Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011

Fulgencio Batista

Fulgencio Batista ruled Cuba twice — once as a rather effective leader, then later as a brutal dictator. Batista first led Cuba in 1933 and strengthened his rule through patronage by sponsoring a number of public-works programs and cultivating the army and civil service. In 1944, after his term expired, he left Cuba and traveled abroad. Eight years later, he led a bloodless coup in 1952 and forced his way back into power. He then set out to control virtually all sectors of the country and its economy — the press, the university, Congress — while enriching himself. He held illegitimate elections twice before he was finally ousted by the dramatic Marxist rebellion led by Fidel Castro and his rebel forces in 1959.