|Born||Banes, Cuba, January 16, 1901|
|Died||Guadalmina, Spain, August 6, 1973|
- "But, rest assured, we will tolerate no guerrillas in the casinos or the swimming pools."
- ―Fulgencio Batista[src]
Fulgencio Batista was the dictator of Cuba in the 1950s.
Batista's corrupt and repressive regime systematically profited from the exploitation of Cuba's commercial interests, by negotiating lucrative relationships with the American Mafia, who controlled the drug, gambling, and prostitution rackets in Havana, and with large multinational American corporations that had invested considerable amounts of money into Cuba.
Relationship with organized crimeEdit
Batista established lasting relationships with organized crime, notably with American mobsters Hyman Roth, Carlo Tramonti and Michael Corleone. Batista and Roth formed a friendship and business relationship that flourished for a decade.
Batista encouraged large-scale gambling in Havana, announcing in 1955 that Cuba would grant a gaming license to anyone who invested US$1 million in a hotel or $200,000 in a new nightclub – and that the government would provide matching public funds for construction, a 10-year exemption from taxes, and impose no duties on imports of equipment and furnishings for new hotels. From each casino the government was to receive $250,000 for the license and a percentage of the profits. The policy waived the background checks that were required for casino operations in the United States and opened the door for casino investors with illegally obtained sources of funding. Cuban contractors with the right connections made windfalls by importing, duty-free, more materials than were needed for new hotels and selling the surplus to others. It was rumored that besides the $250,000 to obtain a license an additional fee was sometimes required under the table.
Roth became a prominent figure in Cuba's gambling operations, and exerted influence over Batista's casino policies. As the new hotels, nightclubs, and casinos opened Batista wasted no time collecting his share of the profits. Roth was said to have personally contributed millions of dollars per year to Batista's Swiss bank accounts.
At a gathering where Michael Corleone was present, UTT Corporation presented Batista with a gold plated telephone in gratitude for the telephone rate increases that Batista had implemented at the urging of the U.S. government.
In 1958, Batista's regime was fighting against the guerrilla forces of Fidel Castro, who managed to get Batista to resign on New Year's Eve, crippling Roth's power structure. There were various CIA funded attempts to return him to power, notably through the assassination of Castro by Carmine Marino, but they all failed.
|President of Cuba|