Carlos Prío Socarrás

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Carlos Prío Socarrás
Carlos Prio Socarras of Cuba.jpg
President of Cuba
In office
October 10, 1948 – March 10, 1952
Preceded by Ramón Grau
Succeeded by Fulgencio Batista
Personal details
Born (1903-07-14)July 14, 1903
Bahia Honda, Cuba
Died April 5, 1977(1977-04-05) (aged 73)
Miami, Florida, United States
Political party Cuban Revolutionary Party (Authentic)
Spouse(s) Gina Karel
María Antonieta Tarrero
Relations Celia Touzet
Children Rocio Guadalupe Prío-Karell
Maria Antonetta Prío-Tarrero
Maria Elena Prío-Tarrero
Carlos Prio-Touzet
Rodolfo Prio-Touzet
Carlos Miguel Prio
Alma mater Colegio de Belen
University of Havana
Profession Attorney

Carlos Prío Socarrás (July 14, 1903 – April 5, 1977) was the President of Cuba from 1948 until he was deposed by a military coup led by Fulgencio Batista on March 10, 1952, three months before new elections were to be held.[1] He was the first president of Cuba to be born in an independent Cuba and the last to gain his post through universal, contested elections.

Governance[edit]

In 1940 he was elected senator of Pinar del Río Province when fellow Partido Auténtico member [2] Ramón Grau became president. During the Grau administration he served turns as Minister of Public Works, Minister of Labor and Prime Minister. On July 1, 1948 he was elected president of Cuba as a member of the Partido Auténtico.[3] In 1948, Carlos Prio was assisted by Chief of the Armed Forces General Genobebo Pérez Dámera and Colonel José Luis Chinea Cardenas, who had previously been in charge of the Province of Santa Clara.

The eight years under Grau and Prío, were, according to Charles Ameringer,

[...] unique in Cuban history. They were a time of constitutional order and political freedom. They were not 'golden years' by any means, but in two elections (1944 and 1948), Cubans has the opportunity to express their desire for a rule of civil liberties, primacy of Cuban culture, and achievement of economic independence. If there were sharp contradictions in Cuban society under the Autenticos, the circumstances differed only in degree from the complexities and dynamics encountered in free societies everywhere (how often did Cubans compare Havana with Chicago?).[4]

Prío, called El presidente cordial ("The Cordial President"), was committed to a rule marked by civility, primarily in its respect for freedom of expression. Several public works projects and the establishment of a National Bank and Tribunal of Accounts count among his successes.

However, violence among political factions and reports of theft and self-enrichment in the government ranks marred Prío's term. The Prío administration increasingly came to be perceived by the public as ineffectual in the face of violence and corruption, much as the Grau administration before it.

With elections scheduled for the middle of 1952, rumors surfaced of a planned military coup by long-shot presidential contender Fulgencio Batista. Prío, seeing no constitutional basis to act, did not do so. The rumors proved to be true. On March 10, 1952, Batista and his collaborators seized military and police commands throughout the country and occupied major radio and TV stations. Batista assumed power when Prío, failing to mount a resistance, boarded a plane and went into exile.

According to Arthur M. Schlesinger, Prío later said of his presidency,

They say that I was a terrible president of Cuba. That may be true. But I was the best president Cuba ever had.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Carlos Prío's grave

He first married Gina Karel and they had one daughter, Rocio Guadalupe Prío-Socarrás-Karell. He then married María Dolores "Mary" Tarrero-Serrano (October 5, 1924 – September 23, 2010) on 17 June 1945 in the Chapel of the Presidential Palace, and they had two daughters, Maria Antonetta Prío-Tarrero (b. 14 June 1946 in Cuba and married to Cesar Odio, former City Manager of the City of Miami) and Maria Elena Prío-Tarrero (b. 30 March 1949 in Cuba, divorced from Alfredo Duran). He also had two "recognized" children with his former mistress, Celia Rosa Touzet (b. 18 July 1929): Carlos Prio-Touzet (b. 5 February 1955 in Havana) and Rodolfo Prio-Touzet (b. 12 June 1959). His oldest son, Carlos Prio-Touzet, is an architect of some prominence.

He spent his final years as a developer and businessman in Miami (also with business in construction in Puerto Rico). Prío allegedly committed suicide by gunshot in 1977 while being wanted for questioning by the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations. Prio died one week after George DeMorenschildt allegedly committed suicide while a HSCA investigator was on his way to DeMorenschildt's house to question him. He and his wife Mary are buried at Woodlawn Park Cemetery and Mausoleum (now Caballero Rivero Woodlawn North Park Cemetery and Mausoleum) in Miami, Florida.

Descendants[edit]

His Great-Nephew, Joseph Ryan Socarrás, is an alumnus of Dade Christian School in Miami Lakes, Florida. Other great-nephews residing in Miami include: Gustavo Socarras, Jesus Gustavo Socarras, Carlos Jr., Fabian Socarras, and Andrew Socarras.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Carlos Prio Socarras (1903–1977) – Find A Grave Memorial". Findagrave.com. Retrieved 2011-05-01. 
  2. ^ "A Cuban Solution to the Cuban Problem". Autentico.org. Retrieved 2011-05-01. 
  3. ^ "Datos Biograficos, Carlos Prio". Autentico.org. Retrieved 2011-05-01. 
  4. ^ Ameringer, Charles. The Cuban Democratic Experience: The Autentico Years, 1944–1952. Gainesville: University Press of Florida (2000) p. 189 ISBN 0-8130-2667-9
  5. ^ Schlesinger, Arthur M. A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House. New York: Houghton Mifflin (2002) p 216

Further reading[edit]

  • 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 El Progreso General De La Nación Cubana – Edicion Conmemorative del Cincuentenario de la Republica de Cuba, 1902–1952.  (Spanish)
  • Anuario Social de la Habana 1939, (Luz – Hilo S.A.)
  • Libro de Oro de la Sociedad Habanera, (Editorial Lex, 1950)
  • / Time magazine, February 24, 1947
  • / Time magazine, June 14, 1948
  • / Time magazine, April 18, 1977
  • Un Presidente Cordial:Carlos Prio Socarras, 1927–1964, by Mario Riera Hernandez, Ediciones Universal, Miami 1970.
  • "En Defensa Del Autenticismo" – Aracelio Azcuy Y Cruz, Julio 1950, La Habana, P. Fernandez Y Cia.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ramón Grau
President of Cuba
1948–1952
Succeeded by
Fulgencio Batista
Preceded by
Félix Lancís
Prime Minister of Cuba
13 October 1945 – 1 May 1947
Succeeded by
Raúl López del Castillo