April 28: When the Cuban Mob Met the Mafia: T.J. English’s “The Corporation,” Wiseguy Speaker Series
The Corporation was a Cuba-based criminal organization founded by Jose Miguel Battle. Known as El Padrino, or Godfather, Battle had been a Havana vice cop during the Batista era, but he found the numbers racket, or “bolita,” to be more financially satisfying. Battle eventually expanded his empire to the U.S. with bases in New York, New Jersey and Miami, and used unprecedented levels of violence to maintain and expand his influence.
The Cuban Mob’s power was based on a criminal culture embedded in the exiled South Florida refugee population. During Battle’s reign of nearly 40 years, his Corporation would amass billions of dollars, some of which went to help finance the U.S. anti-Castro movement. The goal of the refugees within the movement was to take down the Cuban government, kill Marxist dictator Fidel Castro, and take back their island nation.
Author T.J. English will discuss his latest book, The Corporation, in this Wiseguy Speaker Series event. His epic story of the Cuban-American Underworld centers on the rise and fall of Jose Miguel Battle – his alliances and conflicts, and the horrific levels of violence he employed in building his Corporation.
In this Wiseguy discussion, author English will cover topics including:
- How Battle established American underworld contacts within Havana in the 1950s that later helped him expand his criminal empire to the U.S.
- How the Bay of Pigs experience shaped a generation of Cuban exiles in the U.S. that became foundational for the Corporation.
- The simple yet unbelievably lucrative gambling racket called “bolita” that generated more money for the Mob than any other racket except narcotics.
- The Corporation’s partnership with the Mafia that helped it establish roots in the U.S., but ended in a gruesome greed war that took many innocent lives.
- How the Corporation intersected with the anti-Castro underground, forming ties with covert CIA-partnered organizations like Alpha 66 and Omega 7.
- The dominance of violent revenge and mayhem against underworld rivalries, and inside the organization, that became a signature feature of the Corporation.
Book signing to follow.
This event will be livestreamed and recorded.
Named “America’s top chronicler of organized crime” by The Christian Science Monitor, T.J. English is a journalist, and screenwriter for programs including NYPD Blue and Homicide. His book, Havana Nocturne, was a New York Times bestseller.