The leader of Cuba prior to Fidel Castro. He dominated Cuban politics for several decades.

Fulgencio Batista was born in Banes in 1901. He held power in Cuba, first as President, later as Dictator, for two separate non-continuous terms. The preceding president, Ramón Grau, lasted only a year before Batista forced his resignation in 1934. Batista was then the Army's Chief of Staff, and very powerful in Cuba. His influence remained very strong over the years. In 1940, he was elected President of Cuba, gaining approximately 60% of the votes. In 1944, the hand-picked successor to Batista lost the election to Ramón Grau. Batista tolerated this temporary fall from power until 1952. Batista staged a military coup in 1952, overthrowing Carlos Prío and becoming Dictator of Cuba. After that point, Batista abandoned the Cuban constitution by allowing only staged elections in which his victory would be guaranteed.

His government was on good terms with the United States. Large American corporations grew rich off Cuba's resources, while the people of Cuba remained very poor. Batista offered neither health care nor education to his country's people. The bulk of the people lived in great poverty while Batista and his friends lived a wealthy lifestyle. Many people opposed Batista, most importantly Fidel Castro and his organization, M-26-7. They were training in Mexico until 1956, when they returned to Cuba aboard the yacht Granma. Batista's massive police and spy force had been watching Castro closely, and Batista had even granted Castro amnesty to get out of prison a few years before.

The large, well-equipped army of Batista could not put down the popular revolt. Batista fled the country in 1959, stealing millions of dollars. He left behind an army of 40,000 men, Castro had only a few thousand. Batista stayed in Spain until his death in 1973.

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