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The Revolution of 1933

Tortured by years of squalid conditions for all but an elite few, the people of Cuba overthrew the dictator Machado replaced him with a different government.

Machado had bribed the Cuban Congress into granting him a second presidential term, bypassing the electoral process.  The Cuban people resented Machado's disrespect for the democracy they had fought for, and so political opposition groups sprung up around the country.  Machado was generally very ruthless towards these groups, and did not hesitate in the use of violence to put them down.

Some of the worst years of the depression hit Cuba during Machado's second term.  The US rose its tariff on Cuban sugar, with devastating effects on the one-crop Cuban economy. 

However, Machado was on good terms with American business interests in Cuba.  Despite the repression and violence of Machado's regime, U.S. President Coolidge said the Cuban people were "free, independent, in peace, and enjoying the advantages of democracy."

Soon, strikes and hunger marches began to protest the widespread poverty.  American diplomat Sumner Welles suggested five concessions that Machado could make to pacify the Cuban people. Machado accepted some and refused others.

The ABC, an opposition group, announced via radio to Cuba that Machado had resigned.  They encouraged the people to take to the streets to show their dislike for Machado.  Many did, but the announcement was a ruse; Machado had not actually resgned.  Massive retaliations by the police ensued at Machado's orders.

Strikes continued against Machado.  The US turned against Machado, as did the most powerful members of the military.  He was forced to leave, taking bags of gold with him.

Replacing him was Carlos Miguel de Céspedes.  He was not highly popular in Cuba, but was friends with Welles.  However, opposition from others mounted, and Céspedes was eventually overthrown in the Sergeants' Revolution.

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