Cuba 1938

By | December 16, 2021

Population (p. 63). – The 1931 census gave a population of 3,962,344 residents (34.7 per sq. Km.), Which an evaluation in January 1936 raises to 4,290,000. The absolute and relative population data of the 1931 census for the various provinces are as follows:

The population of the main cities was on the same date as follows: Havana 550,088 residents; Santiago 103,961; Camagüey 87,461; Matanzas 46,390; Cienfuegos 40,000; Cárdena 30,000; Sancti Spíritus 30,000; Santa Clara 26,740; Manzanillo 25,000.

Economic conditions (p. 61). – Sugar cane cultivation, unparalleled the most important on the island, occupied 575,000 ha in 1936-37. and gave 28,250,000 q. of product. It should be remembered that in order to face the serious crisis caused by the spread of sugar crops all over the world and the consequent fall in sugar prices, the Cuban government had restricted production; but as other countries (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic) continued to increase their production, the result was a loss of position of Cuban sugar on the US market. These restrictions have been lifted, but the current Cuban production is just over half of what it had in 1924-25, when it exceeded 50 million quintals. For Cuba business, please check

Tobacco is grown (1936) on 44,000 ha., Therefore it is in sharp decline compared to 1930, when it occupied 60,000 ha. Production went from 300,000 to 190,000 q. Coffee plantations are under development, which now occupy 50,000 ha. about and annually give about 300,000 q. of product. In the Isle of Pines, grapefruit cultivation has spread and is widely exported to the United States.

In 1934 the Cuban livestock patrimony was made up as follows: 568,000 horses, 64,000 mules, 4,515,000 cattle, 164,000 sheep, 54,000 goats, 952,000 pigs.

The production of iron ores was 228,000 tons in 1935, and that of manganese ores of 35,300 tons. In that year the railway network had a development of 14,080 km., Of which 8,000 in plantations.

Commerce (p. 62). – In 1932 there was the greatest depression in foreign trade (just 79.9 million dollars for exports and 51.0 for imports); the recovery was quite rapid, and in 1936 exports were worth $ 154.8 million, and imports were $ 103.2 million. The United States absorbs two thirds of the former and half of the latter.

Finance (p. 64). – We give below the figures of the balance sheets starting from 1929 (in millions of pesos).

At December 31, 1937, the external debt amounted to 123 million and the consolidated internal debt to 8 million; the floating internal debt at the end of 1936 was 90 million.

The gold base was suspended on November 21, 1933, and on May 23, 1934, following the devaluation of the dollar, the gold content of the peso was reduced by gr. 1.5046 to gr. 0,8886 of fine.

On February 18, 1936, the first tickets of the republic were issued, silver certificates guaranteed at par.

Bibl.: See the periodical publications of the League of Nations, especially the Yearbook.

History (p. 65).

An acute economic crisis and the unease of the people favored the nationalist revolt against the dictatorial regime of President Machado towards the end of the 1930s.

The political crisis was caused by the attitude taken by Machado in the elections of November 1st. Machado in the summer of 1929 had formally promised the nationalist party authorization to participate in the elections of 1930. The nationalists asked for an extension of the elections in order to reorganize their party. The congress, with the approval of the president, rejected the draft law authorizing the participation of the nationalist party in the elections, and so the promise of the president was not kept.

The political crisis began on 8 September with the proclamation of martial law in the city of Palma following the discovery of a revolutionary plot. Machado’s party had an absolute victory in the elections; but only 33 percent of the population took part, given the boycott organized by the opposition. The situation became more and more uncertain and on November 26 the Congress authorized the application of martial law to the whole island.

Between alternatives of apparent calm and riots, the revolution continued for a long time: Machado’s attempts to reach a compromise with the opposition failed, and thus led to an open revolt in August 1931. After a clash between the government troops and the revolutionaries – headed by ex-president Mario G. Mecoval – in the province of Havana, a state of siege was proclaimed throughout the island. The troops loyal to the government managed in a short time to quell the insurrection, which by the end of August was already suffocated.

Calm was restored, Machado renewed his proposals for a constitutional reform: among them was that of the withdrawal of Machado himself from political life in 1933. The proposals were not accepted and then the president put an end to the attempts of rapprochement, declaring that he would remain aloof. power until the expiry of the pre-established term.

Riots and riots continued like this throughout 1932; the situation got worse and worse; bands of illegals began to operate against government troops in the interior of the island. The United States intervened in May 1933, through their ambassador, seeking a formula of conciliation between the warring parties: but all attempts for a peaceful solution fell when the president refused to resign, as the opposition demanded.

On 4 August 1933 a general strike was declared and on 11 August the help of the army to the government ceased. The military garrison of Havana was occupied by some young officers led by Lieutenant Colonel Delgado. President Machado was forced to flee the island and take refuge in Montreal in Canada.

Dr. Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, who formed a cabinet by choosing elements of trust among Machado’s opponents. The cabinet did everything to restore order and discipline: but on 5 September the army rebelled again, under the leadership of Sergeant Batista, overthrowing the Cespedes cabinet and replacing it with a junta composed of five intellectuals, headed by the prof. Ramon Grau San Martín.

In turn, the junta, which did not find much favor with the majority of the people and could only rely on the army, gave up power on 10 September, leaving power to the Grau San Martín.

Popular unrest resumed again, with numerous incidents occurring across the island. Some officers together with 500 armed men barricaded themselves in the Albergo Nacional in Havana. On 2 October, after a bloody day, the rebels with the officers surrendered.

The government of Grau San Martín for its moderation did not have the help of either the communists or the radicals. The refusal of the United States to recognize it aggravated the political situation and economic chaos. Radical measures were taken as an extreme remedy, but they had no other effect than to discourage the few who remained loyal to Grau San Martín: the students themselves, who were the elements most in favor of the president, declared themselves against the government on January 6, 1934. His position thus becoming unsustainable, Grau San Martín resigned on January 15. Carlos Hevia was appointed president; but two days later he too had resigned, and power was assumed by General A. Mendieta.

While a new constitution was being promulgated, the Mendieta government issued a temporary law that replaced the 1901 constitution, canceled by Grau San Martín and then re-established on 12 June 1935.

Following numerous strikes, measures were taken that resulted in terrorist acts that lasted throughout the year. The riots and riots continued into 1935 causing many loss of life and serious damage.

A general strike during March 1935 was put down by government troops under the command of col. Batista. Mendieta resigned on 11 December 1935 and on 23 February 1936 Miguel Mariano Gómez, former mayor of Havana, was elected president, supported by liberals, nationalists and the Republican Action party.

On May 31, 1936, a new treaty was signed between the United States and Cuba, repealing the Platt Amendment. According to the Platt Amendment, the United States had the right to intervene in Cuban affairs; and they had already taken advantage of this right five times.

At the end of 1936 the decision to establish a sugar tax provoked a very lively reaction of the partisans of Colonel Batista against President Gómez, who was indicted before the Senate and, on December 24, dismissed. He was succeeded by Dr. Laredobru. On July 1, 1937, the government decided to give its full support to the state reorganization program of col. Batista, who in this way is practically invested with dictatorial powers.

Cuba 1938