HAVANA, Jan. 1, 1959 (UPI) - Fidel Castro's rebels today claimed new gains in the heavy battle for the key city of Santa Clara. They said the government building was in their hands. Santa Clara, in central Cuba, is the capital of the province with the same name. If it falls, the rebels will have cut Cuba in half.
They would control just about all the eastern section. President Fulgencio Batista would continue to control the west.
The rebel broadcasts were heard in Havana after Batista's forces claimed they had rammed an armored column, spearheaded by a half dozen armored cars, into Santa Clara with reinforcements for the garrison besieged in the four-day-old battle.
The army said there were hundreds of rebel casualties in the fighting.
The rebels claimed they had blocked the government's convoy.