68 years after a triumphant release by popular support.

After a tenacious popular demand for the release of the participants in the 26 July actions, the doors of the Model Prison on the then Isle of Pines were finally opened on May 15th, 1955 to make way for Fidel Castro and the first released Moncadistas.

The previous media campaigns, which included a movement of Cuban mothers and the Committee of Relatives for Amnesty of Political Prisoners, proved very effective and after almost two years of confinement the 30 sanctioned youths began to be released in three groups at intervals of more than 30 minutes.



A snapshot, which survives as visual proof of that triumphant exit, shows the historic moment when the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, together with his brother Raúl, Juan Almeida, Armando Mestre and other comrades, descended the steps of the prison, waving to family members, journalists and photographers with their arms raised high in the air.

Other emotions would follow and would be captured in images for history: Fidel’s emotional embrace of Melba and Haydée; the interview with the press where, among other things, the leader of the Revolution ratified his decision to continue the struggle.


Also, the demonstrations of sympathy received by the Moncadistas from Nueva Gerona and during the train journey that took them from Batabanó to Havana, and the jubilant reception given by the crowd to Fidel at dawn on 16 May.

The perseverance of the people prevailed, the same people who from that day on would welcome their leader definitively and forever.

Convinced that in Cuba at that time there was no other way forward than to take up the battle begun in ’68 and ’95, Fidel left for Mexico on 7 July 1955. A year and a half later he returned to Cuba on the yacht Granma to fulfil his commitments and be consistent with his revolutionary ideals.

Images taken from Cubadebate

Written by  Yovana Baró Álvarez.

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