OK, then, let's start. We will all be, broadly speaking, followers of Castro, but he will not be interfering. We won't use any assumed identities, only our forum names.
Here's a map of the provinces:
From left to right, the provinces are Pinar del Río, La Habana, Matanzas, Las Villas, Camagüey, and Oriente. The large island on the left side, the Isle of Pines, is not part of any province. Power is concentrated in Havana; Oriente is the most backwards province, and the one where the rebels operated in the 1950s.
A brief synopsis of the political history of Cuba:
Cuba received its independence from the United States in 1902. Tomás Estrada, a Protestant residing in upstate New York, was elected its first President. His Moderate Party rigged the ballot in 1906, and the United States intervened, occupying the island for two years. In 1908, José Miguel Gómez, a Liberal, was elected. I consider his presidency to be the best in Cuban history. Nonetheless, he lost the 1912 elections to Mario Menocal, a Conservative. Menocal was elected in 1916 amidst some controversy. In 1920, Alfredo Zayas was elected under the banner of the Partido Popular
, essentially the old Moderates rebranded. Gerardo Machado was elected under the Liberal banner in 1924, and was originally quite popular. He pledged to serve only one term, but this promise was somewhat undermined when he amended the Constitution in 1928 to give himself six more years. In 1933, a revolution took place, starting at the University of Havana, which toppled Machado's dictatorial government. One of the heroes of the revolution was a young officer by the name of Fulgencio Batista. However, the man who found himself at the head of the Pentarchy that took power was Ramón Grau, who shortly thereafter became President. In 1936, Miguel Mariano Gómez, son of José Miguel Gómez, was elected President, but for reasons that escape me at this moment, he was quickly impeached and replaced by his Vice President, Laredo Brú. In 1940, Fulgencio Batista was elected President (with Communist support), defeating Grau. His term was in general a success, and when he did not run for reelection in 1944, it came as a shock to many that Grau and his Authentic Revolutionary Party (the Auténticos
) won the wartime elections. Grau was a very poor President, and he did not run in 1948, with his candidate being Carlos Prío, who won. Prío faced opposition from the Orthodox Revolutionary Party (the Ortodoxos
), led by Eduardo Chibás, who committed suicide during a radio broadcast in 1951. Fidel Castro was a member of the Ortodoxos
. In 1952, prior to the elections, Batista siezed power in a coup. He held elections in 1954 and 1958, but each time his only opposition was Grau. On July 26, 1953, Castro and his men staged an attack on the Moncada Brracks in Santiago, which failed and sent them to prison. They were later released, and staged a ridiculously botched invasion in the yacht Granma
, but nonetheless managed to find a stronghold in the mountains of Oriente. In the last days of 1958, they emerged form the mountains, and took Havana on January 1, 1959.
Might someone explain to me what the M-22-7 is?
Typo, it's M-26-7: Movimiento 26 de Julio
. Castro's movement, prior to its becoming the Communist Party of Cuba.