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Batista en Washington: 1938

Batista en Washington: 1938

November 10, 1938. "Fulgencio Batista, the Cuban Army Sergeant who has risen to the heights of Caribbean Dictator, arrived in Washington today. This is the first time the Cuban Dictator has set foot outside his native land in 37 years. Gen. Malin Craig, the Army Chief of Staff, is shown with him as they pass the Capitol in a Cadillac." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.


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The more I look at this picture, the more I love it. If somebody put a scene like this in a movie, it would be panned for exaggeration. I mean, you got Batista in the big-boy hat, the G-men in the fedoras on the running boards, the magnificent Caddy, all set against the Capitol building ... it's too perfectly '30s Warner Bros. Fantastic!

JFK quoted

"I believe that there is no country in the world including any and all the countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country’s policies during the Batista regime. I approved the proclamation which Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption. I will even go further: to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States. Now we shall have to pay for those sins. In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear."

20 years to go

In 1958, when I was in college, there was a big push to get students to sign petitions supporting Castro. I made the decision never to sign a petition unless I was certain of the proposal. So, I have never signed one. Batista was gone in 1959.

Good Neighbor in a Funny Hat

Franklin Roosevelt's Good Neighbor Policy strengthened America's ties to Latin America by supporting "strong leaders" and providing military training and economic aid to the region at a time when the winds of war were brisk in Europe. Batista's 1938 visit pictured here was at the invitation of Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles. In Washington, Batista met with Secretary of State Cordell Hull and Roosevelt. Batista pledged to adhere to democratic principles, attended Armistice Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, and wore a funny hat.

V-16 Show Boat

Wow. 1938 Cadillac Series 90 Convertible Sedan with body by Fleetwood and the division's 16-cylinder flathead engine. A rare car that would be worth a fortune today.

Presidential Cadillac

It's a Monster! The Presidential limousine is a 1938 Cadillac with a V-16 motor and four-door convertible body by Fleetwood.

Car on the right is a 1935 Cadillac. Appears to have G-Men riding on the running boards. The vehicle behind the Cadillac is a 1930 Buick sedan.

El Hombre

Would you be surprised to discover "the man" worked in haberdashery as a tailor? Did he design that wicked hat too? Somehow I wish this was a movie still and the pies were coming next.

Beware of big hats

What is it about dictators, fascists & communist soldiers, and others of their ilk that they tend to favor HUGE hats?

The future of Cuba

It is going to be grand. Our man running the country. It'll be like our little island country club. What could go wrong?

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