Between 1920 and 1940, Cuba underwent a remarkable transition,
moving from oligarchic rule to a nominal constitutional democracy.
The events of this period are crucial to a full understanding of
the nation's political evolution, yet they are often glossed over
in accounts that focus more heavily on the revolution of 1959. With
this book, Robert Whitney accords much-needed attention to a
critical stage in Cuban history.
Closely examining the upheavals of the period, which included a
social revolution in 1933 and a military coup led by Fulgencio
Batista one year later, Whitney argues that the eventual rise of a
more democratic form of government came about primarily because of
the mass mobilization by the popular classes against oligarchic
capitalism, which was based on historically elite status rather
than on a modern sense of nation. Although from the 1920s to the
1940s politicians and political activists were bitterly divided
over what "popular" and "modern" state power meant, this new
generation of politicians shared the idea that a modern state
should produce a new and democratic Cuba.