Cuban intellectuals praised the Machado administration and dreamed of an end to the Permanent Treaty that allowed America to meddle in their affairs. Cubans organized a League Against The Platt Amendment, the provision of the Cuban Constitution that gave the United States a legal right to meddle. Machado himself grumbled publicly against the amendment.
Although Machado's foreign policy was anti-American and nationalistic in tone, it was pro-American in purpose. American diplomats and bankers trusted him more than any previous leader because Machado had financial interests in American-owned properties including Havana's public utilities. They realized that his nationalistic bombast was purely for public consumption.
Machado was the first to successfully crush his opposition and transform his presidency into a brutal dictatorship. He began by absorbing fringe political groups into his party thus forming an early version of a “Rainbow Coalition”. His enemies, the Nationalist Coalition, found itself cut off from all support. Machado then forbade the formation of new political parties, public assemblies, and criticism in the press. Crowder's election code was emasculated when the Cuban Congress extended the president's term in office to six years, thus setting him on the path to dictatorship.
Armed Machado thugs disrupted professional meetings of lawyers, doctors, engineers, and scientists until they elected pro-Machado leaders. Politicians, newspaper editors, and labor union leaders who attempted to defy the regime disappeared mysteriously. Cubans who escaped to America wrote of police visitations in the night, prison torturing, and official terrorizing.
The United States Senate reacted with far more alacrity than the State Department. The Foreign Relations Committee called for an immediate investigation of the Cuban government. But Machado answered their charges by improving only his treatment of American businessmen and their interests, and America sent a new ambassador to Cuba.
It is instructive to note that the rise of tyranny was preceded by an attack on the election process. It leads one to wonder if recent questionable activities in American elections and public loss of confidence in them could presage such trouble here. Why do so many American politicians recoil in horror at any suggestion of addressing these issues? Is it possible that we are not as "politically mature" as our forefathers?