Want to support this channel and help us preserve old films? Visit Visit our website “Castro v. Batista“ is one of the outstanding episodes of the David L. Wolper produced series “Men in Crisis“. It recounts the Cuban Revolution and shows the nation of Cuba during the time period of Batista’s reign as dictator. The country was cast into turmoil as Fidel Castro rose to power. The film opens with images of the island discovered by Christopher Columbus on October 28th, 1492 (:14). This led to Spanish domination which all but wiped out the native population (:22). Warfare broke out at the turn of the century as American and Cuban soldiers fought against Spanish rule (:29). Scenes from May of 1902 show marching in the streets as Cuba was declared free (:38). Fulgencio Batista is pictured in 1952 (1:02). Fidel Castro is also pictured who rose in power at the same time (1:11). The Lopez Serrano apartment building is seen in newsreel footage (2:00) as a military coup erupted to overthrow the government of Gerardo Machado. Officials surrender on the roof (2:38) as troops and Marines rush to seize the offices of a hotel (2:42). Batista became the new leader at the age of 32 (3:04). Dr. Ramon Gran San Martin acted as Batista’s interpreter (3:46). Sugar cane is pictured as it was considered ruler of the land being Cuba’s most valuable crop (5:07). Julio Figureroa speaks on the sugar cane industry and the extent of it’s regulations (5:23). These strict restrictions often led to protest which led to strong government repression (6:47). This led to the belief that Cuba needed a strong leader often referred to as a Caudillo. Batista ruled through military control for seven years (7:14). By 1940 he had backing by a hodge podge collection of political parties (7:24) and was able to take the presidency (7:40). He set up a free election in 1949, which he lost (8:28). Ramon Gran San Martin was elected as his successor (9:06). Batista is pictured in retirement with his family (9:20) until 1952 as officers whom were loyal to Batista overthrew the government. Cuba’s Oriente province follows which was the birthplace of both Batista; to a peasant family, and Castro; to a wealthy land owning family (10:17). Castro was considered a troubled youth (10:30) who eventually led an attack on Moncada headquarters (11:33) in 1953. Scenes from the assault follow (11:39). Police are pictured with captured rebels (11:59). Castro was also detained at the age of 27 (12:05). Elaine Gomez (12:15) speaks on Castro’s appearance in court over the incidence. The Isle of Pines (13:08) is filmed full of over 2,000 political enemies of Batista. On May 15th, 1955 he granted a general political amnesty (13:40). Castro is pictured upon his release (13:49). Fidel then traveled to US cities (14:14) uniting Cuban exiles against Batista (14:20). Rebels are pictured in the mountains of Mexico at a rented estate; Rancho La Rosa with weapons (14:36). 80 trained guerilla fighters (15:30) were to face 30,000 of Batista’s men. Batisto Airport follows (15:49). Castro’s army is pictured in the mountains of the Sierra Maestra (16:27) in December of 1956. Some of the 12 survivors of the original 80 guerilla fighters are seen upon their return trip (17:17). Castro sought to recruit a new army at Pico Turquino (17:40). On August 21st 1958, Castro ordered troops on a 309 mile march to Santa Clara to capture the town (18:11). Rebels reached the outskirts of Santa Clara in December (19:44). Fighting broke out in the capital (20:01). Police arrive as Castro’s success led to student uprisings (20:07) lasting for a week. Batista collected his hundreds of millions and fled on January 1st 1958 (20:55) with his private plane. Castro became the new dictator (21:13). Elaine (24:04) and Julio (24:33) discuss what they would do if they were able to return to Cuba. This film was a David Wolper Production (25:40) and it was distributed by Films Incorporated (25:52). We encourage viewers to add comments and, especially, to provide additional information about our videos by adding a comment! See something interesting? Tell people what it is and what they can see by writing something for example: “01:00:12:00 -- President Roosevelt is seen meeting with Winston Churchill at the Quebec Conference.“ This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit
Back to Top