A History of Organized Labor in Cuba

By Robert J. Alexander | Go to book overview

5
Labor Under the
Second Batista Dictatorship

On March 10, 1952, General Fulgencio Batista broke the Cuban “constitutional rhythm” that he himself had established in 1940, by overthrowing the elected government of President Carlos Prío Socarras less than three months before an election scheduled to choose Prio’s successor.

There were three candidates running for president until March 10, Carlos Hevia, nominee of the Auténtico Party; Roberto Agramonte of the dissident Auténtico Party, the Ortodoxos; and General Batista, supported by his own Partido Acciόn Unitaria. Polls indicated that it was a very close race between Hevia and Agramonte but were unanimous in showing Fulgencio Batista at third.1

The new dictatorship established by Batista doomed Cuban political democracy for more than a generation. Its hallmarks were tyranny, violence, and vast corruption. It proved disastrous to the Cuban labor movement.


BATISTA’S COUP

The coup of March 10, 1952, began in the early hours of the morning, when General (and Senator) Batista arrived at the country’s largest military base, Camp Columbia, on the outskirts of Havana and, in connivance with some of the officers there, seized control of the base. Troops under his orders then moved quickly to take over important centers in the Havana area, including the principal broadcasting stations of radio and television and the headquarters of the Confederaciόn de Trabajadores de Cuba, the Palacio de los Trabajadores.

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