Born in Banes in 1901. He held power in Cuba, first as President, later as Dictator, for two separate non-continuous terms. The preceding president, Ramón Grau, lasted only a year before Batista forced his resignation in 1934. Batista was then the Army's Chief of Staff, and very powerful in Cuba. His influence remained very strong over the years. In 1940, he was elected President of Cuba, gaining approximately 60% of the votes. In 1944, the hand-picked successor to Batista lost the election to Ramón Grau.
Batista tolerated this temporary fall from power until 1952. Batista staged a military coup in 1952, overthrowing Carlos Prío and becoming Dictator of Cuba. After that point, Batista abandoned the Cuban constitution by allowing only staged elections in which his victory would be guaranteed. His government was on good terms with the United States.