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Cuba at the beginning of the 20th century


General Valeriano Weyler
General Valeriano Weyler

Although Cuban independence was granted by the Treaty of Paris (December 10, 1898), U.S. forces continued to occupy the country, and General John R. Brooke, who was designated the military governor on January 1, 1899, tried to exclude Cubans from government. He disbanded the Cuban army and conducted a census before being replaced by General Leonard Wood, who had previously governed the city of Santiago. Wood increased the role of Cubans in government and supervised elections that gave Cuba its first elected president, Tomás Estrada Palma.

U.S. forces modernized Havana, deepened its harbour, and built a number of schools, roads, and bridges. But they were primarily interested in importing U.S. economic, cultural, and educational systems to the island. In addition, the U.S.-supervised electoral system was effectively racist and eliminated Afro-Cubans from politics. The Platt Amendment (1901) gave the United States the right to oversee Cuba’s international commitments, economy, and internal affairs and to establish a naval station at Guantánamo Bay on the island’s southeastern coast. Most of its provisions were repealed in 1934, but the naval base remained. Britannica "Cuba" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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