviewed many of the leaders, combatants, laborers, and peasants who participated in various phases of the insurgency. The resulting study illustrates the development of methods of resistance, the evolution of varieties of rebellion, and how disparate social groupings emerged into a single revolutionary movement that swept away not only an unpopular government, but also an entire social system.


Gladys Marel García-Pérez is on the research staff of the Institute of History and the Center for Marti Studies, both in Havana. Previously she was with the Institute of Social Sciences at the Cuban Academy of Science. Her previous books include Cuando las edades llegaron a estar de pie, Historia del movimiento obrero cardenense, and (as coauthor) Atlas historico-biografico Jose Marti.


  • Foreword—Louis A. Pérez, Jr.
  • The Military Coup and Its Aftermath.
  • A Generation on the March.
  • The Political Economy of the Batista Government.
  • The 26 July Movement: Spontaneous Mobilization, Resistance, and Insurrection.
  • Armed Struggle, Workers, and Guerrilla War.
  • Toward January 1, 1959.