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One major transition of power experienced by Cuba was its change from being the "
Plattist Republic" to the government of Fulgencio Batista. The combination of civilian discontent and the international dynamic of the Great Depression significantly weakened the government of Machado (who was president during much of the plattist era of cuban history) which also supported the rebellious efforts of Batista and Ramon Grau. A weak and unrecognized government was established by Grau (1933) which was soon replaced when Batista forced his resignation in 1934.
The American government was a significant instrument of change in the rise of Batista. The ability of the Batista government to maintain power from 1934- 1944, and then from 1952 to 1958 was sustained by American financial aid and political support. The transition of power from Grau to Batista was welcomed by the socialist-fearing Americans and is a prime example of American involvement in forced transitions.
Regardless of the hypocrisy of an anti-interventionist revolutionary holding American support, the public supported Batista’s rise to power and in 1940, he was elected as president. In addition, a new constitution was adopted in that same year. At the end of his four year term as dictator, he was prevented from re-election due to this constitution. What resulted was that Grau regained presidency. The nature of this transition is remarkable, as it was the first nearly conflict free transition to power that Cuba saw in over two decades. Another peaceful transition occurred in the following election of 1948 with the presidency of Carlos Socarras.

However, this would not become a trend. As soon as the next election occurred (1952), Batista was ready to re-establish his control. When a popular magazine stated that he was least likely to win, he staged a bloodless coup before the elections could begin and the dictatorship was re-established. This threw the majority of the population into a downturn of poverty and unemployment regardless of Batista’s encouragement of light-industry and foreign investment which created rapid economic development. It is arguable that this downturn was caused by incompetent leadership which failed to adequately distribute the new found wealth of the 1950’s.

One author describes that “Batista, although retaining much of his personal charm for occasional visitors, had become procastinatory at a time when Cuba – a country much richer than it had been in the 1930’s- was a country more difficult to govern.”(Cuban Communism 7th ed, edited by Irving louis Horowitz)


References :


Horowitz, Irving Louis (ed.) Cuban Communism (7th rev. ed.; New Brunswick NJ, 1989).