Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar (1901-1973) was a Cuban dictator whose regime was famous for its corruption, its support by rich Cubans, and its strong ties to the United States.
Fidel Castro Ruz (1926, ) was the revolutionary who overthrew him on behalf of Cuba’s poor and downtrodden. But only one of the two was born poor, and it wasn’t Castro.
Batista was born to a lower-class rural family of mixed Spanish and African descent. He rose through the army ranks and helped overthrow the dictator Gerardo Machado in 1933.
From 1933 to 1958, as head of the army, Batista dominated Cuban politics. From 1952, he governed as an outright dictator. He repressed opponents ruthlessly and freely pocketed public money. Under his rule, the gulf between rich and poor grew.
Unlike Batista, Castro was the son of a wealthy plantation owner. Of Spanish descent, he received a law degree from the University of Havana.
Instead of being faithful to his social class, Castro was faithful to his ideals. He wanted to free Cuba from U.S. domination and relieve the sufferings of the poor.
To do so, he believed he had to overthrow Batista.