In response to the victory by Che Guevara at the Battle of Santa Clara, the U.S.-backed President Fulgencio Batista fled Cuba in the early morning of 1 January 1959. After Batista's fall, Raúl had the task of overseeing trials and execution of scores (between 30 and 70) of soldiers loyal to deposed president Batista convicted of war crimes.
Along with ensuring "revolutionary justice", the other key early platform of Guevara was establishing agrarian land reform. Almost immediately after the success of the revolution, on January 27, 1959, Guevara made one of his most significant speeches where he talked about "the social ideas of the rebel army".
The presidency fell to Castro's chosen candidate, the lawyer Manuel Urrutia Lleó, while members of the MR-26-7 took control of most positions in the cabinet. On 16 February 1959, Castro himself took on the role of Prime Minister. Dismissing the need for elections, Castro proclaimed the new administration an example of direct democracy, in which the Cuban populace could assemble en masse at demonstrations and express their democratic will to him personally. Critics instead condemned the new regime as un-democratic.
On June 12, 1959, Castro sent Guevara out on a three-month tour of 14 mostly Bandung Pact countries (Morocco, Sudan, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Yugoslavia, Greece) and the cities of Singapore and Hong Kong.