Machado: An historical reinterpretation

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Jaime Suchlicki - Committee Chair


Gerardo Machado was elected president of Cuba in 1924 and resigned in the face of growing opposition in 1933. He is generally described as a "tyrant" or "dictator," and his student opponents are celebrated as Cuban patriots and heroes.There are three reasons why this view of Machado is resistant to change: (1) Machado lost. History is written by the victors. (2) Every political movement since 1933 define themselves as opponents of Machado---one of their "foundational fictions" is that they carry on the legacy of the generation of 1930. (3) There is a predisposition in the Literature toward economic interpretations of US/Latin American relations which encourages the identification of a "pro-American dictator" who represents the interests of capital against labor.This paper attempts to bypass those influences. Such attempts are rare because one is faced with the following cultural undercurrents: "Who would defend a 'dictator'?" "Who would challenge the righteousness of 'freedom loving students'?" and "who would challenge the struggle of oppressed Latin Americans against a pro-American tyrant?" For, to elevate Machado is to challenge the legitimacy of all subsequent Cuban history including that on both sides of the debate regarding Fidel Castro.This study hopes to add perspective by telling the "another" side of Machado's place in Cuban history.


History, Latin American; History, United States

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