The red triangle stood for strength and constancy, but it may also have reflected Masonic influences. The white star in the triangle stood for independence. López carried this flag in battles at Cárdenas (1850) and Playitas (1851). Although the battles were unsuccessful, these were the first times the flag was raised in Cuba. After the United States seized Cuba from Spain during the Spanish-American War, the Stars and Stripes flew from January 1, 1899, until May 20, 1902, when the Cuban national flag was hoisted as a symbol of independence and sovereignty. It has been used ever since, even after the communist revolution led by Fidel Castro was successful in seizing control of the country. Like the previous dictator, Fulgencio Batista, Castro made use of a party flag in all public activities.