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[REF:  Focus, August 1952, Vol. 2, No. 8, pages 5-8]

Page 5

[To see a full size photo, right click and VIEW IMAGE]

[caption] ... Where rhumba is king – and Batista is boss.

When chesty Gen. Fulgencio Batista marched into Havana with tanks and armored cars last March 10, deposed President Carlos Prio sped off to Florida.  Cuba's honest citizens hoped that he carried with him

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all the graft and corruption that had made his regime the worst in Cuba's sinful political history.  Their hopes were in vain: This rich land of sugar cane and rhumba has jumped straight from Prio's frying pan into Batista's fire.

For, as one cynical Cuban-in-the-know put it "Sin and graft is official policy in Cuba–no matter who is in power."  The great fear is that Batista may add new, dangerous wrinkles to fabric of Cuban corruption.

Cynical Citizens of
Sugarland Are So Used
to Government Of, By,
That They May Never
See The New Menace
Until It's Too Late

[To see a full size photo, right click and VIEW IMAGE]

[caption] Batista and family: from fleshpots of Florida to fleshier pots of Havana.

Since taking office as "friendly dictator" Batista has put on a good clean-up show.  He has just recently announced the smashing of an international drug ring, which transported vast amounts of cocaine into the U.S. under the immunity of Cuba's diplomatic seal.  Said Batista, "Some of the highest officers of previous governments were known users of and traffickers in cocaine."  Batista even claimed to have found a store of cocaine in Prio's desk.  (Significantly, however, Batista hasn't laid a finger on Prio's 3 million-dollar

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estate -- thus returning courtesy which Prio extended to him when Batista was out of power – and in spite of fact that Prio built his showplace while his official earnings only totaled modest $25,000 a year!)

But Batista's lip service to reform couldn't conceal these grim facts: (1) Right after reassuming power, Batista handed control of the National lottery to the same lieutenant who had milked it dry in Batista's earlier regime; (2) Regulation of Customs – another rich source of graft – was given to the army, branch of government most notorious for boodling; (3) Government costs – so outrageously padded during Prio presidency – show no sign that Batista will put end to political profiteering, bribery, outright theft of public funds; (4) Batista's newly-formed, 700-member Consultative Council would appear to be a new and ingenious method of "taking care of the boys" at public expense; (5) Two former chiefs of big U.S. gambling syndicate, driven out of States by gambling tax, have just set up shop in Havana's Casino Nacional – making the fourth such establishment to be taken over by U.S. gambling kingpins (most ominous fact: these men apparently came to Cuba by official invitation).

[To see a full size photo, right click and VIEW IMAGE]

[caption] The national lottery: Man in the street takes chance on the big prize, but for Cuba's politicians, it's a sure thing.

Darkest prospect of all in Batista regime: the new Dictator has started reaction which may throw Cuba (vital bastion in Caribbean) into Communist hands.

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Cause of this concern: Severance of diplomatic relations with Batista by Soviet Union–coupled with Batista's head-on attack on Socialista Popular (Cuban Communist party).  If, as is rumored, Batista drives Socialista completely underground, Cuba is in for trouble that will make past seven years' corruption look like Sunday School picnic.  Headed by party President Juan Marinello, they may lure vast numbers of non-Communists to their side by pointing at Batista's dictatorial suppression of traditional Cuban freedoms.

[To see a full size photo, right click and VIEW IMAGE]

[caption] Communist May Day rioter being carried away: a bloody warning to Fulgencio Batista?

If Communist party can play upon this sort of popular resentment long enough, it may come to a boil, bring a revolution that will sweep Reds into power.

Focus warns Dictator Batista to reform before it's too late–to give his good people more democracy, less corruption and vice.  Otherwise, all his sins will come back to haunt him, and their color will be red – the red of communism and the red of blood.

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