By autumn of 1958, Washington was determined to see Batista out of office. However, the real problem for the US was not getting rid of Batista, but frustrating the Cuban insurrection.
Batista or a military junta could now be maintained only through direct military intervention on the part of the US. The regular army of Cuba was incapable of resisting and, in fact, was reaching out to the rebels.
While the US continued its efforts to ease Batista out of office, government reversals spurred spontaneous uprisings all over Cuba.
Vast quantities of arms and equipment fell under the control of civilians — artillery, tanks, and small weapons of every type.
It is important to note, however, that most of the weapons on record as having been supplied to the Batista regime were not of a type that could be easily used against the population.
Major weapons supplies were limited in contrast with those supplied to other client states during this timeframe, and many related solely to the transport of cargo.
On the other hand, small arms are less easily traced and many observers state that such weapons were smuggled from Miami to the rebels. It is possible that they contributed substantially to Batista’s effort.
At the same time, the US arms suspension and other military setbacks provided some benefit for rebel forces, despite the activities of US military advisers who continued to assist the Cuban Air Force in bombing Castro’s forces in the countryside.
In fact, it was quite clear that Batista’s military was weakening.
By December, no fewer than half a dozen conspiracies were brewing in the armed forces, and the army, especially, was becoming a focal point of political intrigue in the cities.
On New Year’s Eve 1958, Camp Columbia in Havana became a center of the intrigue.
The capital seemed quiet, although the night before the urban underground had destroyed a large munition depot at Cojimar, blowing up some of the army’s last rockets as well as air force bombs received from England shortly before.
On this evening, in what amounted to a betrayal of the military, Batista decided to leave the country.
The “March 10″ Tank Division was ordered to the airport to protect his escape. Subsequently, the army disintegrated.
Batista’s ‘escape’ surprised the urban underground in Havana. It had been assumed that he would put up a last-minute struggle, and the protestors were unprepared to keep law and order in a victorious situation. Nevertheless, before the end of the first day of 1959, the underground had established control of the capital’s streets, police precincts, and all official buildings. Patrols had been posted near Navy headquarters in Old Havana; snipers had been placed in the tallest buildings around the university and arms were gathered at various underground headquarters.