Batista Cuba

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He began with humble roots. In fact, his early life was filled with years of farming, and attending a Quaker style school. He was not always the dictator who led the island of Cuba into communism and crime. Fulgencio Batista, who would later rise to supreme power in Cuba, started out much like any other middle to lower class child. However, after a series of events that lead to his leadership, he soon found a way to take total control. Under his government Cuba saw an extreme rise in crime, a connection to the United States mob, and a serious issue of poverty among citizens while leaders only became richer.

His rise, and subsequent fall, can be separated into four distinct stages, and each will be discussed in depth below

Batista Cuba: The Military Power

When he first joined the Cuban army in 1921, he was little more than a grunt, starting out as a standard soldier. However, he played a large role in the Sergeants’ Revolt, which led to an overthrow of the current president. After this, he took on the role of Chief of Staff, where he could successfully control the new president from behind the scenes.

It was through his rise in the military that he was ultimately able to take control of the country, but during this time, he was not the elected president. Instead, he used his persuasive power to influence who was voted leader so that he could continue to control them. This was the beginning of his climb to the top.

Batista Cuba

Batista Cuba: The Presidency

In what seemed to be a strange version of democracy, Batista soon became President of Cuba. It was strange in that, while there was no violence or bloodshed, it seemed well known that the general population was coerced into believing Batista was the answer to their prayers. The exact method at which the new president used to get his position may be a little unclear, but the results were obvious. He had taken control of the island.

He was only President from the years of 1940-1944, and after his term ended, he lived for a while in the United States. However, he would soon return to his homeland, stage a coup, and set himself as dictator of Cuba.

Batista Cuba: The Dictatorship

When Batista took control in 1952, he certainly had a big impact on the economy of Cuba. It was during this time that he formed ties with the United States mafia, welcoming them to Cuba and even offering incentives for people to open large gambling casinos. Depending largely on the mob to provide monetary gain, Batista continued to take bribes and welcome the business. During this time, he only became richer while the Cuban economy continued to suffer.

Prostitution also became prolific since brothels and prostitutes could easily seek support and protection from the Cuban government via bribery. The number of prostitutes was estimated at 14,000.

During his dictatorship, it became obvious that the economy was in a downward spiral. The poor people only suffered more, and the leaders, specifically the dictator himself, became extremely rich. Living conditions were third world for the common Cuban citizen, and crime was on the rise. It is no surprise that a group of revolutionaries would soon begin to find a way to overthrow the regime. The Cuban Revolution was born.

Christ statue Havana The Christ of Havana
Large sculpture carved out of Carrara marble situated in the Havana suburb Casablanca, commissioned by Batista's wife Marta Fernandez and erected during the Batista Cuba regime.

Bastista Cuba: The Fall

In 1955, Batista made a mistake that would soon cost him his control. He released a group of revolutionaries who had tried to stage an uprising. One of the revolutionaries was a lawyer named Fidel Castro. During this year, however, unrest had become prominent, and more uprisings were held, all of which were quashed with brute force from Batista and his army. Quite a few people were killed and others were brutalized.

Soon thereafter, revolt took full force when Fidel Castro along with his brother Raul Castro and another revolutionary named Che Guevara staged an uprising that led to two events:
Batista was overthrown and he had to flee the country, taking a fortune in looted cash, gold and art, and Castro took control of Cuba. While the island went from one dictatorship to another, Batista found himself exiled in Spain. Before he died in 1973, Cuba's former dictator wrote and published a number of books.

The island that seems to have suffered one violent event after the other. After being the center of the Spanish American war, the country found itself in the tight control of a communist dictator. Fulgencio Batista, who went from farmer to sergeant to president to dictator only condoned the rise in crime. During his reign, he welcomed the support of the United States mafia with names like Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano He also allowed a rise in crime, especially prostitution. He became wealthy to the detriment of the Cuban people, and he ruled with a brutal hand. The only thing that stopped Batista’s control was a small group of revolutionaries who would soon take over and set up their own form of communist dictatorship.

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