The United States and Cuba: Business and Diplomacy, 1917-1960

By Robert F. Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER EIGHT

American Business and
the Machado Era

I

The period from 1925 to mid-1933 was characterized by the presidency of a Cuban businessman, and the active support of this administration by American business interests. Gerardo Machado appropriated all the paraphernalia of Cuban nationalism, and applied it to a pro-American policy. Thus, Machado became the very embodiment of Cuban stability to American business interests until the economic depression of the early 1930's combined with Cuban resentment over Machado's repressive policies to make him a liability. But during the heyday ( 1925-1930) of the Machado era American businessmen willingly boosted the "business nationalism" of Machado. As William P. Field, of the American Chamber of Commerce of Cuba, described it: "If our commerical intervention is to continue we must identify ourselves with her [ Cuba's] purposes and make common cause with her in favor of her nationalistic program." 1 As long as stability and the protection of American investments was part of this program American interests could support Cuban nationalism.

American business groups interested in Cuba began to work with the forces of Cuban nationalism during the Zayas administration. This "official nationalism" was good for domestic consumption, and an aspiring presidential candidate, Gerardo Machado, proceeded to build a reputation as a foe of the Platt Amendment. 2 American businessmen knew Machado, and were not worried about his future policies. 3 Machado was con

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