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Alfredo Zayas

Alfredo Zayas was born in 1861.  He would become President of Cuba, the only non-military figure to do so during Cuba's early years.

Zayas was one of 27 members at the Constitutional Convention.  He voted with the majority in favor of adopting the Platt Amendment as part of the Constitution.

In the very early years of the Cuban Congress, Zayas was sent to jail for involvement in a scandal.  In 1905, Zayas ran as Vice-President alongside José Miguel Gómez.  They  dropped out of the race when the Moderates used violence to prevent them from winning.

The Liberals, with Zayas as a leader, began fighting back.  Tomás Estrada Palma, the President, asked the US for military support; he was denied it.  Palma later resigned and the Liberals controlled the majority of the government.

Soon Zayas and Gómez began to differ.  In August of 1908 their factions ran separately and lost seats to the Conservatives.  Realizing the split was hurting the party, Zayas and Gómez rejoined to run for the presidency.  They won by about 70,000 votes, beating Mario García Menocal.

In May of 1912, Zayas was elected as the presidential candidate of the Liberal party.  Many friends of Gómez sided with the Conservatives, and this cost Zayas the election.

In 1919, Zayas broke away from Gómez for the last time, forming the Popular party.  In 1920, Zayas won the election (though very fraudulently).

Zayas took large amounts of government money for himself and increased his power.  He gave his control to Gerardo Machado y Morales.  In return, the Popular party retained a large amount of power and many government jobs.

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