General Gerardo Machado always had an eye for the ladies and enjoyed partying at the swankiest nightclubs in Havana. For a time he even owned his own club, which was the place for his political hacks to be seen. Machado was frequently there in the company of some of the most enticing ladies in the country.
Through a combination of threats and bribery, he maintained control of the Army. In April of 1928 the Cuban Congress at the behest of Machado passed a law barring any presidential nominations by any party other than the Liberal, Conservative and Popular parties. Interestingly enough Machado declared himself the only legal candidate for those parties, and thus ran for a second term unopposed. Not only had he overspent money from the national treasury, but now he also alienated the Cuban public, who denounced him as an authoritarian nationalist and tyrant. Students, labor unions and intellectuals branded him an outright dictator. It was during this time that Marxist thinking was gaining strength throughout the world. The Communist philosophy was also becoming ever more popular among intellectuals, professors and students at the Universidad de La Havana. Realizing that he was now in danger of losing control, Machado made a power grab and declared Martial Law in Cuba. Intent on holding on to power, he became even more despotic than ever, creating a secret police known to the people as La Porra, meaning a big stick! As President, Machado became openly vindictive and did not hesitate to torture or even assassinate his foes in order to maintain tight sway over the Cuban population.
With the Great Depression of 1928, things only got worse. The economy, which was single-sided, was extremely dependent upon sugar. Poverty was widespread, and even necessities all but disappeared, leaving the Cuban people destitute and in misery.
Photo Caption: American President Coolidge seen with Cuban President Machado. (Pictures & Photos can be seen on Facebook!)
Award winning Captain Hank Bracker, Author and Master Mariner is the author of “The Exciting Story of Cuba” and “Suppressed I Rise.” Both books are available at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, BooksAMillion.com and many Independent Book Stores. He is presently working on his Seawater, series of books the first of which will be published and available soon. Stay tuned for additional information regarding the publishing date.