Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y Quesada

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Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y Quesada
Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y Quesada circa 1914.jpg
Céspedes y Quesada circa 1914 as ambassador to the United States
President of Cuba
In office
12 August 1933 – 5 September 1933
Vice President None
Preceded by Gerardo Machado
Succeeded by Ramón Grau
Personal details
Born (1871-08-12)August 12, 1871
New York City, New York, United States
Died March 28, 1939(1939-03-28) (aged 67)
Havana, Cuba
Nationality Cuba Cuban
Political party A.B.C. Revolutionary Society
Spouse(s) Laura Bertini y Alessandri
Children Carlos Manuel and Alba de Céspedes y Bertini

Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y Quesada (August 12, 1871, New York City, New York, United States – March 28, 1939, Vedado, Havana, Cuba) was a Cuban writer, politician, diplomat, and President of Cuba.


He was the son of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and Ana Maria de Quesada y Loinaz. He was also a distant cousin of Perucho Figueredo. In 1915, he married Laura Bertini y Alessandri, an Italian, first in Rome and then later again at City Hall in New York City by Mayor John Purroy Mitchel. They had one child together, the daughter Alba de Céspedes y Bertini.

He was educated first in New York City until 1885, when his mother took him and his twin sister to Germany. He later earned degrees in international law and diplomacy from the Instituto Stanislas in Paris, France.

In 1895, he returned to Cuba and from 1895 to 1898 he fought in the War of Independence, becoming a teniente coronel (lieutenant colonel) and the revolutionary post of governor of the Province of Santiago de Cuba.

Former Cuban embassy and residence of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y Quesada in Washington, D.C.

He later entered Cuban politics and from 1902 to 1908, was vice president of the Cuban House of Representatives. Then in 1909, he joined the Cuban diplomatic service and represented his country as minister to Italy, and to Argentina, and as a special envoy to Greece. In 1914, he was Cuban Ambassador to the United States.

He returned to Cuba in 1922, to become Foreign Minister under Gerardo Machado but resigned after a year. President Machado then named him Ambassador to Mexico but Céspedes delayed his departure for reasons of ill health.

Thereafter he was active in trying to overthrow Machado. In August 1933, Machado left Cuba and Céspedes was offered the position of president. He took office on August 12, 1933 on his sixty second birthday. On September 6, 1933, the sergeants' revolution took place and Fulgencio Batista demanded and received his resignation. He then returned to the foreign service and became the Cuban Ambassador to Spain. In 1935, he returned to Cuba and wrote several books including: Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, Las Banderas de Yara y de Bayamo, and Manuel de Quesada y Loynáz.

He received numerous honors and awards including the Grand Cross of the Order of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes of Cuba, the Grand Cross of Belgium, the Grand Cross of Italy, the Grand Cross of Peru, the Grand Cross of the Spanish Republic, the Grand Ribbon of the Order of the Liberator of Venezuela, Order of Merit (Chile), Commander of the National Order of the Legion of Honour of France, and of the Order of St. Lazaro and St. Maurice of Italy.

He died on March 28, 1939, in Vedado, Havana of a heart attack and is buried at Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón in Havana.


  • The Perucho Figueredo Page bio
  • Otero, Juan Joaquin (1954). Libro De Cuba, Una Enciclopedia Ilustrada Que Abarca Las Artes, Las Letras, Las Ciencias, La Economia, La Politica, La Historia, La Docencia, Y ElProgreso General De La Nacion Cubana - Edicion Conmemorative del Cincuentenario de la Republica de Cuba, 1902-1952.  (Spanish)
Political offices
Preceded by
Alberto Herrera y Franchi
President of Cuba
12 August 1933 – 5 September 1933
Succeeded by
Ramón Grau