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President Tomas Estrada Palma (Cuba) Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: July 9, 1835 in Bayamo, Spanish Cuba
Died: November 4, 1908 in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
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Tomás Estrada Palma (1835-1908), led Cuban forces in the first war for Cuban Independence (The Ten Years War), and was named President of the Republic in Arms in 1876. Captured by Spanish troops in 1877, Estrada Palma was released after the signing of a peace agreement (1878) which fell short of granting Cuba independence. He moved to New York, and, when Cuban resistance to Spanish rule resumed, worked in the U.S. to raise money, smuggle arms, and inflame U.S. opinion against Spain. With Cuba's formal independence, following the Spanish-American War (1898), Estrada Palma was elected President with broad support (1901). He secured the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the island, but at a high price: enactment of a low tariff and acceptance of a treaty recognizing the Platt Amendment. The notorious Platt Amendment, authored by U.S. Senator Orville Platt of Connecticut, stated: "...the Government of Cuba consents that the United States may exercise the right to intervene for the preservation of Cuban independence, the maintenance of government adequate for the protection of life, property and individual liberty." After Estrada Palma used controversial methods to assure his re-election in 1906, broad resistance to his rule developed. He invoked the Platt Amendment in a vain attempt to keep himself in power. President Teddy Roosevelt did sent U.S. Marines, but only to restore order after Estrada Palma's resignation (September 28). This was the first of four U.S. military interventions under the Platt Amendment, which was repealed by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1934. (The U.S. still retains its base at Guantanamo, acquired under another provision of the Platt Amendment.)

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