by Trevor Rayne

* Cuba's revolution has its origins in the struggle against Spanish colonialism, which intensified in the second half of the 19th century. An uprising in 1895 sealed the fate of Spanish colonialism, but victory was snatched from the people by a US expeditionary force in 1898.

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by Richard Roques

* On December 2 1956, Fidel Castro and 81 other combatants, including Che Guevara, landed in Cuba to begin the revolutionary war against the US-backed regime of Fulgencio Batista. Over the next two years, the Rebel Army conducted an ever-widening guerrilla struggle that won increasing popular support in the countryside and the cities, culminating in the revolution's victory on January 1, 1959.

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by Hannah Caller

Jose Marti is the national hero of Cuba, his revolutionary writings studied by every child in the country. In yet another attempt to insult the Cuban Revolution, the US radio and TV channels specially created to broadcast subversive and hostile propaganda into Cuba from Florida are called Radio and TV Marti.

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by Greg Scott

* On 23 June 1783, the second US president, John Adams, expressed what was to be the US's attitude towards Cuba until the end of the 19th century. He said the island was a natural extension of the North American continent, and that the continuation of the United States made its annexation necessary. The best way to achieve that, he reckoned, was to let Cuba to remain under Spanish rule until it could be seized directly, because independence could never to be allowed.

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by Cat Wiener, June 1996

* In 1492, Columbus persuaded the Spanish court – which desperately needed hard currency to fight new wars of conquest in Naples – to fund his project to reach the important spice islands of the Indies and the fabled wealth of China and Japan – by sailing over the western ocean.

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