Abstract

This essay explores the radicalization of the Cuban medical class in the context of the economic and political crises of the late 1920s and early 1930s. Organized under the Cuban Medical Federation, physicians targeted Havana's Spanish-run hospital system for its low wages and unfair practices. During these years, an active campaign to overthrow the dictatorship of Gerardo Machado influenced a new generation of young doctors and medical students, who pushed the federation to link its class interests to the broader political and social problems of the Cuban people. I argue that the social forces unleashed with the 1933 fall of Machado transformed the medical class, leading to increased support for the radical reconfiguration of Cuban medical practice. After a painful medical strike, the failure of international mediation efforts, and increased government hostility to the federation, the Cuban medical class increasingly pushed for the radical expansion of the public medical sector.

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