I. From Conqueror to Castro (1512-1959)
The Second Republic of Cuba 1940-1958
In 1940 Cubans drafted a second constitution, which included basic social services as citizen rights. The Platt Amendment had been renounced by the US government in 1934, and the Cuban Constitution of 1940 did not include it. During this period Havana became a cosmopolitan city, and Cuban popular music composers and performers like Dámaso Pérez Prado and Ernesto Lecuona became world-known. Cuban writers like José Lezama Lima, leader of the group of writers called Orígenes, emphasized the existence of a Cuban nationality. During this period, painters like Wifredo Lam developed a painting tradition that celebrated Cuba’s hybrid culture.
Unfortunately, in 1952, General Fulgencio Batista gave a coup d'etat and ended representative democracy in Cuba. On 26 July 1953 a group of young men attacked the army barracks in Santiago de Cuba. This attack was suppressed and their leader, Fidel Castro Ruz, was deported. But in December 1956 Fidel Castro was back in Cuba, and began an armed rebellion in the mountains of eastern Cuba.