Batista seemed to feel assured of reelection. He dismissed the Auténticos as inconsequential while Grau roamed the island, calling for an end to Batista's regime and an end to administrative corruption as well as fulfillment of the promise of agrarian reform. Apparently Grau's message resonated with the islanders and Batista's handpicked successor, Carlos Saladrigas Zayas, lost the 1944 elections to Grau.
Batista was stupefied. He departed Cuba for self-imposed exile in America claiming that he no longer felt safe on the island. He would spend the next eight years luxuriating at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, and a home in Daytona Beach, Florida. He was well financed having emptied the coffers of the government in Havana prior to Grau's inauguration.