Senator from Daytona
Batista was coming back. The tough ex-sergeant who bossed Cuba through clever years of "disciplined democracy" will run for Senator in the June 1 general elections. In Havana last week, the news caused hardly a ripple.
When Strong Man Fulgencio Batista's candidate lost the presidency to holloweyed Ramón Grau San Martín in 1944 's free elections, Batista promptly and discreetly took a plane for Miami. Since then, backed by a jumbo-sized bank roll, he has sat out a pleasant exile in some of the New World's toniest suites.
With his wife and three children; Batista now lives quietly in Daytona Beach--next door to 83-year-old automotive pioneer Ransom Eli Olds. Every morning, he is up at 7 for a brisk row in the nine-foot boat he keeps in the Halifax River. He plays tennis at the smart Daytona Beach Bath and Tennis Club, goes to the movies two or three times a week and occasionally speaks at Rotary Club luncheons.
Every fortnight, Batista drives off to Palm Beach, Orlando or Fort Pierce for secret meetings with aides who bring the political word from Cuba and take back his instructions. Only when the Cuban government discovers an arms cache and shouts "Batista plot" are Floridians reminded that their guest is dynamite.
Batista's decision to run for Senator (from Las Villas province) is a hard-headed deal. His name will help the Liberal-Democrat opposition in a doubtful district. For Batista, it is a foot in the Cuban political door. Because most Cubans have forgotten his brutal police methods, remember only that meat & butter were cheaper in his time, Batista is likely to win in a walk without so much as leaving Daytona Beach.