Jan. 22 (Wednesday)

The Forgotten Cuban Dictator
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 Fulgencio  Batista y Zaldívar
Batista in 1938
Harris and Ewing Collection, Library of Congress
Full Name: Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar
Born: Jan. 16, 1901 in Banes, Cuba
Died: Aug. 6, 1973 in Marbela, Spain

Fulgencio Batista served served as Cuba’s elected president (1940-1944) and a dictator (1952-1959) until his regime was toppled by the Cuban Revolution.

After finishing his term as president, Batista lived in the U.S. for a while, returning to Cuba to run for president in 1952. Facing certain defeat, he seized power in a military coup. Batista then suspended the 1940 Constitution and revoked most political liberties as he aligned himself with the wealthiest landowners

Batista’s regime operated in partnership with large multinational American corporations, along with the American mafia, which controlled drugs, gambling and prostitution in Havana. As angry citizens began to stage protests and demonstrations, Batista responded with media censorship, violence, torture and public executions.

at the Battle of Santa Clara on New Years Day 1959. Batista fled Cuba with his personal fortune for the Dominican Republic, led by fellow dictator and military ally, Rafael Trujillo. He then found political asylum in Portugal, where he lived until he died of a heart attack in Spain.