In his book The Strategic Victory: Along Every Road in the Sierra (see ad on page 9), Fidel Castro describes how the “embryo” of a new state was established in the Sierra Maestra mountains during the final months of the revolutionary war that culminated in the overthrow of the U.S.-backed Fulgencio Batista dictatorship on Jan. 1, 1959.
In September 1958, writes Castro, the Civil Administration of Free Territory was established under the leadership of Faustino Pérez.
The revolutionary administration, Castro adds, “eventually grew to eight departments responsible for agrarian and peasant questions, education, health care and social welfare, justice, propaganda, industries, public works, and supplies and finances. Their work included medical care, schooling, literacy, and developing infrastructures for the production of food. They also created no fewer than 35 peasant cooperatives.”
This revolutionary power, concludes Castro, “was similar to the institutions established by Raúl [Castro] in the Second Front. It raised to a higher level relations between the Rebel Army and the peasants that had existed from the beginning of the struggle in the mountains. It was the embryo of the new state that would emerge after the revolutionary triumph, a state faithful to the democratic and popular spirit of the revolution.”