The Cuban dictator deposed by Fidel Castro sought refuge in Ireland in 1959 according to documents discovered ahead of the 50th anniversary of the invasion of the Bay of Pigs.
A letter from the wife of General Fulgencio Batista to the then Irish President Sean T O’Kelly has been uncovered by Declan McKenna of the Cuba Support Group Ireland.
McKenna discovered the interesting letter in the Irish National Archives while searching for references to the Bay of Pigs invasion which happened 50 years ago this Sunday.
The Irish Times reports that fallen dictator General Fulgencio Batista and his family sought refuge in Ireland in March 1959, just four months after fleeing Cuba following Castro’s victory.
In the letter to President O’Kelly, the dictator’s wife Marta D de Batista expressed the hope that the general and his family could set up home in Ireland.
The letter was addressed from the Waldorf Hotel in New York and was delivered to O’Kelly on a visit to the American city.
“Knowing of your presence today in the city, and faced with the circumstance under which I live these days, it is that I take the liberty of addressing you in this informal way,” she wrote.
“It is my hope and that of my children, that my husband, the former president of Cuba, General Fulgencio Batista, would be granted permission to reside in your beautiful country, so that we can establish our home there and be all together again. If this were to be possible, we shall always be grateful for your excellency’s kindness.”
The file discovered by McKenna includes a note from the office of the President’s secretary, later stamped by the office of then Prime Minister Eamon de Valera.
The note read: “I send you the enclosed letter received by the president from Madam Marta D de Batista now residing at the Waldorf Astoria, New York, asking that her husband, the former president of Cuba, be granted permission to reside in Ireland. A simple acknowledgement has issued in the matter.”
No record was kept of any response from de Valera or O’Kelly to the request from Mrs Batista whom McKenna believes was of the opinion that the Irish President carried the same power as his US counterpart.
A Cuban delegation has arrived in Ireland for events to mark the 50th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion which began on April 17th, 1961.
The group, which is led by Bay of Pigs survivor Col Victor Dreke Cruz and veteran Cuban broadcaster Reinaldo Taladrid, will tour Ireland for a series of seminars.