How soon these critics forget that the United States is "Pro-Dictator" as long as the dictator is their dictator. In Cuba it was Batista who won favor with the US.
In 1952, Batista ran for presidency. All the indications showed that he would lose and some of the polls put the former Cuban leader last. Such a humiliation would have ended any chance of attaining his former power. To avoid such humiliation, Batista put himself at the head of another military coup. On March 10th1952 this proved to be successful and the US quickly recognised both his positioning office and his government on March 27th.
Batista now held the self-appointed rank of General. Once in power Batista suspended the island’s constitution and established a one-party dictatorship with him as the leader.
Batista’s rule was oppressive. The rich on the island did well as long as they ensured that they ‘rewarded’ Batista. However, little if anything was done for the poor. Batista allowed Cuba to become a playground for America’s rich. Just fifty miles from Florida, rich Americans would fly out to Havana to gamble and to enjoy the good life. Nothing could have been in more stark contrast to the lives of poverty led by the Cuban poor.
On July 26th 1953, a small group opposed to Batista attacked a barrack’s in Santiago. The attack, led by Fidel Castro, was a failure but Batista responded with his infamous ’10 for 1’ order – that the local military commander had to shoot ten civilians for every one soldier killed. In the event, 59 people were shot – though as 19 soldiers had been killed, the final total could have reached 190.
Batista wanted everything to return to normal as quickly as possible as he feared that any perceived social uprising would put off those who wanted to invest vast sums of US dollars in Cuba. It is said that he took 30% of the cash raised in the gambling hotels built in Havana – run by the Mafia – while his wife took 10%. As the cash that flowed through these hotels was so great, the 60% left – if these figures were correct – would have still represented a massive profit for those involved.
In May 1955, Batista felt so strongly entrenched in his position that he released from prison Castro and other rebels who had survived the July 1953 barracks attack in Santiago.
From December 1956, Batista faced a growing challenge from a left-wing movement led by Fidel Castro. Student demonstrations in Havana were brutally dealt with by police and student leaders were murdered by men who were outside of the law. However, Batista did face one huge problem. The number of poor Cubans who had not benefited from the vast sums of money that had been invested and spent in Cuba far outweighed those who had benefited. These people were ideal targets for the likes of Castro and ChéGuevara who had gone to Cuba to assist Castro.
The sheer size of the island gave Castro and his men the opportunity to hide from Batista’s men. They copied the tactics of Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communists. Castro’s followers helped the poor of the island by helping out on their very rudimentary farms, by establishing the most basic of schools for the poor and by giving what medical help they could. This ‘hearts and minds’ policy was very successful and the support for the Communists spread outside of the Sierra Maestra Mountains and nearer and nearer to Batista’s power base in Havana.
Batista lost the support of the Cuban Army and on December 31st 1958 he had to flee Cuba for the Dominican Republic with his reputation in ruins.
The United States government had supported the American-friendly Batista regime since it came to power in 1952. After Fidel Castro, together with a handful of supporters that included the professional revolutionary Che Guevara, landed in Cuba to unseat Batista in December 1956, the U.S. continued to support Batista. Suspicious of what they believed to be Castro’s leftist ideology and fearful that his ultimate goals might include attacks on U.S. investments and properties in Cuba, American officials were nearly unanimous in opposing his revolutionary movement.
Cuban support for Castro’s revolution, however, spread and grew in the late 1950s, partially due to his personal charisma and nationalistic rhetoric, but also because of the increasingly rampant corruption, brutality, and inefficiency within the Batista government. This reality forced U.S. policymakers to slowly withdraw their support from Batista and begin a search in Cuba for an alternative to both the dictator and Castro.
American efforts to find a “middle road” between Batista and Castro ultimately failed. On January 1, 1959, Batista and a number of his supporters fled Cuba. Tens of thousands of Cubans (and thousands of Cuban-Americans in the United States) joyously celebrated the end of the dictator’s regime. Castro’s supporters moved quickly to establish their power. Judge Manuel Urrutia was named as provisional president. Castro and his band of guerrilla fighters triumphantly entered Havana on January 7.
In the years that followed, the U.S. attitude toward the new revolutionary government would move from cautiously suspicious to downright hostile. As the Castro government moved toward a closer relationship with the Soviet Union, and Castro declared himself to be a Marxist-Leninist, relations between the U.S. and Cuba collapsed into mutual enmity, which continued only somewhat abated through the following decades.
Cuban dictator Batista falls from power - Jan 01, 1959