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Hyperlinks Batista Castro / Notes http://books.google.ca/books?

id=83soUfPWEEC&pg=PA173&dq=batista's+closest+friend&hl=en&ei=L2XgTMPKEdLsngeF56nmDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct= result&resnum=3&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAg#v=twopage&q&f=false Cuba 1952-1959: The True Story of Castro's Rise to Power By Manuel Mrquez-Sterling See Batistats final days "Little Man-Meyer Lansky and the Gangster Life" by R. Lacey Transnational Crime in the Americas - Page 65 Mobsters: A Who's Who of America's Most Notorious Criminals The Cuban insurrection, 1952-1959 - By Ramn L. Bonachea, Marta San Martn - footnotes on chapter 14 Batista leaves -------- p 21 http://books.google.ca/books? id=LvxnabFG6dEC&pg=PA405&dq=december+31+batista&hl=en&ei=hNbeTO6DIYaXnAeywLWRDw&sa= X&oi=book_result&ct=book-preview-link&resnum=1&ved=0CC8QuwUwAA#v=twopage&q=december %2031%20batista&f=true http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/sergeant-batista.htm A Sergeant Named Batista (about his personality by Edmund A. Chester New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1954. 276 pages. (cvhapter 33) But Batista had another idea. He devoted most of his speech to stories about the dogs he has on his farm. He told his listeners that he had a large Saint Bernard dog and a very small Pekingese. He said the Pekingese was an illtempered little fellow who went around snarling and nipping at the Saint Bernard's legs most of the time. On the other hand, he said, the Saint Bernard had a very tolerant disposition. He would put up with the nipping and snarling of the little Pekingese for days and days, without showing the slightest bit of anger. But once in a while, the President said, the Saint Bernard would decide the little dog's bluff should be called. On those occasions, the Saint Bernard had only to slap the little dog with his big paw and the Pekingese would scream and run forcover. For several days, at least, the Pekingese kept out of sight of the Saint Bernard and peace reigned in the Batista kennels. Chapter 33

The Cuban revolution:


a critical perspective Publisher: Black Rose Books (Aug 1 1976) Montreal ny Sam Dolgoff

http://books.google.ca/books? id=u0VqAAAAMAAJ&q=Cantillo+cuba&dq=Cantillo+cuba&hl=en&ei=ukjgTOGpGY6Tnwe_u7yqD

w&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=book-thumbnail&resnum=3&ved=0CDkQ6wEwAg

http://www.cigaraficionado.com/webfeatures/show/id/The-Batista-Lansky-Alliance_7197

The Batista-Lansky Alliance


Matthew Reiss

Published in: June 1, 2001 Published May/June 2001


FEATURES The Batista-Lansky Alliance How the mafia and a Cuban dictator built Havana's casinos By Matthew Reiss It was December 31, 1958. Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista raised a New Year's Eve toast to his cabinet members and senior military officers and wished them hasta la vista. After seven years of building Havana's tourism industry by inviting gangsters such as Meyer Lansky to construct casinos, helping to fund their enterprises and taking a large chunk of the proceeds for himself, Batista knew his presidency was over. His plundering had weakened Cuba's treasury and demoralized the army. He filled three cargo planes with all he could carry and was on his way to the Dominican Republic before the sun came up on 1959. Nine days later, Fidel Castro's guerrillas took the capital and installed what would become the longestlasting communist government in the Western Hemisphere. But while Castro could close the casinos, arrest the gangsters and deport or imprison Batista's henchmen, he could not bury the skyscrapers that had drained the wealth of the island. Castro inherited from Batista a Havana of overt poverty and ostentatious wealth, where the haves of the world's richest nations had come to exploit the have-nots; where statues of Lenin and Marx would be dwarfed by glass and stone monuments to the Mob; where the nation's architectural landmarks would be a constant reminder of the days when criminals were in charge and the Mafia roamed free. But until that last day of 1958, the only revolution that mattered to Mafia financier Lansky involved a roulette wheel. During the Batista years, Cuba was a place where a crooked man could make an honest living. After a half century on the wrong side of the law in the United States, the celebrated gangster was legit. America's high rollers and celebrities were living large in the casino of Lansky's luxury hotel, the Riviera, and the drinks were on the house. As a kid in Manhattan's Lower East Side ghetto in the early part of the century, Meyer Lansky learned how to cheat, bribe and split fees with other cheats. He ran into Charlie Lucky Luciano, as legend has it, in a street fight, and Lansky's tenacity convinced the Sicilian Luciano that this Jewish kid had possibilities. Together with another local Italian, Frank Costello, and a young tough named Benny "Bugsy" Siegel, they created a powerful network of numbers runners and bookies throughout the city. With Luciano at the helm and Lansky at the register, the combination soon expanded nationwide. When Prohibition took effect in 1919, Lansky's and Luciano's gambling alliances helped provide contacts with illicit liquor distributors across the country. The pair soon controlled a healthy share of the import and transportation of bootleg liquor. After 14 years of windfall profits, many bootleggers were put out of business by the market forces of competition when Prohibition was repealed in 1933. Lansky's financial success had already made him a target of law enforcement. When New York started getting too hot, Lansky looked for other places to take his gambling operations. In the mid-1930s, a Cuban army sergeant named Fulgencio Batista took advantage of political chaos in the former Spanish colony and formed his own government. At the time, the island republic was foundering, as was its gambling industry. Years before, Havana's nightlife had attracted wealthy entertainers from the United States, such as Sarah Bernhardt and Enrico Caruso. But Cuba's gaming industry had become mired in cheating and corruption by the 1930s. So, in 1939, Batista recruited a New England racetrack owner named Lou Smith to revive Havana's Oriental Park track and Meyer Lansky to clean up the casinos. Soon, gamblers who were familiar with the professionalism of Lansky's stateside operations were eagerly making the flight to Havana, where they could be separated from their earnings in style. Within months, Cuba was back on the map as a gambling destination. Lansky's success did not escape Batista. The pair developed a close relationship, which is best chronicled in Robert Lacey's biography of Lansky, Little Man. The resurgence of gambling and the return of rich tourists helped foster a wave of confidence in the island's economy. Batista scheduled an election in 1940 and won handily, only to have his hand-picked

candidate defeated in 1944 by Dr. Ramn Grau San Martn of the opposition Autentico party. Under Grau, gambling was frowned upon. Lansky returned to the States to take care of his other investments. (He did, though, attend a Mafia summit in Havana in 1946 when the leaders decided Bugsy Siegel's very brief future.) Grau was followed by Autentico's Dr. Carlos Pro Socarrs in 1948. Both Grau's and Pro's terms were tainted by corruption. Two months before the 1952 presidential elections, Batista snatched control of the government that he had relinquished, and quickly put gambling back on track. Once again, the dictator contacted Lansky, but this time he gave him an annual salary of $25,000 to serve as an unofficial gambling minister. The high rollers followed Lansky to his new project, the Montmartre Club. While the casino was a hit, every night Lansky's customers would cash in their chips and hustle off to catch the floor show in the outdoor gardens of the Tropicana or at the Capri's Red Room nightclub, which was controlled by Tampa-based Mob boss Santo Trafficante Jr. Both nightclubs offered larger, more comfortable settings. To compete, Lansky persuaded Batista to give him a piece of Cuba's national treasure, the Hotel Nacional, built in the 1930s. The Nacional was where the cream of Cuban society went to wet their whistles. Under Lansky's impetus, a wing of the Nacional's grand entrance hall was refurbished to include a bar, a restaurant, a showroom and a casino. Lansky put his brother, Jake, in charge of the room, which by the spring of 1957 was bringing in as much cash as the biggest casinos in Las Vegas. In 1955, the Batista government passed a law granting a gaming license to anyone who invested $1 million in a hotel or $200,000 in a new nightclub. And that meant anyone. Unlike the procedure for acquiring gaming licenses in Vegas, this provision exempted venture capitalists from background checks. As long as they made the required investment, they were provided with public matching funds for construction, a 10-year tax exemption and duty-free importation of equipment and furnishings. Although Batista's ostensible aim was to create new jobs, he gutted the labor laws to allow casino owners to bring their American croupiers. Under the Batista-Lansky administration, Havana was ripe for foreign investment, especially for the glut of illegal earnings that Lansky and his cronies had accumulated from bootlegging, numbers and other rackets. The FBI was developing new ways of tracking down dirty money; to gangsters with loads of tainted cash, Havana looked like a stable offshore depository. The climate was so attractive that Lansky decided to build his own hotel, the Riviera, on the Malecn, Havana's wide boulevard along the seawall. In 1957 it rose over the horizon like a beacon, advertising the city as a refuge from the law. "In the '50s there was this byzantine atmosphere," recalls Cuban migr Arturo Quintana. "Every connection, every kind of deal. Everybody was so sure about everything." Quintana recalls meeting Lansky during that time. "You wouldn't imagine he was any kind of gangster," he says. "On the contrary, he looked more like a professor. Short, with glasses. Smiling." In that lawless atmosphere, Lansky became a respected businessman -- and not without reason. He rid the casinos of cardsharps and cheats, offering legit games to attract the high rollers. His hotel had the best food on the island and it was the only one with central air conditioning. The Riviera and neighboring hotels "played a role in the '50s and later on by concentrating a lot of life in certain spots in the city," says Havana architect Mario Cuyola. "With the people going in and out, it radiated to the surrounding areas, making the city more livable." Havana became the destination of choice for thousands of Americans, the famous and tourists alike. Tony Bennet sang at the San Souci; Ginger Rogers opened the Copa; Nat King Cole played the Tropicana. Frank Sinatra and John Wayne were regulars at the Hotel Nacional. During the same period, however, the people of Cuba suffered. Government corruption was endemic, while in Havana's streets prostitution and poverty were rampant. In the countryside, the peasants were suffering as well; Batista poured the nation's wealth into the capital. He gave the gangsters millions in government funds for hotel construction and spent millions more reclaiming valuable waterfront real estate from the sea. Construction of Lansky's Riviera went for about $18 million, while the Hotel Continental cost $20 million. The $14 million Capri, which housed Trafficante's Red Room nightclub, was the only hotel that did not receive any money from the government. But Batista's plan for building a Monte Carlo in the Caribbean was not complete until the Hilton Hotel's logo was hoisted above the coast. Conrad Hilton had stayed away from the island for years, concerned about possible run-ins with Cuba's powerful unions. Under Batista, however, even this risk seemed manageable, as the $23 million cost of constructing 650 rooms of luxury accommodations was financed by the pension funds of the Cuban restaurant workers' union. Finally, the chain agreed to operate Cuba's biggest hotel. A lot of cigars were lit in celebration of the economic fortunes of those who were lucky enough to have a piece of the Cuban capital. As Batista's regime grew more decadent, Cuba became increasingly divided. A young Fidel Castro took advantage of the growing gap between rich and poor to advance his own agenda. On July 26, 1953, he and

a small band of guerrillas attacked the Moncada and Bayamo military barracks in Oriente Province, at the eastern end of the island, giving a name to Castro's revolutionary July 26 Movement. Batista captured and tried him, but it gave Castro the opportunity to register an impassioned sound bite to the world. "Sentence me," he declared. "No matter. History will absolve me." Ordered to prison for 15 years, Fidel served less than two. Batista ran a rigged election in 1954 in an attempt to legitimize his government, and six months later he granted amnesty to political prisoners. Castro took advantage of his freedom by founding a guerrilla training camp 20 miles outside of Mexico City. In late 1956, he embarked with an expeditionary force of 81 men in an ill-equipped boat, the Granma, that he had acquired in Mexico. They sailed to Cuba and landed at Los Colorados beach, on the southwestern coast of Oriente Province. Castro's forces were attacked by the Cuban military, but he and 20 men survived by escaping into the wooded mountains of the Sierra Maestra. Batista dismissed the action as a local problem without major significance and went back to his game of canasta, according to Cuban author Nestor Carbonell. Havana's prosperity appeared to have lulled Batista to sleep. Despite a growing gap between the urban rich and the rural poor, per capita income in Cuba by 1958 was higher than Japan's, nearly equal to Italy's and third highest in Latin America. Batista's own fortune was estimated to be as high as $300 million. The July 26 Movement regularly conducted strikes against Cuban military and economic targets, and New York Times correspondent Herb Matthews, who traveled with Castro in the Sierra Maestra, romanticized the rebel's war. Soon Castro gained support in the States. In March 1958, amid rising pro-Castro propaganda, the U.S. government ordered an embargo on arms to Batista. The writing on the wall did not escape the dictator. In an act of desperation, he sent one of his most feared officers after Castro with a force of 500 men. But even this effort backfired. Many troops pulled up lame with self-inflicted injuries. Others sold the rebels their guns. Castro captured the army's communications trailer and opened a number of fronts that went unchallenged. President Dwight Eisenhower relayed a message to Batista that he was welcome to return to his Daytona Beach, Florida, estate. On that New Year's Eve of 1958, while Batista was preparing to flee to the Dominican Republic and then on to Florida (where he died in exile in 1973), Meyer Lansky was celebrating the $3 million he made in the first year of operations at his 440-room, $18 million palace. At that time, Lansky "was very mellow," recalls Quintana. He could see no reason to be alarmed. "Intelligence was very deficient in those days," says Quintana, who is now an attorney on Long Island in New York. "And everyone underestimated Castro. The only one who believed in him was Fidel himself. People believed in mathematics; in logistical and military power. No one could dream of the development of a revolution." In a pirate radio broadcast from the mountains, Castro stated that he preferred executing gangsters to deporting them. Now his bearded battalions were less than 500 miles away, marching to Havana. Ch Guevara would be in charge of public safety by the end of the week. In a lifetime that spanned Prohibition, the Depression, the Second World War and the nuclear age, Meyer Lansky evolved from a Lower East Side schtarker (strong arm) to the business partner of a head of state. In that time, he had become a symbol of everything that Castro's revolution sought to overturn. On January 8, 1959, Castro marched into Havana and took over, setting up shop in the Hilton. Lansky had fled the day before. When Castro nationalized the island's hotel-casinos in October 1960 and outlawed gambling, Lansky lost an estimated $7 million. After a lifetime of careful bets, this founding member of organized crime retired a loser. He settled in Miami Beach, where he died in 1983. "When Castro came to power," says Wayne Smith, the former chief of the U.S. interests section in Havana, "the image of Havana was as the center of graft, corruption, vice and the Mafia. All the money in the country was siphoned off by Havana." After he took control, Castro announced that resources would be shifted to benefit those who had produced the wealth. Since that time, says Smith, "Havana has become quite run-down." Since 1959, the Castro government has concentrated its efforts on building rural schools and clinics. For decades, the revolutionary government shunned tourism, Smith says. "To them, tourism was identified with the past, the Mafia, with Americans coming down and pissing on the statues of their heroes." Although Cuba's economic difficulties have again opened the country to foreign tourists, gambling and casinos remain illegal. Says Smith, "They're very careful not to let the Mafia back in."

Matthew Reiss is a freelance writer.

Celia Snchez: the legend of Cuba's revolutionary heart By Richard Haney pages 93 - 94

The Cuban insurrection

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Above is from appendix 2 p343 Below is page 407 Notes

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- Also page 401 - footnotes on chapter 13 Smith El cuarto piso p. 158 Violation of conducting free elections to us ambassador Frank E. Smith last big mistake (also cited in hava nocturene summary p 4.) Free election meant election of Marquez Sterling in attempt to neutralize the insurrection with batista out of the country

Also Mario Lazo American policy cy failures P 168, noticed (P 400 footnotes of chapter 13 - p400 401)

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---BATISTA refused help from Dominican Republic would not deal with dictators)

High ranking officers not in touch with regular army wanted to fight rebels they claim

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Batista claims that See Note 41 General Tabernilla SR On Batista Last day : Bastista sudden departure left with no money Betrayal not agree with Batista - >See Batista Cuba Betrayed (pp 138-40) bi==ok - Respuesta pp 144-5 by Batissta;s false claims
the Dominican Republic and then on to Florida (where he died in exile in 1973)

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Departure P 311 same book Missing page then page 313

1. Transnational Crime in the Americas - Page 65 2. Mobsters: A Who's Who of America's Most Notorious Criminals

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Cantillo drives batista to airport and Magistrate piedar claims office of president Meeting / discussion --P315 Surprise at Batista leaving

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See p 319 Castros response to the news

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Other pages about the leaving of Batista Chapter 14 p 302 .

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------------------------------------------------------------Lansky in cuba - Transnational Crime in the Americas - By Tom J. Farer - http://books.google.ca/books? id=xgZUDbcrV9EC&pg=PA65&dq=december+31+lansky&hl=en&ei=qiDgTIm6M8aNnQe0v4ifDw&sa=X&oi=bo ok_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=december%2031%20lansky&f=false

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Above - P64

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Meyer Lansky: The Shadowy Exploits of New York's Master Manipulator


By Art Montague

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http://books.google.ca/books?id=68AMkCBZpBwC&dq=Eisenberg%2C+Dan+Meyer+Lansky&q=batista

Meyer Lansky: mogul of the mob Dennis Eisenberg, Uri Dan, Eli Landau

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http://www.carpenoctem.tv/mafia/lansky.html for this

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Batista y Zaldvar, Fulgencio http://historicaltextarchive.com/sections.php?action=read&artid=421 / 1990-2009 Donald J. Mabry / The Historical Text Archive by Aimee Estill Fulgencio Batista y Zaldvar maintained direct and indirect influence and power in the Cuban government for over twenty-five years. Batista's first term of presidency was characterized with "strong leadership that fostered economic growth." Batista is better known for his second presidency, however, which was characterized by the forceful and oppressive means in which he ruled Cuba as well as corruption in the government. His second presidency left Cuba in turmoil and disaster, opening the door for Fidel Castro to begin rule. Fulgencio Batista y Zaldvar was born in Banes, Cuba in 1901 to parents of mixed descent. His parents, who's mixed ancestry included that of "Negro, white, Indian, and Chinese," lived and worked on a sugar plantation as peasant laborers. Batista was educated at an American Quaker School; after his education, he worked in a variety of trades. Then, in 1921, he joined the Cuban National Army. After two years of active duty in the army, he resigned and started clerical work for the Cuban National Army. By 1932, he was a military court stenographer and obtained the rank of sergeant. On September 4, 1933, Batista took control of the Cuban government in an uprising known as the "Revolt of the Sergeants," Batista's first coup overthrew Gerardo Machado's liberal government. After the first coup, Carlos Manuel de Cspedes was in power for three weeks. After those three weeks, Cuba was ruled by a Council of Five; on September 10, 1933, with Batista's support, Ramn Grau San Martn was installed as head of the government for a four-month period. Grau was a professor at the University of Havana and was a "hero of the student leftists." On January 14, 1934, Ramn Grau San Martn was replaced by Carlos Mendieta. On January 19, 1934, the United States recognized Cuba's new government. This overthrow also marked the start of the army's influence "as an organized force in the running of the government." Batista also appointed himself as Army Chief of Staff. As Army Chief of Staff, Batista increased the army's size and power; Batista then used the military to consolidate his power in the Cuban government. He also became "de facto ruler" and launched a three-year plan that included "economic and social rehabilitation." Batista's plan included creating "a new, modern, democratic Cuba." He also wanted "immediate elimination from public life of parasites and full punishment for the atrocities and corruption of the previous Machado regime, strict recognition of the debts and obligations contracted by the Republic, and immediate creation of adequate courts to enforce the measures above mentioned." Until 1940, Batista ruled Cuba through various puppet presidents, including Carlos Mendieta, Jos A. Barnet, Miguel Mariano Gmez, and Federuco Laredo Br. Batista had started a "thirty-year tradition of corruption." During this time, Batista was viewed as a "stabilizing force with respect for American interests." Batista also started a friendship with American gangster Meyer Lansky. This friendship would last over thirty years and would lead to corruption in the Cuban government. -History First negotiaiotns with castro / Celia Snchez: the legend of Cuba's revolutionary heart By Richard Haney http://books.google.ca/books?id=5_NPJWIpZYC&pg=PA93&dq=Fulgencio+Batista+Lansky&hl=en&ei=syvgTLLyJZWxngfS0LS_Dw&sa=X&oi=boo k_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CC4Q6AEwATgK#v=onepage&q=Lansky&f=false

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Page 91 Celia sanchez Capture Lansky

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Recap of lansky in Havana http://theinfounderground.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=9308&start=0

The Information Underground Anti Zionist ThinkTank


http://theinfounderground.com/forum/ http://theinfounderground.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=9308

Cuba, Fulgencio Batista and Meyer Lansky Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:14 pm by CrackSmokeRepublican Chip Venues & Their History
by Steve Piccolo Piccolo, August, 2000 Cuba This piece was put together by Steve Piccolo about the Casinos of Cuba and, in particular, Meyer Lansky. It is a compilation of excerpts from the book, "Little Man-Meyer Lansky and the Gangster Life" by R. Lacey and several smaller articles in various Herz auction catalogs. He has crafted these excerpts into reading evern more interesting to "casino" historians only. The history of the style and impact of gaming in Cuba has a clearly defined point of transition. Cuba had gained a reputation as the playground of the eastern United States in the 1920's that continued into the 1930's with evidence of the effects of the depression. With the commencement of World War II, Cuba as a playground destination, suffered from the war on the high seas and the lack of commercial shipping which was being diverted to the war effort. With the termination of the conflict in Europe and soon the ending of hostilities in the Pacific, Cuba awaited only the mending of the American economy to resume its position as the playground of the Eastern seaboard. In March 1952, Fulgencio Batista made himself president of Cuba for the second time. Batista, who ruled Cuba from 1933 to 1944 made the mistake of offering his government to the approval of the country in a national election and lost. Batista resided in Florida for a period of time following his democratic defeat. Cuba was not doing that badly, in fact, when Batista seized power in the spring of 1952. Havana had a claim to being the world's premier play city - the Paris of the New World, swaying to the rhythms of its rumbas and sambas and mambos, which it exported to Europe and America via a dozen white-tuxedoed orchestras, the hottest dance bands anywhere on earth. The one problem was the gambling. Havana's gaming was a free-for-all - no more regulated than a fairground whose operator subcontracted the individual sideshows and stalls. The Cuban owners of the city's nightclubs were leasing out their gaming rooms - and sometimes even individual games and tables - to just about anyone who claimed to have a bankroll to risk. Some were serious, professional operators. But had less experience and less bankroll. The come-on games like cubolo were the result of this. They offered quick returns on minimal investments. Stories proliferated of gullible American tourists being cheated by smiling and plausible dealers - some Cuban, but many American - who brought the cards and dice to their table, and who took their money off them as they ate. "The President of the Republic," announced the Havana Herald on February 10, 1953, "has given definitive instructions to the various police forces to intensify measures of protection for foreign tourists." It was "unprecedented," said the newspaper, for the president to express himself personally on this subject, and he had dispatched the minister of the interior on a tour of Havana's gaming rooms to look out for fraudulent multidice games like cubolo and razzle-dazzle, a variant on the theme. The Cuban Tourist Commission even had a form printed which authorized visitors who believed that they had been cheated to stop payment on their checks. These measures had scarcely had a chance to work, however, when, at the end of March 1953, the Saturday Evening Post ran an expose' headlined on its cover, "Suckers in Paradise: How Americans Lose Their Shirts in Caribbean Gambling Joints." The author of the article, Lester Velie, had been on a thorough tour of Havana's nightspots. All, he reported, had succumbed to the operators of razzle-dazzle, cubolo, and the come-on games, and must now be considered "bust out" joints - or fraudulent. Nor were the traditional

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casino games above suspicion. Most dealers in Havana were dealing blackjack from a hand-held pack, which was open to manipulation, rather than from a box, which had long been the standard practice in America. In the length and breadth of Havana the reporter could discover only two locations where the gambling was honest. One was the socalled "louse ring" underneath the grandstand at the Oriental Park horse track, where Cubans gambled with Cubans for modest stakes. The other was at the very opposite end of the scale - the Montmartre Club, a luxurious, plush-and-glit, third floor establishment a few blocks away from the Nacional Hotel in downtown Havana. The operation of the Montmartre's gaming tables had recently been taken over by Meyer Lansky. The serious high-rollers knew cheating when they saw it, and there was no suggestion of sleight-of-hand or come-on games in the Montmartre Club. To the contrary, thanks to Meyer Lansky, honestly conducted high-stakes gambling was still alive and well in one corner of Havana, at least. Batista's return to power was the singularly most influential event in Cuban gaming as it signals the beginning of the rise of Cuban casinos to international reputation and the founding of an empire of "Las Vegas" style casino action. Meyer Lansky's dreams for Cuba had been tested in southern Nevada beginning with his former partner Bugsy Siegel's venture with the Flamingo Hotel. Following Siegel's death in 1946, the Flamingo's operation was perfected by others and as additional casinos were established on the strip, their action and return on investment was verified. To have "Las Vegas" style gaming in not only an unregulated environment but to have the only "regulator", the government, firmly bound by a friendship of mutual benefit was ideal. President Batista invited Meyer Lansky to become his advisor on gambling reform, and to carry out, on a larger scale, a cleanup job like the one he had performed so effectively at the racetrack and at the Gran Casino Nacional in the late 1930's. Lansky might be an outlaw in America, but in Cuba he was welcomed as the man who knew how to put things straight. Fulgencio Batista saw the enhancement of revenues from foreign visitors, and from Americans in particular, as a major source of future income for Cuba - and for himself. With the development of hotel chains and airline travel in the early 1950's, tourism was just starting to be seen as an industry in its own right, and the new president enthusiastically endorsed it as a priority of his new regime. One of his first actions was to reorganize the old National Tourism Corporation - "to assist and stimulate private enterprise," as Batista later wrote. Cuba's climate and beaches, its proximity to New York and Miami, "the striking beauty of our women," and "the traditional hospitality of our people" were all assets that were sadly undeveloped, in the opinion of the new president. He simplified entry regulations so that Americans could spend up to a month in Cuba without needing a visa and could also bring their private cars and boats with them. At Barlovento, to the west of Havana, canals were planned for a marina-housing development, with a view to luring the investment of Floridian boaters who lived in similar developments in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. And when it came to gambling, it was Batista's ambition, with the help of Meyer Lansky, to turn Havana into the Monte Carlo of the Caribbean. The first priority was to flush out the crooked gambling subcontractors. The only casino operator in Havana for whom Meyer had any respect was Santo Trafficante, Jr., son of the numbers boss of Tampa, Florida. Trafficante, ten years younger than Meyer, had been operating in Cuba since 1946. Quiet of manner, with a crew cut and spectacles that gave him the air of a college professor, Trafficante went about his business conservatively. Meyer also knew, and had less respect for Norman Rothman, the Sans Souci gaming room operator. Meyer warned Rothman, in so many words, "You run clean, otherwise, you can't operate," and the Sans Souci stopped its program of come-on games. But other dishonest croupiers, many of them Americans, continued to operate on a free-lance basis. They had been approaching victims away from the gaming tables - in restrooms, even - with their card shuffles and dice games that a sucker "just could not lose." On March 30, 1953 - two days after the Saturday Evening Post expose' - Cuban military intelligence arrested thirteen such cardsharps, all American, and immediately deported eleven of them. Cuban gaming opened up for the winter season of 1954-55 in its reformed state. Blackjack everywhere was dealt from a box, not from the hand. Floor men became "ladder men," hoisted up to sit in little jockey seats, atop stepladders, from which they could more effectively spot sharp practice at the tables - and where they could very obviously be seen to be making that inspection. Most important, the nightclubs offered no house room to the operators of razzle-dazzle, cubolo, or any other come-on games.

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The fairground had been policed. There were no more newspaper stories about tourists being swindled in Havana, and the American embassy was able to close its file on the subject. The last complaint about dishonest Cuban gambling practices dated from the spring of the previous year, at the same time as the Saturday Evening Post article, and referred to an incident that had happened the previous New Year's Eve. Meyer Lansky's Montmartre Club remained the premier destination for high rollers. The Montmartre did not have floor shows or ambience to match the under-the -stars nightclubs of the garden suburbs, but it did have Lansky's table crews, and that attracted the best players. It was serious gambling for serious gamblers. The Montmartre was only a few minutes stroll from the Nacional, the grandest hotel in Cuba - or in the entire Caribbean. Lansky had long nursed a plan to install a casino in the Nacional Hotel itself. The hotel stood imposingly on a rocky bluff looking out across the bay towards the Morro, the ancient and picturesque fortress guarding the entrance to Havana harbor. Ten stories high and of classic design, the Nacional bore a striking resemblance to the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, whose architect it shared, and Lansky's scheme was to take over a wing of the Nacional and refurbish it with luxury suites for high-stakes players, a deluxe Caribbean version of the formula which Las Vegas had been developing so successfully since the death of Benny Siegel. This idea did not accord with the habits of Havana's American colony, who used the rambling gardens and corridors of the Nacional as something of an expatriate club. A few yards along the Malecon, the sea wall, from the U.S. embassy, the Nacional was a cozy and non-commercial setting for tea and bridge parties, tennis tournaments, and gatherings on the Forth of July. But Batista liked Lansky's casino idea, and since the Cuban government owned the Nacional, he seized on the project as a chance to show off his dynamic new tourist policy. In 1955, the Nacional was placed under new management. International (later Intercontinental) Hotels, Inc., a subsidiary of Pan Am, the principal air carrier to Havana, took over the management of the hotel and embarked upon an extensive program of refurbishing. They did not designate a particular wing of bedrooms for gamblers, but at the northern end of the long entrance hall, inside the curved loggias looking out over the Malecon, an elaborate and luxurious new complex of public rooms was created - a bar, a restaurant, a showroom, and a casino. This complex was sublet by the hotel for a substantial rent to a casino operator, and that operator was Meyer Lansky. This became home to Wilbur Clark's Casino - Havana. Eartha Kitt was the star of the floor show with which the new Nacional Hotel casino opened for business in the winter season of 1955-56. It proved an immediate success. Lansky placed his brother Jake in charge of the casino floor, and night after night Jake surveyed the proceedings from his giant ladder to make sure the games were kept clean. The Lansky brothers were operating in partnership with a regime which was corrupt. But they did not allow that corruption to touch the purity of what made them real money - serious, professional gambling. Their partner, Fulgencio Batista, shared their professionalism. Flamboyant and high profile in many respects, the Cuban president was not, himself, a gambling man. He also realized, as clearly as the Lansky's did, that having Cuban officials gathered around roulette tables in their caps, uniforms and all the trimmings, would not be good for anyone's business. Batista seldom visited Meyer Lansky's casinos - in the winter season of 1955-56 Lansky was operating at both the Nacional and the Montmartre, and had a piece of another, more modest club, the Monseigneur - and the two men were almost never seen together in public. Nor did they socialize privately. Their relationship was strictly business. Lansky and Batista were, to all intents and purposes, partners in the commercial development of Cuban gambling, but there was nothing so crass as a direct transfer of funds from one to the other. It made more sense for both sides to operate through middlemen, and though the payoff might sometimes take the form of cash, it more often involved jobs, supply contracts, and a whole network of patronage. In 1955, the system reached its culmination in the promulgation of Hotel Law 2074, by which the Cuban government granted tax exemptions to "all new hotels, motels, and similar establishments providing tourist accommodations." Any hotel with more than $1 million of new investment, and any new nightclub valued at $200,000, was entitled to apply for a casino license. The government even announced itself ready, in certain circumstances, to provide "direct financial assistance" for the construction of tourists projects it considered particularly valuable. Batista was able to cite this law as the reason why, in a matter of years, the number of hotel rooms in

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Havana nearly doubled - from some 3,000 in 1952 to nearly 5,500 in 1958. All these new rooms were modern, luxurious, and air conditioned, and Batista was entitled to take credit for his achievement. By 1958 Cuba was experiencing the booming tourist economy that did not come to other corners of the Caribbean for ten years or more. But Hotel Law 2074 was also the channel by which the president could dispense government money to associates like Meyer Lansky, who then made sure that it was friends and relatives of the president who profited privately from the construction and operation of the new hotelcasinos that they built. No customs duties were levied on the gaming tables and equipment that came in to fill the new casinos, and Cuba's strict labor quota laws were relaxed to allow foreign croupiers and casino staff into the country on special two-year visas as "technicians." In the spring of 1956, less than three years after he had been in jail in Saratoga, Meyer Lansky started work, under the terms of Hotel Law 2074, on the construction of his own hotel, The Riviera, a twenty-one-story, 440-room skyscraper, towering above the Malecon in Havana. When it opened, the Riviera would be the largest purpose-built casino-hotel in Cuba - or anywhere in the world, outside Las Vegas. By 1956, Havana had attracted many of America's professional gamblers from the wide-open era, including a number who had become prominent in Las Vegas. It was not Meyer's style to exploit his special relationship with Batista, but there was not much point in a casino operator's coming to Havana in the 1950's if Meyer Lansky did not like him. Meyer, Jake, and their friends would gather for sandwiches at lunchtime beside the Nacional's pool, where they all had cabanas. The memories they shared went back more than twenty years. Moe Dalitz, Sam Tucker, and Morris Kleinman, Meyer's partners in the Molaska Corporation, were there. So was their Cleveland partner, Thomas "Black Jack" McGinty, along with Wilbur Clark, who fronted the Desert Inn, not far down the strip from the Flamingo. Dalitz and his partners had bought into the Nacional casino, and they were due to take it over entirely when Meyer's Riviera Hotel got started properly. Benny Binion, the Texas gambler, was one of the few friends of Meyer's who did come over to check out the prospects for business in Havana. He later explained: "I don't like operating anywhere that I don't speak the language." Younger than Meyer and his generation, but respected for the position he had carved out for himself in Cuba, Santo Trafficante,Jr., was admitted to the inner circle. RIVIERA CASINO Meyer Lansky set his sights high when it came to the construction of his own hotel-casino in Havana. He had had pieces of hotels before - most notably in Benny Seigel's Flamingo. But the Havana Riviera was Meyer's own baby. With his past, it was impossible for Meyer Lansky to hope that he could ever get a Nevada gaming license or operate openly in Las Vegas. But now, just over the horizon from Miami, and in an open, legal setting that was more agreeable in many ways than the dusty and remote Nevada desert, he could build a luxury, resort hotel-casino which showed how it should be done. People in the know declared that Meyer Lansky was the dean of American gambling. The Havana Riviera would prove it. To construct the Riviera, Lansky selected Irving Feldman, a builder who had a dozen hotels and prestigious apartment blocks to his credit on Miami Beach. Short, swashbuckling, and dynamic, Feldman was a Napoleonic figure who had the reputation for bringing high-quality jobs in on time. In his previous life, Feldman was an unashamed gambler and ladies' man. But when it came to construction, he was all business. He broke ground on the Riviera in January 1957, and eleven months later it was finished. Meyer's brief for his hotel was that it should contain nothing but the best. The Riviera was the first major building in Havana to have central air conditioning, in contrast to the new Capri Hotel, completed a few months earlier not far from the Nacional, which had individual box units, rattling and dripping from every window. Cold hissed smoothly and silently into the Riviera's luxurious room from ceiling vents, and every window had its own view of the sea. Seen from the air, the two broad curves of the Riviera swept back from the Malecon in the shape of a tremendous Y, with cantilevered balconies at every end. In terms of style and decor, the Riviera was angular and futuristic. Echoing and reflecting the waters of the Florida straits, the hotel was clad in turquoise mosaic, while the casino itself, a curved and windowless pleasure dome covered in gold mosaic, nestled on the ground beside it like an enormous, gilded ostrich egg. The furnishings were by Albert Parvin-Dohrman, which was supplying the latest luxury hotels in Las Vegas. Modernistic chandeliers glittered from the ceilings of the casino, restaurant, and public rooms, like so

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many convoys of winking flying saucers. The overall effect did not, perhaps, win prizes for taste, but it was undeniably exciting. Everyone in Havana knew that the Riviera was Meyer Lansky's project. He sent excited progress reports and photographs of the construction back to his son Paul, in Tacoma, as the steel skeleton of the main tower rose in the sky. But, as ever, Meyer hid his own participation behind the names of his partners and associates. The casino license, for which the hotel paid the Cuban government $25,000 a year, was held by Eddie Levinson. The casino manager was an associate of Levinson's, Eddie Torres - and the Riviera Hotel Corporation itself was headed by the Smith brothers, Ben and Harry, two Toronto hoteliers with whom Lansky had negotiated the Management contract. The only place in which Lansky's name appeared on the paperwork was as director of the hotel's kitchens. The Riviera Hotel opened with a fanfare on the evening of December 10, 1957. Its Copa Room floor show, which was carried in part on American network television, was headed by Ginger Rogers. The Riviera was universally judged an immense success. Its casino started making money from the first night. Its 440 double rooms were booked solid through the winter and spring season of 1958 and beyond. It took the deployment of several large-denomination bills to secure a decent seat in the Copa Room, where the performers that winter included Vic Damone, Abbott and Costello, and the Mexican comedian Cantinflas. Most satisfying of all, it was even harder to secure a table to eat in the Riviera Room, the hotel's gourmet restaurant, which offered, by general consent, the city's finest fine dining, and steaks of a particularly high quality. SEE interview with Belafonte on youtube Havana in the winter of 1957-58 offered the visitor many rare and extravagant experiences. The memories of visitors to the Riviera Hotel in its heyday are of an ambiance that was anything but gangsterish. The gaming in the egg-shaped casino was hushed and reverent, as befitted the seriousness of the stakes. A strict dress code was enforced. Many men wore tuxedos. The women wore serious jewels. The marble halls of Meyer Lansky's Riviera were an asylum of quiet and gentility, compared to the raucous carnival to be found outside. As the Lansky/Batista gaming empire gathered influence, it also gathered notoriety. An article appearing in the March 10, 1958 issue of LIFE magazine indicated that East Coast United States mob influence dominated Cuban gaming and that Nevada casinos were supplying the expertise for the operations. The article cited Batista's 1955 regulation changes as bearing fruit in the form of five major casinos, three nightclubs with another three hotels in progress. The article lists five hotels: the Riviera, Hotel Capri, the Nacional Hotel, the older Comodoro and the Sans Souci. A new Havana Hilton was in the progress of opening and two additional hotels were coming on line. The article also cites a casino at the race track for those who tire of the races. Although not specifically mentioned, the nightclubs included the Lefty Clark's Tropicana and Wilbur Clark's Casino. Thirteen different syndicates, almost all of them separate from the gamblers already established in Havana, had applied to sublease the new Hilton Hotel's casino which, it was calculated, should produce about $3 million profit per year. Hilton wanted $1 million annual rental, paid in advance, and Roberto "Chiri" Mendoza was the candidate that the company favored. Mendoza had Batista's personal blessing, and he was also the candidate favored by the Cuban Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union, which was the owner of the new hotel. The union was financing the project as a source of employment for its current workers and as an investment for their pension fund, leasing out the management and international marketing to Hilton. There were Americans running the gaming in the Nacional Hotel, the Sans Souci, and in the recently opened Capri Hotel - where George Raft, the movie star, was acting as front man and meeter and greeter

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for a syndicate headed by Santo Trafficante. Americans had more than their fair share of gambling in Havana, and when it came to the new Hilton casino, Batista had given the word that this one was for the Cubans. Havana had something of a fairyland about it in the winter season of January, February, and March, 1958. There were more visitors than ever before. The operators of the newly opened casino-hotels could hardly believe their good fortune. At the Capri, J. "Skip" Shepard, a Miami hotelier who had a twenty year contract to operate the hotel, remembers that the flow of money - sheer, naked profit - was "just unbelievable." Thanks to Meyer Lansky's reputation and connections, it was the Riviera that attracted the most serious, high-stakes players - men who thought nothing of writing a check for $20,000 or $30,000 at the end of an evening's gaming. Who would have thought that by the end of that very same year, the "gambling empire" of Lansky would come crashing down along with the Batista regime. -------------------Early in December 1958, Fulgencio Batista sent his children's passports to the American embassy to be stamped with U.S. visas. On December 9, President Eisenhower dispatched a personal emissary to Batista promising unhindered access to, and asylum in, the dictator's Daytona Beach home, providing that Batista was willing to leave Cuba rapidly and quietly. Just over a week later, on December 17, 1958, Ambassador Earl E.T. Smith repeated the message more officially. For those who were in the know, there was ample warning that Batista's days of power were numbered. The news reached the central Havana hotels soon after one o'clock in the morning on New Years Eve, 1958. An hour or so earlier, President Batista had driven secretly to Camp Columbia, where he had commandeered three planes at the neighboring air force base, filled them with his wife, family, closest aids, and baggage - and fled the country. Fidel Castro and his followers were still in Oriente Province, nearly 500 miles from the capitol, while the Cuban army, larger than it had ever been, remained generally loyal to Batista. But afraid for his life, and concerned to make sure of his money, the sergeant-stenographer with the engaging smile had chosen to pick up his winnings and to leave the table while he could. In reality, very few in Batista's circle were given any notice of what was happening. Chiri Mendoza rocked perceptibly with shock when he had heard the news - along with everyone else - in the newly opened Hilton casino in the small hours of January 1. Over at the Riviera, they had been no better warned. American consular officers, roused from their beds, struggled with their New Year's Day hangovers as they went round the hotels, telling American citizens to stay indoors, while compiling lists of visitors' names in case an evacuation became necessary. As dawn rose on the suddenly Batista-less Havana, there was dancing in the streets. The workers at the Riviera deserted their jobs to go out and celebrate. In the early weeks of January 1959, peasants who had only dared to look wistfully at the outside of the chrome-and-glass towers housing the visiting Americanos now strolled with impunity into the lobbies. It was several days before life in Havana returned to some sort of normality. One of the first decisions of the new revolutionary government of Cuba in January 1959 was to shut down the casinos and the national lottery. Both were inappropriate to the ethics of the new, reformed Cuba. If the country's tourist business depended on gambling, announced the new prime minister, Miro Cardona, then the tourist business would just have to suffer. Fidel Castro had already proclaimed from the mountains his intention of removing the Yankee gangsters who ran the casinos of Havana. The realities of government, however, soon caused Castro and his ministers to think again. At the end of January 1959, several thousand waiters, croupiers, dealers, and bartenders who had been thrown out of work by the closing of the casinos paraded in protest through the streets of Havana. Castro had delegated the responsibility for the casinos and the national lottery to Pastora Nunez, one of the woman guerrillas who had fought in the Sierra Maestra, and at the end of February 1959, Seorita Nunez summoned the major casino owners to her office. "I highly disapprove of the way you make a living," she lectured, "but we are

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reconsidering our earlier decision." Money proved to be the final persuader. The casino owners agreed to give their employees seven weeks' back pay for the time they had been out of work, and with that assurance, the government rescinded its earlier decree. CASINOS REOPEN IN HAVANA, proclaimed the banner trailing behind a plane which flew up and down Miami Beach in the last week of February 1959. There were about six weeks left until Easter, and, with luck, the Riviera and the other hotels could recoup enough of their losses to break even for the season. Cautious optimism filled the gaming rooms at the prospect of coexistence with a regime that seemed both clean and pragmatic. In April 1958, nine months before Batista's departure, when the recently opened hotels-casinos of Havana were going full swing, the Nevada Gaming Board had banned the holders of Nevada gaming licenses from operating in Cuba. The spectacular success of the Havana Riviera, Capri, Nacional, and Hilton hotel-casinos was hurting business in Las Vegas, where the most recently opened hotels were all in financial difficulties. - Five Nevada gamblers had acted immediately to safeguard their positions in Las Vegas. In the autumn of 1958, Moe Dalitz, Wilbur Clark, Sam Tucker, Morris Kleinman, and Thomas "Black Jack" McGinty all sold out the interests they had developed in Havana. Cuban gaming now rested solely in the hands of Batista, Lansky, and his associates from the east coast. Nevada's contribution to Cuban gaming had been to supply the "know-how" of the operations for Lansky's dreamed of "Las Vegas" style casinos. On New Year's Day 1959, they looked very clever indeed. They got themselves clear of Cuban gambling, and they even had a profit to show for it. Lansky did not look so clever. The Riviera Hotel had cost $14 million to build and equip. Six million dollars of that investment was provided by the Batista government under the provisions of Hotel Law 2074. No paperwork survives to provide exact figures, but $8 million to $12 million seems to be a fair estimate of what Lansky and his associates personally invested in the Riviera's bricks and mortar, chandeliers, roulette tables, and mosaic tile. At the time of Batista's departure, the Riviera Hotel had been open for a few weeks longer than a year, and by the estimate of the Hilton's analysis, who studied the Riviera's success in order to predict how much revenue their own casino might be expected to generate, gaming at the Riviera showed a clear annual profit of some $3 million. But after little more than a year of operating profits, that still left $5 million to $9 million of investment paid out and buried in the hotel - with the deficit getting larger, since the Riviera did not register a single month of clear profit in the period that it operated under the unwilling and unhelpful regime of Fidel Castro. On October 24, 1960, the Gaceta Oficial de la Republica de Cuba announced the confiscation and nationalization of the Havana Riviera Hotel. The gazette announced the same fate for 165 other American enterprises. This marked the end of Lansky's dream of Las Vegas style gaming in Cuba. Gaming in Cuba was growing so fast, that if it weren't for the revolution, Las Vegas might not be what it is today. Reports of gaming in Cuba after the confiscation of all the American operated casinos, consist of casinos operated for the pleasure of eastern block tourists. A recently reported joint venture with French gaming interests in partnership with the Cuban government as recently as 1991 indicate that the operations have labored under the difficult problem of having the government as a partner. The glorious days of Havana gaming are now more than 40 years old, but the urge for gambling, long a sport in Cuba, continues to run in the blood of the country. The Cuban National Lottery was such a deeply rooted institution that even Fidel Castro could not ban its existence and today it serves as an indication that Cuba will once again revive the spirit of gaming if and when its government is so inclined. Visit Steve Piccolo's website http://www.chequers.com/magazine/piccolo/cpsp0800.html

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The Batista-Lansky Alliance How the mafia and a Cuban dictator built Havana's casinos By Matthew Reiss --------- It was December 31, 1958. Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista raised a New Year's Eve toast to his cabinet members and senior military officers and wished them hasta la vista. After seven years of building Havana's tourism industry by inviting gangsters such as Meyer Lansky to construct casinos, helping to fund their enterprises and taking a large chunk of the proceeds for himself, Batista knew his presidency was over. His plundering had weakened Cuba's treasury and demoralized the army. He filled three cargo planes with all he could carry and was on his way to the Dominican Republic before the sun came up on 1959. Nine days later, Fidel Castro's guerrillas took the capital and installed what would become the longestlasting communist government in the Western Hemisphere. But while Castro could close the casinos, arrest the gangsters and deport or imprison Batista's henchmen, he could not bury the skyscrapers that had drained the wealth of the island. Castro inherited from Batista a Havana of overt poverty and ostentatious wealth, where the haves of the world's richest nations had come to exploit the have-nots; where statues of Lenin and Marx would be dwarfed by glass and stone monuments to the Mob; where the nation's architectural landmarks would be a constant reminder of the days when criminals were in charge and the Mafia roamed free. But until that last day of 1958, the only revolution that mattered to Mafia financier Lansky involved a roulette wheel. During the Batista years, Cuba was a place where a crooked man could make an honest living. After a half century on the wrong side of the law in the United States, the celebrated gangster was legit. America's high rollers and celebrities were living large in the casino of Lansky's luxury hotel, the Riviera, and the drinks were on the house. As a kid in Manhattan's Lower East Side ghetto in the early part of the century, Meyer Lansky learned how to cheat, bribe and split fees with other cheats. He ran into Charlie ?Lucky? Luciano, as legend has it, in a street fight, and Lansky's tenacity convinced the Sicilian Luciano that this Jewish kid had possibilities. Together with another local Italian, Frank Costello, and a young tough named Benny "Bugsy" Siegel, they created a powerful network of numbers runners and bookies throughout the city. With Luciano at the helm and Lansky at the register, the combination soon expanded nationwide. When Prohibition took effect in 1919, Lansky's and Luciano's gambling alliances helped provide contacts with illicit liquor distributors across the country. The pair soon controlled a healthy share of the import and transportation of bootleg liquor. After 14 years of windfall profits, many bootleggers were put out of business by the market forces of competition when Prohibition was repealed in 1933. Lansky's financial success had already made him a target of law enforcement. When New York started getting too hot, Lansky looked for other places to take his gambling operations.

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In the mid-1930s, a Cuban army sergeant named Fulgencio Batista took advantage of political chaos in the former Spanish colony and formed his own government. At the time, the island republic was foundering, as was its gambling industry. Years before, Havana's nightlife had attracted wealthy entertainers from the United States, such as Sarah Bernhardt and Enrico Caruso. But Cuba's gaming industry had become mired in cheating and corruption by the 1930s. So, in 1939, Batista recruited a New England racetrack owner named Lou Smith to revive Havana's Oriental Park track and Meyer Lansky to clean up the casinos. Soon, gamblers who were familiar with the professionalism of Lansky's stateside operations were eagerly making the flight to Havana, where they could be separated from their earnings in style. Within months, Cuba was back on the map as a gambling destination. Lansky's success did not escape Batista. The pair developed a close relationship, which is best chronicled in Robert Lacey's biography of Lansky, Little Man. The resurgence of gambling and the return of rich tourists helped foster a wave of confidence in the island's economy. Batista scheduled an election in 1940 and won handily, only to have his hand-picked candidate defeated in 1944 by Dr. Ramn Grau San Martn of the opposition Autentico party. Under Grau, gambling was frowned upon. Lansky returned to the States to take care of his other investments. (He did, though, attend a Mafia summit in Havana in 1946 when the leaders decided Bugsy Siegel's very brief future.) Grau was followed by Autentico's Dr. Carlos Pro Socarrs in 1948. Both Grau's and Pro's terms were tainted by corruption. Two months before the 1952 presidential elections, Batista snatched control of the government that he had relinquished, and quickly put gambling back on track. Once again, the dictator contacted Lansky, but this time he gave him an annual salary of $25,000 to serve as an unofficial gambling minister. The high rollers followed Lansky to his new project, the Montmartre Club. While the casino was a hit, every night Lansky's customers would cash in their chips and hustle off to catch the floor show in the outdoor gardens of the Tropicana or at the Capri's Red Room nightclub, which was controlled by Tampa-based Mob boss Santo Trafficante Jr. Both nightclubs offered larger, more comfortable settings. To compete, Lansky persuaded Batista to give him a piece of Cuba's national treasure, the Hotel Nacional, built in the 1930s. The Nacional was where the cream of Cuban society went to wet their whistles. Under Lansky's impetus, a wing of the Nacional's grand entrance hall was refurbished to include a bar, a restaurant, a showroom and a casino. Lansky put his brother, Jake, in charge of the room, which by the spring of 1957 was bringing in as much cash as the biggest casinos in Las Vegas. In 1955, the Batista government passed a law granting a gaming license to anyone who invested $1 million in a hotel or $200,000 in a new nightclub. And that meant anyone. Unlike the procedure for acquiring gaming licenses in Vegas, this provision exempted venture capitalists from background checks. As long as they made the required investment, they were provided with public matching funds for construction, a 10-year tax exemption and duty-free importation of equipment and furnishings. Although Batista's ostensible aim was to create new jobs, he gutted the labor laws to allow casino owners to bring their American croupiers. Under the Batista-Lansky administration, Havana was ripe for foreign investment, especially for the glut of illegal earnings that Lansky and his cronies had accumulated from bootlegging, numbers and other rackets. The FBI was developing new ways of tracking down dirty money; to gangsters with loads of tainted cash, Havana looked like a stable offshore depository. The climate was so attractive that Lansky decided to build his own hotel, the Riviera, on the Malecn, Havana's wide boulevard along the seawall. In 1957 it rose over the horizon like a beacon, advertising the city as a refuge from the law.

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"In the '50s there was this byzantine atmosphere," recalls Cuban migr Arturo Quintana. "Every connection, every kind of deal. Everybody was so sure about everything." Quintana recalls meeting Lansky during that time. "You wouldn't imagine he was any kind of gangster," he says. "On the contrary, he looked more like a professor. Short, with glasses. Smiling." In that lawless atmosphere, Lansky became a respected businessman -- and not without reason. He rid the casinos of cardsharps and cheats, offering legit games to attract the high rollers. His hotel had the best food on the island and it was the only one with central air conditioning. The Riviera and neighboring hotels "played a role in the '50s and later on by concentrating a lot of life in certain spots in the city," says Havana architect Mario Cuyola. "With the people going in and out, it radiated to the surrounding areas, making the city more livable." Havana became the destination of choice for thousands of Americans, the famous and tourists alike. Tony Bennet sang at the San Souci; Ginger Rogers opened the Copa; Nat King Cole played the Tropicana. Frank Sinatra and John Wayne were regulars at the Hotel Nacional. During the same period, however, the people of Cuba suffered. Government corruption was endemic, while in Havana's streets prostitution and poverty were rampant. In the countryside, the peasants were suffering as well; Batista poured the nation's wealth into the capital. He gave the gangsters millions in government funds for hotel construction and spent millions more reclaiming valuable waterfront real estate from the sea. Construction of Lansky's Riviera went for about $18 million, while the Hotel Continental cost $20 million. The $14 million Capri, which housed Trafficante's Red Room nightclub, was the only hotel that did not receive any money from the government. But Batista's plan for building a Monte Carlo in the Caribbean was not complete until the Hilton Hotel's logo was hoisted above the coast. Conrad Hilton had stayed away from the island for years, concerned about possible run-ins with Cuba's powerful unions. Under Batista, however, even this risk seemed manageable, as the $23 million cost of constructing 650 rooms of luxury accommodations was financed by the pension funds of the Cuban restaurant workers' union. Finally, the chain agreed to operate Cuba's biggest hotel. A lot of cigars were lit in celebration of the economic fortunes of those who were lucky enough to have a piece of the Cuban capital.

As Batista's regime grew more decadent, Cuba became increasingly divided. A young Fidel Castro took advantage of the growing gap between rich and poor to advance his own agenda. On July 26, 1953, he and a small band of guerrillas attacked the Moncada and Bayamo military barracks in Oriente Province, at the eastern end of the island, giving a name to Castro's revolutionary July 26 Movement. Batista captured and tried him, but it gave Castro the opportunity to register an impassioned sound bite to the world. "Sentence me," he declared. "No matter. History will absolve me." Ordered to prison for 15 years, Fidel served less than two. Batista ran a rigged election in 1954 in an attempt to legitimize his government, and six months later he granted amnesty to political prisoners. Castro took advantage of his freedom by founding a guerrilla training camp 20 miles outside of Mexico City. In late 1956, he embarked with an expeditionary force of 81 men in an ill-equipped boat, the Granma, that he had acquired in Mexico. They sailed to Cuba and landed at Los Colorados beach, on the southwestern coast of Oriente Province. Castro's forces were attacked by the Cuban military, but he and 20 men survived by escaping into the wooded mountains of the Sierra Maestra.

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Batista dismissed the action as a local problem without major significance and went back to his game of canasta, according to Cuban author Nestor Carbonell. Havana's prosperity appeared to have lulled Batista to sleep. Despite a growing gap between the urban rich and the rural poor, per capita income in Cuba by 1958 was higher than Japan's, nearly equal to Italy's and third highest in Latin America. Batista's own fortune was estimated to be as high as $300 million. The July 26 Movement regularly conducted strikes against Cuban military and economic targets, and New York Times correspondent Herb Matthews, who traveled with Castro in the Sierra Maestra, romanticized the rebel's war. Soon Castro gained support in the States. In March 1958, amid rising pro-Castro propaganda, the U.S. government ordered an embargo on arms to Batista. The writing on the wall did not escape the dictator. In an act of desperation, he sent one of his most feared officers after Castro with a force of 500 men. But even this effort backfired. Many troops pulled up lame with self-inflicted injuries. Others sold the rebels their guns. Castro captured the army's communications trailer and opened a number of fronts that went unchallenged. President Dwight Eisenhower relayed a message to Batista that he was welcome to return to his Daytona Beach, Florida, estate. On that New Year's Eve of 1958, while Batista was preparing to flee to the Dominican Republic and then on to Florida (where he died in exile in 1973), Meyer Lansky was celebrating the $3 million he made in the first year of operations at his 440-room, $18 million palace. At that time, Lansky "was very mellow," recalls Quintana. He could see no reason to be alarmed. "Intelligence was very deficient in those days," says Quintana, who is now an attorney on Long Island in New York. "And everyone underestimated Castro. The only one who believed in him was Fidel himself. People believed in mathematics; in logistical and military power. No one could dream of the development of a revolution." In a pirate radio broadcast from the mountains, Castro stated that he preferred executing gangsters to deporting them. Now his bearded battalions were less than 500 miles away, marching to Havana. Ch Guevara would be in charge of public safety by the end of the week. In a lifetime that spanned Prohibition, the Depression, the Second World War and the nuclear age, Meyer Lansky evolved from a Lower East Side schtarker (strong arm) to the business partner of a head of state. In that time, he had become a symbol of everything that Castro's revolution sought to overturn. On January 8, 1959, Castro marched into Havana and took over, setting up shop in the Hilton. Lansky had fled the day before. When Castro nationalized the island's hotel-casinos in October 1960 and outlawed gambling, Lansky lost an estimated $7 million. After a lifetime of careful bets, this founding member of organized crime retired a loser. He settled in Miami Beach, where he died in 1983. "When Castro came to power," says Wayne Smith, the former chief of the U.S. interests section in Havana, "the image of Havana was as the center of graft, corruption, vice and the Mafia. All the money in the country was siphoned off by Havana." After he took control, Castro announced that resources would be shifted to benefit those who had produced the wealth. Since that time, says Smith, "Havana has become quite run-down." Since 1959, the Castro government has concentrated its efforts on building rural schools and clinics.

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For decades, the revolutionary government shunned tourism, Smith says. "To them, tourism was identified with the past, the Mafia, with Americans coming down and pissing on the statues of their heroes." Although Cuba's economic difficulties have again opened the country to foreign tourists, gambling and casinos remain illegal. Says Smith, "They're very careful not to let the Mafia back in."

Matthew Reiss is a freelance writer. http://www.cigaraficionado.com/Cigar/CA ... 17,00.html


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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ID6iiOmiVQA&feature=related NewsCast about Castro overtaking Cuba http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KL4cb0zuoFg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5JRdI0G7v8&NR=1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYXPF0lAHTc&feature=related Visits the us http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xfkx-cTlwwU&feature=related
General US Propaganda - CIA Archives: Cuba - The Land and the People (1950) Key to the new world The 1950 view Geo / resources / people http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l25WhKf_fyM&feature=related Batista talks <object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/KL4cb0zuoFg?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/KL4cb0zuoFg?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object> http://www.youtube.com/user/nunosapessoa#p/c/9FB0DF711E0B0F53/45/THu7gop9gHI Cuba before Castro ------- first revolution - + Belafonte talks about mafia + first coup http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ILjG9VTIs4&feature=watch_response <object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/8ILjG9VTIs4?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/8ILjG9VTIs4?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object> Part II http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7NWfoBVZ9A&feature=related <object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/A7NWfoBVZ9A?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/A7NWfoBVZ9A? fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object> From Julia A Contemporary Cuba Reader: Reinventing the Revolution edited by Philip Brenner, Marguerite Rose Jimenez, John M. Kirk, and William M. LeoGrande

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published in the USA by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc 2008 by Rowman & Littlefield, Publishers, Inc Printed in the USA When Batista overthrew the constitutional government in 1952, ending Cubas experience with democracy, there was little public outcry. p. 7 Active opposition to the Batista dictatorship was organized in several groups, and was spread across the island, especially in cities..shared a desire to rid Cuba of corruption, modernize the country, and raise the standard of living for the vast majority of the population. p 7 More than 40 percent of the Cuban workforce in 1959 was either underemployed or unemployed. p 8 The struggle against Batista had brought together groups with diverse agendas..Some moderates joined the campaign because they were so appalled by Batistas violent oppression and disregard for human rights; others had focused on his regimes corruption and willingness to give the mafia effective carte blanche over part of Cubas tourist industry. p 9 The Cuban Revolution: Origins, Course and Legacy by Marifeli Perez-Stable oxford university press, inc 1993 new york, NY printed in the united states of America One author asserted that the working class, albeit relatively insignificant in the anti-Batista movement, was decisive in consoling the revolution. p. 6 In 1952, Fulgencio Batista overthrew Carlos Prio, ending twelve years of constitutional government..by the 1950s, this crisis was a crucial factor in explaining the relative case with which the anti-Batista movement gained power. p. 7 The Cuban Revolution highlights the importance of social class in the breakdown of old Cuba and the making of the revolution. It emphasizes the role of the classes populares, especially the unionized working class, in the mounting crisis of Cuban society. p. 8 The character of the anti-Batista forces is a central element un understanding the breakdown of old Cuba and the making of the social revolution..the opposition movement cannot be divorced from the underlying social dynamics.. p. 9 Moreover, Batistas resistance to calling elections undermined the moderate opposition and bolstered the July 26th Movement.. p. 9 Even though it mobilized a broad spectrum of Cuban society, the leadership of the anti-Batista movement had, at best, tenuous bonds to the old Cuba. p. 9 Elites are usually seen as the sole political actors.. p. 12 Political elites enriched themselves through corruption and graft. p. 18 By the 1940s, the grupos de accion had long abandoned their political intent and become gangs defending their turfs and settling scores. p. 52 Contrary to the 1930s and 1940s, Batista did not have much popular support. To remain in office, he had to rely on the armed forced.. p 52 General Batista promised to restore order, and his record during the 1930s lent additional credibility to his words. Initially, however, most citizens reacted with indifference. p 52 The batistato, however, more decidedly accentuated the dynamics of corruption. P 54 A climate of collapse enveloped Cuban society. By 1958, multiple crises social, political, economic besieged Cuba, and it was no small irony that the maelstrom trapped Fulgencio Batista. p 57 The anti-Batista movement undoubtedly mobilized diverse social and political forces. P 58 The rallying cry of Batista opposition the restoration of the Constitution of 1940 was not a call for the status quo before the military coup. p.56 By 1961, the Cuban economy was no longer capitalist and new forms of politics were emerging. A Contemporary Cuba Reader: Reinventing the Revolution edited by Philip Brenner, Marguerite Rose Jimenez, John M. Kirk, and William M. LeoGrande published in the USA by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc 2008 by Rowman & Littlefield, Publishers, Inc Printed in the USA When Batista overthrew the constitutional government in 1952, ending Cubas experience with democracy, there was little public outcry. p. 7

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Active opposition to the Batista dictatorship was organized in several groups, and was spread across the island, especially in cities..shared a desire to rid Cuba of corruption, modernize the country, and raise the standard of living for the vast majority of the population. p 7 More than 40 percent of the Cuban workforce in 1959 was either underemployed or unemployed. p 8 The struggle against Batista had brought together groups with diverse agendas..Some moderates joined the campaign because they were so appalled by Batistas violent oppression and disregard for human rights; others had focused on his regimes corruption and willingness to give the mafia effective carte blanche over part of Cubas tourist industry. p 9

A Contemporary Cuba Reader: Reinventing the Revolution edited by Philip Brenner, Marguerite Rose Jimenez, John M. Kirk, and William M. LeoGrande published in the USA by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc 2008 by Rowman & Littlefield, Publishers, Inc Printed in the USA When Batista overthrew the constitutional government in 1952, ending Cubas experience with democracy, there was little public outcry. p. 7 Active opposition to the Batista dictatorship was organized in several groups, and was spread across the island, especially in cities..shared a desire to rid Cuba of corruption, modernize the country, and raise the standard of living for the vast majority of the population. p 7 More than 40 percent of the Cuban workforce in 1959 was either underemployed or unemployed. p 8 The struggle against Batista had brought together groups with diverse agendas..Some moderates joined the campaign because they were so appalled by Batistas violent oppression and disregard for human rights; others had focused on his regimes corruption and willingness to give the mafia effective carte blanche over part of Cubas tourist industry. p 9 Cuba: Castroism and Communism, 1959-1966 by Andres Suarez 1967 by The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Set in Linotype Baskerville and printed by The Heffernan Press Inc, Worcester, Massachusetts Before fleeing Cuba Batista nominated a government under the presidency of justice of the Supreme Court to preserve some semblance of constitutionality p 30 of all its afflictions with the flight of the tyrannical Batista p 87 Castro, continuing the same policy opposed the attempts made by the President to close the casinos Batista had allowed for the purpose of attracting tourists.. p 87 But it must be pointed out that the Batista dictatorship had provoked profound hatred p 87

From: demelch@rogers.com To: juliamelcher@hotmail.com Subject: RE: Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2010 15:30:42 -0500 Thanks From: Julia Melcher [mailto:juliamelcher@hotmail.com] Sent: Friday, November 12, 2010 3:18 PM To: nmelcher@rogers.com; Leslie Melcher Subject: RE:

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A Contemporary Cuba Reader: Reinventing the Revolution edited by Philip Brenner, Marguerite Rose Jimenez, John M. Kirk, and William M. LeoGrande published in the USA by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc 2008 by Rowman & Littlefield, Publishers, Inc Printed in the USA When Batista overthrew the constitutional government in 1952, ending Cubas experience with democracy, there was little public outcry. p. 7 Active opposition to the Batista dictatorship was organized in several groups, and was spread across the island, especially in cities..shared a desire to rid Cuba of corruption, modernize the country, and raise the standard of living for the vast majority of the population. p 7 More than 40 percent of the Cuban workforce in 1959 was either underemployed or unemployed. p 8 The struggle against Batista had brought together groups with diverse agendas..Some moderates joined the campaign because they were so appalled by Batistas violent oppression and disregard for human rights; others had focused on his regimes corruption and willingness to give the mafia effective carte blanche over part of Cubas tourist industry. p 9 --------------The Downfall of the Havana Mob From: http://in1959.blogspot.com/2010/02/downfall-of-havana-mob.html 1st January 1959 was a turning point for Cuba in a number of ways but especially because the hated Cuban President Fulgencio Batista resigned and fled the country during the night; an act which, at a stroke, removed the protective shield that had enabled the mafia to control Cuba's lucrative hotel and gambling concessions for the previous seven years. The events of New Year's Eve 1958/59 in Havana are portrayed in the film Godfather II which is an interesting blend of fact and fiction with some characters more-or-less directly lifted from history, some semi-, some entirely fictional. In the film, Batista arrives at a New Year's party being attended by his henchmen and mafia partners and announces his resignation. This prompts a chaotic exodus from Havana by Batista and the assembled mafiosi, Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) planting the 'kiss of death' on his brother Fredo (John Cazale) and thereby doing a poor job of persuading him that he bears no grudge for his betrayal him and that it's perfectly safe for Fredo to travel back to the US with him. Batista's regime did indeed fall on December 31st 1958/1st January 1959 in dramatic circumstances. Batista had underestimated the strength of the Castro rebels who had been holed up in the Sierra Maestra Mountains for almost two years but who were now marching triumphantly towards Havana and carrying the Cuban population with them. By 3rd January parts of the rebel army under Castro's generals Che Guevara and Camilo Cinefuegos had reached Havana; Castro and his troops, with a great sense of theatre and amid scenes of wild jubilation, arrived in Havana on 8th January. On the night in question news of Batista's flight started to spread round the hotels of central Havana at 1.00 am. Batista had already fled by then and did not announce his resignation at the Hilton Casino where most of his associates and ministers were indeed partying, instead sneaking away and leaving the nation and his former supporters to their fate. Batista flew out of the country from Camp Columbia - his passage guaranteed by the US Government if he went quietly. Batista ended up in Spain where he died in 1973 at the age of 72, apparently only 2 days before a Cuban hit squad was due to assassinate him. As the news spread round Havana, anarchy took hold - the people's seething resentment erupting onto the streets and into the casinos, several of which were ransacked with slot machines and gambling tables being dragged out onto the streets and set ablaze. Most of the leading mobsters in Havana, including Meyer Lanksy (played as Hyman Roth in Godfather II by Lee Strasbourg) did not flee immediately but instead drove round the Havana Casinos colelcting as much of their money as they could, the night's takings that they were able to rescue amounting to several million dollars.

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Meanwhile the angry revolutionary crowd continued to ransac the hotels and casinos, even letting a herd of pigs run amock in the most glamorous of the hotels, The Riviera, once the jewel in Meyer Lansky's Havana crown. The outpouring of anger against the casinos surprised some - but the people of Cuba had long been aware of the collusion between their government and the American gangsters. Batista's regime was rotten to the core - the man himself had become obsessed with the trappings of power, especially money - he had used the presence of Castro's rebels in the mountains as a pretext for increasingly violent and repressive measures against anyone who threatened his position. Batista collected anything between 10% and 30% of casino profits and by the time of his capitulation had ammassed a vast personal fortune, largely at the expense of his countryfolk. By the end of 1958 he was a hated figure in Cuba - he still had the support of the elite around him including the army but, crucially, he finally lost the support of the US Government who, under Eisenhower, lost patience with his regime. The US felt it had little to fear from Fidel Castro asssuming that if he took power, Cuba would descend into anarchy as it had many times before and open the door for an American intervention or at least for an expanded US role in Cuba. Batista had been in league with the Mafia and with Meyer Lansky in particular since 1952, Batista relaxing gambling laws and allowing anyone who invested either $200k in a nightclub or $1m in a hotel to obtain a gaming license without the need for any troublesome background checks and matching those investments dollar for dollar with Government funds. It was the Mafia and Batista's dream to create a gambling haven and tourist resort in the Caribbean that would rival the success and glamour of Vegas and Monte Carlo. Lansky's early associates in Cuba included 'Lucky' Luciano (Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, is probably an amalgam of real-life mobsters Lucky Luciano and Vito Genovese) and Bugsy Seigel (played as Moe Green by Alex Rocco in The Godfather) were heavily involved with Lanksy in Havana and also in Vegas. Luciano had been deported from the US to Sicily after the war. In the US he had been in jail but had helped the US war effort working for Naval Intelligence and using his influence in the New York Docks and and in Italy to snuff out the traffic in information about ship movements. He snuck back to Havana from Sicily in 1946 and attempted to re-assert his position as 'Capo di tutti capi' working from Cuba. The US government had other ideas and forced the Cuban Government to deport him again in 1947. Luciano died in Naples in 1962. Bugsy Siegel's story is more colourful. The mafia dons had entrusted him with their millions to construct and manage a showcase hotel in Las Vegas, which at that time was a hick watering hole in the middle of the Nevada desert. The hotel became the Flamingo but Siegel lost the plot during its construction, the power and excitement of it all going to his head and leading to massive cost and schedule overruns with the added twist that he was skimming millions off the top of his investors funds before applying them to the job in hand. The end was inevitable. Siegel had powerful friends, including Meyer Lanksy, but they were not powerful enough to prevent the Mafia dons, at their renowned Havana conference of 1946, from ordering his assassination which was duly carried out in 1947. Siegel died in a hail of bullets in the Beverly Hill's home of his mistress, Virginia Hill. One bullet dislodged his eyeball which was found, intact, 12ft from his body. He wasn't actually shot in the eye (as was Moe Green in the Godfather film) but nevertheless the 'bullet-inthe-eye' entered into mafia folklore after Siegel's killing. One other Havana-related, mob hit that achieved mythical status was that of Albert 'Mad Hatter' Anastasia - one of the more ruthless mob killers and enforcers of the post-war period and head of the band of mob killers known as 'Murder Inc'. Like many of the US based mob bosses Anastasia was an investor in Cuba, most mob investements being made through Meyer Lansky's investment vehicle 'BANDES'. In September 1957 Anastasia decided to visit Cuba to check up on his investments much to the consternation of the Havana Mob Bosses. He spent 5 days touring the casinos and then declared that he was unhappy with the division of spoils from the Hilton in which, he learned, he was an investor along with 15 others including the Hotel Worker's Union and a Junior Senator. Anastasia demanded that the arrangements be changed - he was threatening to upset the lucrative equilibrium that Lanksy had created in Havana and to try and muscle in on a bigger piece of the Havana action and his end too was inevitable- though somewhat more shocking given the fear that he created wherever he went. He died in another hail of bullets in the barber's chair in October 1957. As part of his weekly routine he had gone for a haircut at the Park Sheraton barbershop in New York and, with a hot towell wrapped around his face, was shot six times from behind, one bullet smashing through the back of his skull and lodging in his brain.

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There were two other key mafia figures in Cuba in the fifties. Santos Trafficante was from Tampa Florida where is father had amassed a fortune mainly controlling the local street gambling obsession called 'bolita'. Trafficante probably had plans of his own to dominate the gambling scene in Cuba but always had to play second fiddle to Lansky who he deeply resented. Lansky had established his leading role in Cuba with the help of the all powerful Luciano. Lansky and Luciano were the leading lights in the National Crime Syndicate - the body that brought together the major crime families of the US and divided the spoils of organised crime between them. He held onto his leading position there because he was the one with Batista and the government in his pocket and because was the brains behind the Cuban operation who always made money for his partners. Trafficante was the owner-operator of the Sans Souci nihgtclub in Havana and probably tolerated the 'upstart' Lansky's position (as he would see it) because it was good for business. He tried in 1957 to outflank Lanksy by doing a deal to invest in Cuba behind Lansky's back with Albert Anastasia which will have further encouraged Lanksy and the other key figure in the Havana Mob, Joe Stassi, to take Anastasia out of the equation which they did two months later. Trafficante died in Houston, Texas where he had gone for heart surgery in 1987. He was almost certainly involved with the assassination of JFK which, according to his lawyer, he practically confessed to. JFK and his brother Bobby were waging a war on organised crime and JFK himself had also made enemies of many anti-Castro Cubans living in the US after the fiasco of the Bay of Pigs invasion. Joe Stassi was the day-to-day manager of the Mob in Havana. He was seen as being a neutral figure, friendly to all parties in Cuba. The weekly Havana Mob meetings were held at his house which was seen as neutral ground. By the late 50's he was, at Lanksy's urging, very much on the business side of organised crime but he had, in his youth, been a feared assassin and enforcer once shooting his best friend at point blank range after being ordered to by his bosses. In reality Stassi was a trusted associate of Lansky's. It was to Stassi's house that Lanksy sent all the winnings that he could save as chaos overran Havana on the night of Dec31/Jan1 1959. It was Stassi who travelled to New York in 1957 to organise the assassination of Anastasia. Lansky, Trafficante and Stassi all stayed on in Cuba after Castro's victory, hoping that once the dust had settled they would be able to re-open their hotels and casinos and that everything would return to normal. They were wrong. Castro shut down or nationalised all the hotels and casinos. Trafficante and Stassi were arrested numerous times throughout 1959 by Castro's rebels who were, by the summer, summarily prosecuting and executing known allies of the Batista regime. By October 1959 all of them had fled Cuba, losing everything. 'I crapped out' said Lanksy of his Cuban adventure, probably not before amassing a vast fortune, which was never found after he died in 1983 in Florida at the age of 80. Stassi, flat broke after he fled Cuba resorted to drug trafficking and soon ended up in jail where he spent the remainder of his days living to the ripe old age of 95. Books The Havana Mob: How the Mob Owned Cuba ... and Then Lost it to the Revolution - T.J. English Cuba: A New History (Yale Nota Bene) - Richard Gott Havana: The Revolutionary Moment - Burt Glinn Posted by digitalmiles at 11:49 [2:18:56 PM] Julia Melcher: Cuba: The Measure of a Revolution by Lowry Nelson 1972 by the university of Minnesota Printed in the USA at North Central Publishing Co Published in Great Britain, India, and Pakistan by the Oxford University Press, London and Delhi, and in Canada by the Copp Clark Publishing Co. limited, Toronto It had become clear that he could no longer maintain either public order or his position as president. p 3 (on why he left Cuba on Jan 1) That which began in 1953 we will call the Rebellion, while that which began on January 1st, 1959, we will consider as the Revolution. This distinction is based on the fact that all revolutions begin in rebellion, but not all rebellions eventuate in revolution. p 3 Urruntia argued that the defendants were justified in their revolution against Batista. p 12 Cuba: The Measure of a Revolution by Lowry Nelson 1972 by the university of Minnesota

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Printed in the USA at North Central Publishing Co Published in Great Britain, India, and Pakistan by the Oxford University Press, London and Delhi, and in Canada by the Copp Clark Publishing Co. limited, Toronto At about 2 A.M. on January 1st, 1959, the president of the Republic of Cuba, Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar, together with his family and closest associates, boarded a plane at Camp Colombia and departed from the island. p 3 Cuba: Dilemmas of a Revolution by Juan M. del Aguila third edition published in 1994 in the USA by Westview Press, Inc in Boulder Colorado and in the UK printed and bound in the USA 1884, 1888m 1994 by Westview Press, Inc Domestic isolation, rebel military victories in eastern Cuba, and thee loss of support from the traditional hegemonist the United States convinced Batista that a final military push against the rebel claims..army, attempting to show that the regime had not lost its fighting capabilities, launched attacks summer of 1958. p 38 Finally, fully aware of the armys inept performance, unable to rally popular support..Batista fled at dawn on 1 January 1959. p 38 The breakdown of the authoritarian regime stemmed from its inherent illegitimacy, its refusal to accommodate the needs and demands of citizens, its failure to capitalize on a legacy of military populism dating back two decades and its unfounded belief that pressures for change could be contained through sporadic repression and military force. p 38 ..Batistas rule rested on a combination of satrapies, cliques, and internal army policies. p 39 The Early Fidel: Roots of Castros Communism by Lionel Martin first edition 1978 published by Lyle Stuart Inc. published simultaneously in Canada by George J. Limited, Toronto, Ont manufactured in USA The decree came as a result of strong public pressure and Batistas desire to improve his public image. p 158 About a month before Batista fled, Manuel Urrutia, the provincial president chosen by the Caracas Pact signatories, came into Sierra. Shortly before Christmas, only days before Batista fled, Urrutia met with some of the non-combatants of the llano and drew up recommendations for new government. p 229 During December it became clear that the collapse of the Batista army was imminent..In the cities, urban guerrilla actions were stepped up, bringing the physical presence of the war to millions of people. p 230 ..military men had decided to oust Batista and appoint a new civilian president. p 231 ----------------------------------------Fidel Castro by Herbert J. Matthews 1969 published by Simon and Schuster in NY,NY first paperback printing 1970 manufactured in USA The character of the Batista regime in Cuba made a violent popular reaction almost inevitable. The rapacity of the leadership, the corruption of the government, the brutality of the police, the regimes indifference to the needs of people for education, medical care, housing, for social justice, and economic opportunity.. p 51

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President Batista made one last and determined offensive to wipe out the Rebel Army starting on May 24, 1958. Considering the overwhelming superiority of his forces in men, arms of all kinds..Had Batista won, there would have been no talk of his armys morale and, of course, no Cuban Revolution. p 126 At 2 A.M., January 1st, 1959, he and those he wanted to save from certain death flew to the Dominican Republic, where they were by no mean welcome to the worst dictator of them all, Generalisimo Trujillo. Shortly before he left, Batista had made a last effort which American Ambassador Smith backed to turn over the armed forces to Major General Eulogio Cantillo, but noting could stop Fidel Castro. p 128 For Americans, without too much exaggeration, the history of Cuban began on January 1st, 1959. Batistianos had killed generally after torture to a horrifying extent for two or three years, but there had been no American protests. p 145

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