On July 8, 1957, an article by New York Times reporter R. Hart Phillips disclosed plans by Fidel Castro and other leaders opposed to President Fulgencio Batista to form a revolutionary Cuban regime. The “Cuban Government Under Arms”, a name recalling Carlos Manuel de Cepedes’s 1868 struggle against Spanish rule, would be a coalition headed by Raul Chibas, brother of the late Eduardo Chibas, founder of the Partido Ortodoxo, of which Castro had been an early member. The party had hoped to take control of Cuba’s corrupt government in 1952 elections, but Batista’s coup usurped power before the elections could be held. At that time, the opposition splintered into various groups. Announcement of the formation of a coalition government was welcome news to citizens hopeful for an end to Batista’s unpopular reign.
At this time, Castro and his forces were still in the mountains of Oriente, Cuba’s easternmost province, near Santiago de Cuba, which was a center of support for Castro’s M-26-7 . Several opposition leaders, sons of earlier figures in Cuba’s resistance to Batista, were reported to have joined him there. Formation of the new government was said to be dependent on an insurgent attack to secure Santiago. Batista had been pouring troops into Santiago de Cuba for weeks. The New York Times reporter believed “it is apparent that some dramatic move is in the works”.
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