Fidel Castro is sentenced to 15 years in jail

Castro led a failed attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba in 1953; and in the trial following his capture made his famous "history will absolve me" speech, spelling out why his attempt to overthrow Batista was justified based on legal arguments surrounding Batista's "unconstitutional" postponement of elections. The trial became famous after Castro declared "condemn me if you will, it does not matter; history will absolve me".

Lucky not to be summarily executed, Castro was sentenced to 15 years in prison, being released thereafter having served only two years due to an amnesty being granted to political prisoners by Batista.

Castro was tried in the fall of 1953 and sentenced to up to fifteen years in prison. During his trial Castro delivered his famous defense speech History Will Absolve Me,[28] upholding his rebellious actions and boldly declaring his political views:

I warn you, I am just beginning! If there is in your hearts a vestige of love for your country, love for humanity, love for justice, listen carefully... I know that the regime will try to suppress the truth by all possible means; I know that there will be a conspiracy to bury me in oblivion. But my voice will not be stifled – it will rise from my breast even when I feel most alone, and my heart will give it all the fire that callous cowards deny it... Condemn me. It does not matter. History will absolve me.

While he was being held at the prison for political activists on Isla de Pinos, he continued to plot Batista's overthrow, planning upon release to reorganize and train in Mexico.

During his trial in September of 1953, Castro made a speech justifying his actions, but he also added political elements calling for land reform, civil liberties, and rural improvements. The speech later appeared in a pamphlet that circulated secretly. Castro lost his plea and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. In 1953, while in jail, Mirta Castro was granted a divorce.