Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar (January 16, 1901 - August 6, 1973) was the elected President of Cuba from 1940 to 1944, and dictator from 1952 to 1959, before being overthrown as a result of the Cuban Revolution. Batista initially rose to power as part of the 1933 "Revolt of the Sergeants" that overthrew the authoritarian rule of Gerardo Machado. Batista then appointed himself chief of the armed forces, with the rank of colonel, and effectively controlled the five-member Presidency. He maintained this control through a string of puppet presidents until 1940, when he was himself elected President of Cuba on a populist platform. He then instated the 1940 Constitution of Cuba, considered progressive for its time, and served until 1944. After finishing his term he lived in the United States, returning to Cuba to run for president in 1952. Facing certain electoral defeat, he led a military coup that preempted the election.
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