Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Advisor's Name

Dario V. Moreno

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Tatiana Kostadinova

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Eduardo A. Gamarra

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Matthew C. Mirow

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


semi-presidentialism, personalities, institutions, Cuba, presidency, executive branch, political culture, Latin American politics

Date of Defense



The ratification of Cuba’s Constitution of 1940 ushered hopes for democratic stability, most notably through the implementation of a semi-presidential system. Innovative for its time, semi-presidentialism sought to reduce the “perils of presidentialism” that plagued the early decades of the Cuban Republic. Yet, over the next two decades, the Cuban Republic declined and fell as it devolved into authoritarianism and totalitarianism.

This study analyzes the extent to which Cuba’s executive branch was institutionalized or personalized under the 1940 Constitution. Taking a close look at the presidential administrations of Fulgencio Batista Zaldívar (1940-1944, 1952-1954, and 1954-1959), Ramón Grau San Martín (1944-1948), Carlos Prío Socarrás (1948-1952), Andrés Domingo y Morales del Castillo (1954-1955), and Manuel Urrutia Lleó (1959), this study offers an overview of institutional concepts and political culture characteristics while exploring how these areas were manifested in decrees, ministerial appointments, newspaper and magazine headlines, political caricatures, and other features. This project concludes that the executive branch became more personalistic and less institutionalized during the period, significantly contributing to the Cuban Republic’s collapse.





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