A weekly news magazine, Revista Carteles, reports that twenty members of the Batista government own numbered Swiss bank accounts, each with deposits of more than $1 million.
American firms make profits of $77 million from their Cuban investments, while employing little more than 1 percent of the country's population.
By the late 1950’s, American capital control:
90% of Cuba’s mines
80% of its public utilities
50% of its railways
40% of its sugar production
25% of its bank deposits
1958Early in the year Batista receives $1,000,000 in military aid from the U.S. All of Batista's arms, planes tanks, ships, and military supplies come from the U.S., and his army is trained by a joint mission of the three branches of the U.S. armed forces.
February 24. On the 63rd anniversary of the beginning of Martí's War of Independence, Radio Rebelde begins transmission from "the free territory of Cuba."
March 1. Raúl Castro and Juan Almeida leave the Sierra Maestra with a column of 67 men to open a second front in the mountains north of Santiago, the Sierra Cristal.
In March, 45 civic institutions sign an open letter supporting the July-26-Movement, including the national organizations of lawyers, architects, public accountants, dentists, electrical engineers, social workers, professors, and veterinarians.
April 9. A national strikes fails due to timing errors and lack of popular support. This is a serious setback for the rebels.
May. Batista launches a vast offensive against the guerillas in the Sierra Maestra mountains.
May 25. In the Sierra Maestra mountains, the Rebel Army holds the first peasant assembly attended by 350. Among the topics discussed is a plan for agrarian reform.
June 29. In Santo Domingo, on the Sierra Maestra mountains, the rebels achieve a serious victory with many captured prisoners and supplies. (Prisoners are later released.)
July 11-21. The Battle of Jigüe lasts about ten days and marks a turning point in the war.
July 20. From the Sierra Maestra, Radio Rebelde broadcasts the text of the Caracas Pact, signed by Castro and others. It calls for armed insurrection to establish a provisional government and an end for U.S. support of Batista.
September 4. In the Sierra Maestra, the Mariana Grajales Platoon, consisting of women fighters, is formed.
September 18. The Rebel Army defeats Batista's forces at Yara.
September 27/28. The Mariana Grajales Platoon participates in the battle to destroy Batista's military garrison in Cerro Pelado, Oriente.
October 9. The Rebel Army creates a new front to operate in the Oriente province. This Fourth Front is commanded by Delio Gómez Ochoa.
October 10. Law no. 3 of the Sierra Maestra is issued by the Rebel Army. It states that tenant farmers and sharecroppers are entitled to the land they work.
October 26-27. The Rebel Army captures the army garrison at Güinía de Miranda.
October 31. U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his wife dine with the Cuban Ambassador at the Cuban Embassy in Washington to commemorate Teddy Roosevelt (who refused to allow the Cuban liberating army from entering Santiago in 1898).
November 2. The Rebel Army captures the army garrison at Alto Songo in Oriente province.
November 3. In a mock general election, Batista's presidential candidate, Andrés Rivero Agüero, is declared the winner.
December 9. The Rebel Army takes Baire and San Luis, in Oriente province.
December 15-18. Che Guevara's column captures the city of Fomento.
December 19. The Rebel Army achieves victories at Jiguaní, Caimanera and Mayajigua (in Northern Las Villas).
December 22-25. The rebels capture the towns of Guayos, Cabaiguán, Placetas, Manicaragua, Cumanayagua, Camarones, Cruces, Lajas, Sagua de Tánamo, Puerto Padre and Sancti Spíritus.
December 27-28. The rebels capture Caibarién, Remedios and Palma Soriano.
December 29. Che Guevara takes the city of Santa Clara and captures over 1,000 prisoners.
Terrence Cannon writes:
"The U.S. did not send in the marines for one basic reason: it did not fear the Revolution. It was inconceivable to the U.S. policy makers that a revolution in Cuba could turn out badly for them. After all, U.S. companies owned the country."
It is estimated that by the end of 1958, 11,500 Cuban women earn their living as prostitutes.
Women comprise 14.8% of the Cuban work force.
January 1. Revolutionary forces take control of Havana. At about 2 a.m., Batista, his family, and closest associates, board a plane at Camp Columbia,and leave the island. Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos lead the rebels into Havana.
January 2. Manuel Urrutia is installed as President and Jose Mira Cardona as Prime Minister.
January 7. Castro arrives in Havana. The U.S. government officially recognizes the new Cuban government.
January 10. Earl Smith, U.S. Ambassador to Cuba, resigns. He is replaced by Philip Bonsal.
February 7. Cuba's Constitution of 1940 is reinstated (it was suspended by General Batista after his coup in 1952).
February 16. Fidel Castro, Commander of the Rebel Army, replaces Miró Cardonas as Prime Minister of the Revolutionary Government.
March 3. The Cuban government nationalizes the Cuban Telephone Compnay, an affiliate of ITT, and reduces telephone rates.
March 26. A plot to assassinate Fidel Castro is uncovered. It involves pro-Batista exiles Rolando Masferrer and Ernesto de la Fe.
April 15-26. Castro visits the U.S. as a guest of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
May 17. Castro signs Agrarian Reform Act, which expropriates over 1,000 acres of farmlands and forbids foreign land ownership.
June. In Cairo, Che Guevara makes the first official contact with the Soviet Union.
July 16. President Urrutia resigns, and Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado becomes Cuba's 19th president.
July 26. Castro returns to his post of Prime Minister.
July. American journalist Walter Lippmann writes:
"For the thing we should never do in dealing with revolutionary countries, in which the world abounds, is to push them behind an iron curtain raised by ourselves. On the contrary, even when they have been seduced and subverted and are drawn across the line, the right thing to do is to keep the way open for their return."
October 15. Raúl Castro becomes Defense Minister (the title is later changed to Minister of the Armed Forces).
October 19. Huber Matos, a leading figure in the revolutionary war, resigns his post as military commander of Camagüey province, along with 14 officers, because of the "rising influence of communism" in the revolution. He is arrested by Camilo Cienfuegos for treason.
October 25. Camilo Cienfuego's plane mysteriously disappears during a night flight.
December 15. Huber Matos is sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiracy and treason.
Terrence Canon on racism in Cuba
From: "Cuba, A Short History," Edited by Leslie Bethell. "Of the twenty-one ministers appointed in January 1959, twelve had resigned or had been ousted by the end of the year. Four more would go out in 1960 as the revolution moved toward a Marxist-Leninist political system."