Ex-Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista’s daughter is now homeless in Florida, ABC News Local 10 has reported.
The 81-year old Carmela Batista lives in a Fort Lauderdale park with her daughter, Ana. The pair has been homeless for two years.
"I always said I have a perfect life. That's why being here, now, is like a shock," she told the outlet.
Eighty-three years ago, her mother, Marina Estevez, had a brief affair with the then-married Cuban leader.
When Carmela was born the following year in 1935, Fulgencio Batista had already staged a military coup, and was elected president for his first period in office when she turned five.
In 1952, Fulgencio Batista staged another coup and seized power again before finally being ousted six years later during the revolution, led by the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
Despite his brutal rule, Carmela Batista still defends her father's legacy.
"He was a strong man, but he was, like I said, a friend," she said, adding that although he had eight other children, he visited her regularly, and shared his fortunes. "He was like my best friend."
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Her father died suddenly in 1973, when he was living in exile in Portugal.
All of his children were given an equal share of his wealth, totaling well over a million dollars each.
Batista, since her father’s exile, had been living in Fort Lauderdale.
She had taken jobs as a piano teacher and medical secretary, and sent Ana to the most expensive private schools — back when she had no financial worries.
But soon, things took a turn.
"I lost my money with the stock market," Carmela said.
She also racked up US$17,000 in American Express visa charges that she couldn't pay back, which lead to a judgment against her.
When she took out a mortgage on her house and failed keep up the payments, her home underwent foreclosure proceedings.
Soon they couldn't afford to pay the water bill and a lien was sent from the city of Fort Lauderdale. Because of the foreclosure, the house was lost in a short sale, selling last year for US$830,000.
Carmela and Ana have now started a crowdfunding campaign on YouCaring.com in the hope of changing their situation.