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Fulgencio Batista the Creole


Fulgencio Batista



Fulgencio Batista

president of Cuba 1952 The First and Only Creole/Mulatto President of Cuba



Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar

(January 16, 1901 – August 6, 1973)

was a Cuban labor union leader, general and president.

Born to a partially Afro-Cuban family, he is the only mulatto leader in modern Cuban history.[2] Coming from a humble background, he made a living as a laborer in the cane fields, docks, railroads.[3] He was a tailor, mechanic, charcoal vender, fruit peddler, and finally an Army stenographer.[3] When the Cuban military brought an end to Gerardo Machado's hated rule in 1933,[3][4] Batista served as leader from 1933 to 1940.

Batista, endorsed by the Communist Party of Cuba, won free elections in 1940 and served a four year term as President of Cuba.[4][5] During this time, Batista carried out major social reforms.[5] He launched economic regulations and pro-union policies.[6] Later, after staging a coup in 1952, Batista ruled as the nation's dictator.[7] He was backed by labor unions[8], communists[9], and first the U.S.[10], but The United States imposed an embargo on the government and recalled their ambassador, weakening the government's mandate furthermore.[11] He became increasingly unpopular among the public. His support was limited to communists (PSP) and even communists began to pull their long-term support to Batista in mid-1958.[9] Labor unions backed Batista until the very end.[12] He was ousted on January 1, 1959, by guerrillas led by Fidel Castro and the 26th of July Movement.[10] Batista, reviled as a "corrupt tyrant", fled the island in the early morning hours as rebel forces entered Havana.[13]

He authored six books.

Early life

Fulgencio was born in Banes, Cuba in 1901 to Belisario Batista Palermo[14] and Carmela Zaldívar González, Cubans who fought for independence from Spain. His mother named him Rubén and gave him her last name, Zaldívar. His father did not want to register him as a Batista. In the registration records of the Banes courthouse he was legally Rubén Zaldívar until 1939, when, as Fulgencio Batista, he became a presidential candidate, but it was discovered that this name did not exist. It's alleged that a judge was bribed 15,000 Cuban pesos (about the same amount in U.S. dollars at the time) to fix the discrepancy.[15]

Of very humble origins, Batista began working at a very early age. A self-educated man, he attended night school and is said[who?] to have been a voracious reader. Batista was considered socially a mulatto (mixed African and European ancestry), although other sources state that he had Chinese ancestry as well. He bought a ticket to Havana and joined the army in 1921.[16] After promotion to Sergeant, Batista became the union leader of Cuba's soldiers.


Free people of color
The Louisiana Creole

Free people of color



Fulgencio Batista

President of Cuba
In office
10 October 1940 – 10 October 1944
Preceded by
Succeeded by
In office
10 March 1952 – 1 January 1959
Preceded by
Succeeded by

January 16, 1901(1901-01-16)
Banes, Cuba
August 6, 1973 (aged 72)
Guadalmina, Spain[1]
Political party
Mirta Caridad Batista Godinez
Elisa Aleida Batista Godinez
Fulgencio Rubén Batista Godinez
Jorge Batista Fernández
Roberto Francisco Batista Fernández
Carlos Batista Fernández


Just over a year after Batista's second coup, a small group of revolutionaries attacked the Moncada Barracks in Santiago on July 26, 1953. The rebellion was easily crushed and many of its leaders killed, while others were jailed. Among the jailed was Fidel Castro, a young attorney who had run for parliament in the cancelled 1952 elections.

Batista held an election in 1954, which the opposition boycotted. Just before the election his opponent, Grau, withdrew from the campaign, charging that his supporters had been terrorized. Thus, Batista was elected president with 45.1% of votes. Grau received only 6.8%.

The distinguished Colonel Cosme de la Torriente, a surviving veteran of the Cuban War of Independence, emerged in late 1955 to offer compromise. A series of meetings led by de la Torriente became known as "El Diálogo Cívico" (The Civic Dialogue). Writes Hugh Thomas: "This Diálogo Cívico represented what turned out to be the last hope for Cuban middle-class democracy, but Batista was far too strong and entrenched in his position to make any concessions."[citation needed]

By late 1955, student riots and anti-Batista demonstrations had become frequent. These were dealt with in the violent manner his military police had come to represent. Due to its continued opposition to Batista, the University of Havana was temporarily closed on November 30, 1956.[citation needed] (It would not reopen until early 1959, after a revolutionary victory.) Echeverría was killed by police after a radio broadcast and attempted attack on the Presidential Palace on March 13, 1957.

In April 1956, Batista appointed Barquín as General and Chief of the Army.[20] However, Barquín's Conspiración de los Puros had already progressed too far. On April 6, 1956, Barquín led a coup by hundreds of career officers but was frustrated by Lieutenant Ríos Morejón, who betrayed the plan. Barquín was sentenced to solitary confinement for 8 years on the Isle of Pines, while many officers were sentenced to maximum penalties.[20]

These measures broke the backbone of the Cuban army that would no longer be able to sustain a fight against Castro and his guerrilla army. [20][22]



Faced with Batista's military ineptness and growing unpopularity, the United States began to seek an alternative to both Batista and to Castro.[citation needed] In March 1958, President Eisenhower, disillusioned with Batista's performance[citation needed], suggested he hold elections. Batista did, but the people showed their dissatisfaction with his government by refusing to vote. Over 75 percent of the voters in the capital Havana boycotted the polls. In some areas, such as Santiago, it was as high as 98 percent. The election placed another Batista puppet, Andrés Rivero, in the president's chair but Batista knew that losing the support of the U.S. government meant his days in power were numbered.

On December 11, 1958, U.S. Ambassador Earl Smith visited Batista at his lavish hacienda, "Kuquines". There he informed him that the United States could no longer support his regime. Batista asked if he could go to his mansion in Daytona Beach. The ambassador declined his request and suggested instead that he seek exile in Spain.

On December 31, 1958, Batista raised a New Year's Eve toast to his cabinet members and senior military officers and wished them "hasta la vista" (an event memorably dramatized by Francis Ford Coppola in his film The Godfather Part II). After seven years of building Havana's tourism industry by inviting gangsters to construct casinos and run nightclubs, helping to fund their enterprises and taking a large chunk of the proceeds for himself, Batista knew his presidency was over.

On January 1, 1959, after formally resigning his position in Cuba's government and going through what historian Hugh Thomas describes as "a charade of handing over power" to his representatives, remaining family and closest associates, Batista boarded a plane at 3 a.m. at Camp Colombia with one hundred and eighty of his supporters and flew to Ciudad Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. Critics have accused Batista and his supporters of taking as much as $700 million U.S. dollars in fine art and cash with them as they fled into exile.[23][24]

As news of the fall of Batista's government spread through Havana, The New York Times described the scene as one of jubilant crowds pouring into the streets and automobile horns honking. The black and red flag of the 26th of July Movement waved on automobiles and buildings. The atmosphere was chaotic. Wild-eyed young men and women erupted from their homes into the streets. Students poured out of the campuses. They cheered, they whistled, they danced in the streets when they heard that Batista had fled the country. People surged toward downtown Havana. They carried Cuban flags and sang the national anthem. Car caravans bedecked with flags, the horns blowing, inched through the marchers.

On January 8, 1959, Castro and his army rolled victoriously into Havana and received a euphoric welcome.[25]

Personal life and death

He was married to Elisa Godinez-Gómez (1905-?) on July 10, 1926 and they had three children, Mirta Caridad (April 1927), Elisa Aleida (1933), and Fulgencio Rubén Batista Godinez (1933-2007 [26]). He later married Marta Fernandez Miranda de Batista (1920-2006) and they had two sons, Jorge and Roberto Francisco Batista Fernández.

Marta Fernandez Miranda de Batista, Batista's widow, died on October 2, 2006.[23] Roberto Batista, her son, says that she died at her West Palm Beach home. [24] She had suffered from Alzheimer's disease[24] and had a heart attack on September 8, 2006.[citation needed] Batista was buried with her husband in San Isidro Cemetery in Madrid after a mass in West Palm Beach.

Raoul G. Cantero, III, grandson of Fulgencio Batista, who was born in Spain and naturalized in the United States, graduated from Harvard Law School. He was a Justice on the Florida Supreme Court

Maria-Teresa, the present Grand Duchess of Luxembourg (born 1956, is a grand-niece of Feulgencio Batista (her maiden name was Maria-Teresa Mestre y Batista-Falla).

Batista later moved to Madeira, then Estoril, outside Lisbon, Portugal, where he lived and wrote books the rest of his life. He was also the Chairman of a Spanish life insurance company which invested in property and mortgages on the Spanish Riviera. He died of a heart attack




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