Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:57am EDT
(Reuters) - President Raul Castro gives a speech this week at the birthplace of the Cuban revolution, and his words will be watched for news on his next steps in reforming its socialist economy.
Following are some facts about July 26, 1953 attack that started the Cuban revolution against U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.
* Fidel Castro, a 26-year-old lawyer angry after Batista took over the Cuban presidency in a 1952 coup, led about 150 rebels on an attack on the Moncada army barracks in eastern city of Santiago.
* The rebels attacked at dawn after a big festival the night before in Santiago, believing the soldiers would be hung over.
* One of their goals was to take over a radio transmitter in the garrison so they could broadcast their message of insurrection against Batista
* The assault was a fiasco with several dozen rebels killed in the fighting. Fidel Castro escaped, but was soon captured. In a subsequent trial, he gave a famous, "History will absolve me," speech, but was convicted and went to jail until his early release in 1955.
* The attack, though a failure, gave the name to Castro's 26th of July Movement and is considered the first fight in the revolution that ended with Castro taking power in 1959.
(Writing by Jeff Franks in Havana, Editing by Michael Christie and Kieran Murray)