Sugar Baron: Manuel Rionda and the Fortunes of Pre-Castro Cuba

Overview

 "Sugar Baron is a brilliant, highly original narrative of the fluctuating fortunes of Cuba and its sugar industry during the republican period."—Franklin W. Knight, Johns Hopkins University

"McAvoy's 'subject' is not simply Manuel Rionda as an individual, but the entire history of U.S.-Cuban relations from the Spanish-Cuban-American War to the Revolution of 1933. Believe it or not, such a story can be told from the vantage point of this one individual, and McAvoy has done it in exemplary fashion."—Cesar ...

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Overview

 "Sugar Baron is a brilliant, highly original narrative of the fluctuating fortunes of Cuba and its sugar industry during the republican period."—Franklin W. Knight, Johns Hopkins University

"McAvoy's 'subject' is not simply Manuel Rionda as an individual, but the entire history of U.S.-Cuban relations from the Spanish-Cuban-American War to the Revolution of 1933. Believe it or not, such a story can be told from the vantage point of this one individual, and McAvoy has done it in exemplary fashion."—Cesar Ayala, University of California, Los Angeles

Sugar Baron is the story of Manuel Rionda (1854-1943), who immigrated from Spain to Cuba as a boy of 16 to become a dominant operator in the international sugar trade and to stand at the crossroads of U.S.-Cuban economic relations. Through an examination of Rionda's career as founder of the Cuba Cane Sugar Corporation and of New York's major sugar brokerage firm, Muriel McAvoy gives us an in-depth history of Cuba's sugar industry and its economy during the first half of the 20th century.

McAvoy examines the dilemmas of development and the constraints of financial dependency, probing the inside story of how both Wall Street's and Cuba's political elite viewed the crucial economic problems facing the island and how they attempted to solve them. In great detail, she elucidates conflicts among the various economic sectors in both Cuba and the United States, providing unique and often corrective insights.

Stressing the significance of the Cuban elite in furthering and profiting from the development of Cuba as a sugar enclave, Sugar Baron shows that Rionda and the other hacendados did much to ensure that a single export would dominate their island's economy, enriching themselves in the process. Challenging the view that U.S. capitalism reduced Cuba's businessmen to helpless pawns, McAvoy provides a clearer view of the responsibility for events between the Spanish-American War and the triumph of Castro's revolution.
 
Muriel McAvoy is professor emerita at Fitchburg State College, Massachusetts.

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Editorial Reviews

Franklin W. Knight
Sugar Baron is a brilliant, highly original narrative of the fluctuating fortunes of Cuba and its sugar industry during the republican period.
Johns Hopkins University
Cesar Ayala
McAvoy's 'subject' is not simply Manuel Rionda as an individual, but the entire history of U.S.-Cuban relations from the Spanish-Cuban-American War to the Revolution of 1933. Believe it or not, such a story can be told from the vantage point of this one individual, and McAvoy has done it in exemplary fashion.
University of California, Los Angeles
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813026138
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 4/28/2003
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations and Maps vii
Acknowledgments ix
Merchant at the Crossroads 1
1. Business with Aliens 7
2. Head of the Mouse 30
3. Tarafa and the Genial Shark 57
4. Cuba Cane 81
5. A Fixed Price 104
6. Tail of the Lion 128
7. The Steel Gray Battleship 159
8. Visible Hands 182
9. Receivership and Reorganization 207
10. Empty Saddlebags 232
11. From the Wolf, a Pelt 259
The Roads Taken 282
Notes 299
Bibliography 319
Index 329
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