Those armed actions were carried out by a group of youth from the Revolutionary Directorate, armed wing of the University Students Federation.
The aim of the attackers was to disconcert the regime with the execution dictator Fulgencio Batista while Fidel Castro was leading the liberation guerrilla war in eastern Cuba.
Then, the weapons of the Palace garrison would be delivered to the people, who would be summoned by the national radio station ‘Radio Reloj’ and thus, attack other sites of the city such as the main police barrack to occupy its arsenal.
According to historical notes, part of the mission was to attack other police stations and barracks to dominate the capital.
The Revolutionary Directorate set out to carry out an action that beheaded Batista’s tyranny, which had launched a very unpopular bloody campaign of repression.
The president of that organization, Jose Antonio Echeverria, prepared the action, following the strategy of hitting the top.
After taking over ‘Radio Reloj’ and reading the message, José Antonio Echeverria went to the University of Havana.
The car he was traveling was intercepted by a police vehicle near the university campus and the student leader was gunned down when he was only 24 years old.
Fidel Castro described the attack on the Presidential Palace as ‘a well-organized operation, an act of extraordinary boldness and courage, in which there were also some imponderable failures.’
Despite the objective was not achieved, the March 13, 1957 students action has a great historical importance, because it shocked the popular conscience and increased the repudiation to Batista’s tyrannical regime.