Machado, Gerardo

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Machado, Gerardo

Gerardo Machado (gārär´ŧħō mächä´ŧħō), 1871–1939, president of Cuba (1925–33). A businessman turned presidential candidate in 1924, he channeled the resurgent nationalism of the era. His victory over Menocal in the 1924 election, was aided by President Zayas. Machado's campaign for national regeneration initially received wide support. He taxed American capital investments, constructed a 700–mi (1,127–km) central highway and promoted investments in tourism, industry and mining. Increasingly dictatorial, he amended the constitution to permit a six-year term, aiding his reelection. The Wall Street crash and economic crisis fueled growing opposition. Old guard opposition leaders led an abortive revolt in 1931. Student groups and secret societies of middle-class professionals, notably the ABC, subsequently rebelled. A leading figure was university professor, Ramón Grau San Martín. Machado retaliated with a bloody terrorist campaign. U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, concerned with the political instability in Cuba, sent an envoy Sumner Welles to resolve the crisis. Machado refused to resign, but a general strike which sparked an army rebellion soon forced him to flee. Carlos Manuel de Céspedes became provisional president. Machado died in exile in Miami Beach, Fla.

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