UCL Institute of the Americas


UCL Institute of the Americas Caribbean Seminar Series: The presidency of Carlos Prío (1948-1952)

21 February 2024, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm


Online seminar discussing the democracy and revolution in the foreign policy of Cuban President Carlos Prío, 1948-1952 with Dr Nicolás Prados, Associate Lecturer in Latin American & Caribbean History, UCL Institute of the Americas

This event is free.

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All | UCL staff | UCL students


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Institute of Americas

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“Our Liberty is Your Liberty”: Democracy and Revolution in the Foreign Policy of Cuban President Carlos Prío, 1948-1952

The presidency of Carlos Prío (1948-1952) has been largely neglected in Cuban history. Some authors have inserted his tenure, though democratic, into a narrative where his term marks a rightwards shift in Cuban politics, away from the democratic liberalization of the early 1940s. Others have equated his anti-communism subservience to the interests of the United States government. Yet his administration played a leading role in supporting democracy in the region.

Prío was elected with a mandate to revitalise ‘the Cuban Revolution’ of 1933, understood at the time as a push for greater political freedom and economic equality. Interestingly, both Prío and his cabinet understood this mandate as extending beyond Cuban politics, shaping a foreign policy on the premise of endorsing ‘revolutionary democracy’ both at home and abroad. Cuba became a staunch defender of the Guatemalan, Costa Rican and Venezuelan revolutions, in a struggle to promote democracy and topple the dictatorships of Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. This article focuses on Prío’s regional tour of the Caribbean as president-elect, in 1948, to show to what extent he and his government understood the question of their time, not as a clash between Communism and Capitalism, but between democracy and dictatorship.

Dr Nicolás Prados | speaker profile



Image: Cuba 1935