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#323 - Fidel Castro

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Historically significant 26th of July Movement collection

Exceptional archive of rare material from the Cuban Revolution, comprising a DS signed by Fidel Castro and Manuel Urrutia Lleo; a flag, banner, and sleeve patch for Castro's revolutionary 26th of July Movement; an unsigned photo of Castro; and several booklets and other related ephemera from the period. More detailed descriptions of each piece follow:

DS in Spanish, signed by Fidel Castro as prime minister and by Manuel Urrutia Lleo as president, two pages, 8.75 x 13, July 14, 1959. An untranslated document outlining budgets for specific hospitals. Signed at the conclusion by Castro, Urrutia, and another official, and also initialed in the left margin of the first page by all three. The document retains its affixed seal and ribbon, as well as the binding string. In very good condition, with scattered soiling, small edge tears, and cracks to the seal. Urrutia, who was the first president installed after Castro’s overthrow of the government, was forced to resign a month after signing this document after several disputes with Castro and under pressure from the sugar workers.

The cloth material from the 26th of July Movement is all in the traditional red and black colors and includes: a large 71 x 35 flag with white patch lettering sewn across the center, "M-26-7," and holes on the side so it could be flown; a 34 x 16.5 banner of similar design with simple lettering in the center, "26," and grommets with strings on the edges for hanging; an armband with string ties and stenciled white lettering, "26"; and a small ribbon with hand-painted lettering, "M 26 J," pinned to a souvenir card identifying it as a "Bandera de la Libertad" to be preserved as a historical relic of the revolution. The name of the movement was derived from a failed attack on the Moncada Barracks on July 26, 1953, and reorganized in 1955 by Castro and a group of exiled revolutionaries, including his brother Raul and Camilo Cienfuegos, to establish a disciplined guerrilla force to overthrow the Batista regime.

Other ephemera includes a silver gelatin 8 x 10 photo of Castro in his military uniform with a 26th of July Movement patch and armband seen on his sleeve, taken circa 1957 while in the Sierra Maestra mountains; three different notes of guerrilla revolutionary currency in denominations of one and two pesos, no date but known issues of 1957–58; a booklet of two-peso ration coupons; a worn metal plate embossed with the rallying cry "Patria o Muerte [Homeland or Death]"; a tiny portrait of Camilo Cienfuegos stapled to a small paper flag; two 1940 publications of the Cuban constitution, one of which is leather-bound; and a contemporary printing of a speech given by Castro on March 2, 1959, during a labor rally in Havana. In overall very good condition, with foxing and soiling to several items. Accompanied by a modern 2004 printing of the Cuban constitution. A fabulous assemblage of seldom-seen items from revolutionary-era Cuba. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.

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