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Urrutia Lleó, Manuel (1901–1981)

Urrutia Lleó, Manuel (1901–1981)

Manuel Urrutia Lleó (b. 1901; d. 5 July 1981), Cuban lawyer and judge, appointed president after the Cuban Revolution of 1959 and dismissed six months later by Fidel Castro. Born in Las Villas province, Urrutia received a law degree in 1923 from the University of Havana and was appointed municipal judge of Oriente Province in 1928. He was later named the magistrate of the district of Santiago. Urrutia first gained national recognition in 1957, when he ruled for the dismissal of 100 youths charged with rebellion against the Batista dictatorship for their involvement in Castro's 1953 attack on the Moncada barracks. Castro's decision to appoint Urrutia as president was apparently based on the assumption that Urrutia would be a compromise candidate acceptable to both radicals and moderates who supported Batista's overthrow. Yet from his first days in office, Urrutia showed little ability in the art of politics practiced amid a volatile revolutionary movement. After attacking growing Communist influence within the government, Urrutia was forced to resign on 17 July 1959, and public sentiment against him was so great that he had to take refuge in the Venezuelan embassy. Urrutia later fled to the United States, where he became a university professor and organizer of an anti-Castro movement. He wrote Fidel Castro and Co., Inc: Communist Tyranny in Cuba (1964), his account of the revolution. Urrutia died in Queens, New York.

See alsoCastro Ruz, Fidel; Cuba: Cuba Since 1959.


Samuel Farber, Revolution and Reaction in Cuba, 1933–1960 (1976).

Luis A. Pérez, Jr., Cuba: Between Reform and Revolution (1988).

Ramón Eduardo Ruiz, Cuba: The Making of a Revolution (1970).

Additional Bibliography

Coltman, Leycester, and Julia Sweig. The Real Fidel Castro. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003.

Sweig, Julia. Inside the Cuban Revolution: Fidel Castro and the Urban Underground. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002.

                                    Michael Powelson

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