Osvaldo Dorticos y Torrado, Presidente de Cuba

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Osvaldo Dorticos Torrado, Presidente de Cuba

Birthplace: Cienfuegos, Cienfuegos, Cienfuegos, Cuba
Death: June 23, 1983 (64)
Havana, Havana, Cuba (Suicide)
Immediate Family:

Son of Francisco Dorticos y Pichardo and María del Consuelo Torrado y Martínez de la Maza
Husband of Maria Caridad Molina y Suárez del Villar
Brother of Raúl Dorticós y Torrado

Managed by: Private User
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About Osvaldo Dorticos y Torrado, Presidente de Cuba

Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado (April 17, 1919 – June 23, 1983) was a Cuban politician who served as the President of Cuba from 1959 until 1976.


Dorticós was born to a wealthy family in Cienfuegos, Las Villas Province, on April 17, 1919. His father was both a lawyer and a physician, and one of his ancestors was Tomas Terry, a famous Venezuelan-born entrepreneur who amassed one of the largest fortunes in the Western Hemisphere ($25 million at the time of his death in 1886), who established the Thomas Terry Theatre in Cienfuegos. After working briefly as a teacher, Dorticós studied law and philosophy at the University of Havana, graduating with a law degree in 1941. He joined the Communist-controlled Popular Socialist Party, and acted for a time as secretary to Juan Marinello, the party's leader.

In the 1950s, Dorticós established a prosperous law practice in Cienfuegos, and served as Commodore of the Cienfuegos Yacht Club. He strongly opposed the government of Fulgencio Batista, and participated in the Civil Resistance Movement, supplying the rebel forces with arms and supplies. Dorticós was elected dean of the Cuban Bar Association in 1958 prior to being arrested by the Batista regime in the same year and being briefly exiled to Mexico. Roles in government

After the success of the Revolution on 1 January 1959, Dorticós returned to Cuba and was appointed Minister of Revolutionary Laws in the cabinet headed by Fidel Castro. In that capacity, he played an important role in drafting revolutionary legislation such as the Agrarian Reform Act and the Fundamental Organic Law that supplanted the Constitution of 1940. After the resignation of President Manuel Urrutia, Dorticós was appointed President of Cuba by the Council of Ministers on 17 July 1959.

As President, Dorticós represented Cuba at the Summit of Non-Aligned Nations in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (1961), and at the Summit of the Organisation of American States in Punta del Este, Uruguay (1962). During the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, Dorticós gave a speech at the United Nations in which he announced that Cuba possessed nuclear weapons, which it hoped would never be used. He was at the inauguration of Peronist President Héctor Cámpora on 25 May 1973, in Buenos Aires, along with Chilean President Salvador Allende.

In addition to acting as Cuba's President, Dorticós served as a member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (from 1965); and as president of the Central Planning Council (from 1964). Upon implementation of the Cuban Constitution of 1976, Fidel Castro became Cuba's Head of State in 1976, and Dorticós was displaced and named President of the National Bank and a member of the Council of State. He served in those capacities until his death by suicide on 23 June 1983. His suicide (by a self-inflicted gunshot wound) was apparently brought on by the death of his wife, as well as chronic spinal disease.

HAVANA TIMES — This year’s second issue of Verde Olivo (“Olive Green”) magazine, the official journal of Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces, ran an article commemorating Osvaldo Dorticos Torrado, the last president of the Republic of Cuba, the title for the nation’s highest authority used in the five constitutions Cubans ratified up to 1976, when the sixth constitution – the first openly declaring the country’s socialist system – was approved.

Dorticos, a brilliant attorney from Cuba’s province of Cienfuegos, set his signature to every law decreed by the revolutionary government for seventeen years, in adherence to the constitutional mandate of 1940, which was the highest legal authority in the country until it was abolished in 1976. No other president remained in office for as many years as he did.

He was not offered the country’s presidency solely because he was an exceptional jurist. Under Batista, he was detained on several occasions, particularly following the military uprising which took place on September 5 in his native city, where he served as the coordinator of the 26th of July clandestine movement. The honest legal expert lived in Mexico as an exile until January 1st, 1959, when Cuba’s bearded revolutionaries entered Havana triumphantly.

We know nothing of how Dortico’s conscience fared in the legal limbo Cuba fell into, and has yet to come out of, since the triumph of the revolution. During their struggle against Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship, the rebels led by Fidel Castro had demanded the reinstitution of Cuba’s Constitution of 1940, which had been trampled on by Batista’s military regime.

We should take note that, on February 7, 1959, Cuba’s first provisional president following the revolution, Manuel Urrutia Lleo, promulgated the Fundamental Law (Ley Fundamental), which reproduced the 1940 Constitution, but granted the new government extraordinary legislative faculties. The minister tasked with formulating the country’s new legislation, the man I am now writing about, would soon become Urrutia’s immediate successor.

Until 1976, Cuba was governed through decrees issued by the Council of Ministers, made up of something more than twenty people who served as the nation’s legislative body. The new socialist constitution created the positions of Chair of the Council of State and Chair of the Council of Ministers, both of which Fidel Castro, and his designated successor and brother Raul, held.

We know nothing of how Dortico’s conscience fared in the legal limbo Cuba fell into, and has yet to come out of, since the triumph of the revolution. During their struggle against Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship, the rebels led by Fidel Castro had demanded the reinstitution of Cuba’s Constitution of 1940, which had been trampled on by Batista’s military regime.

Experts on the subject tend to agree that our last constitution has evident limitations. Dorticos, a professional of such merit that he was elected Chair of the Cuban Lawyers’ Association in the 1950s (in spite of his communist leanings and involvement in anti-Batista activities), was one the people who had to deal with its shortcomings.

The document ratified by Cuban citizens in 1976 is short and worded in overly general, imprecise terms, leaving a wide margin for the kind of interpretations and improvisation typical of the revolutionary leadership. Most importantly, it fails to clearly define those laws which ought to beset the chief constitutional norms that guarantee the citizen’s inalienable rights.

After stepping down, Dorticos remained in office as one of the vice presidents of the Council of Ministers and later served as the top judicial official until June 23, 1983, when he took his own life with a firearm.

His life has become something of a black hole. There are rumors that he suffered unbearable physical pain, caused by an illness about which we do not have any precise information. He was a simple, home-loving man, very close to his wife, Maria de la Caridad Molina, who had passed away shortly before his suicide.

Turning the pages of Verde Olivo, I see a photograph of Dorticos, walking down a street, at the front and center of a demonstration, locking arms with Che Guevara and Raul Castro. There is another man, among them, whom I cannot identify. They are accompanied by Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, a brilliant mind, a minister of the revolutionary government, a communist from Cienfuegos, like Dorticos.

Surprisingly, there is no street, no park, no school, not one place that commemorates this man. The reason may just be one of those dirty secrets, those unquestionable instructions from above that continue in the shadows. The question remains: why has the last president of the Republic of Cuba been condemned to oblivion?

Death Notice:

Dorticós Osvaldo Torrado, President of Cuba from 1959 to 1975 and Minister of Justice in exercise , committed suicide on Thursday at noon , according to an official statement published in Havana in the early hours of yesterday . The note of the Central Committee of the Communist Party regrets the "dramatic" Dorticós decision , which had 64, of ending a "courageous and fruitful " life. Osvaldo Dorticós had long suffered a serious and painful disease of the spine and vertebal seems that the recent death of his wife, Maria Caridad Molina, plunged him into a deep depression. The Cuban leader killed himself shot when he was alone at home.

Dorticós , a lawyer , was the second president of the Cuban revolution , a position he assumed following the resignation of Daniel Urrutia. Served as president until 1975, when a reform of the Cuban institutions did Fidel Castro , then prime minister , president of both the Council of State and Council of Ministers. From that year retained his seat on the Central Committee of the party , and later, in 1981 , he was appointed Minister of Justice.

Osvaldo Dorticós was a gray figure in the shadow of revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, a revolutionary project which gave legal consistency. Modest and retiring man , enjoyed fame as a worker and was considered as one of the most capable and intelligent of the Cuban regime .

The late politician was born in 1919 in Cienfuegos , 330 kilometers from Havana . Young was linked to the Socialist People's Party ( orthodox Communist) Juan Marinello and then joined the 26th of July Movement led by Fidel Castro. Worked hard to install the system to revolutionize , acting as liaison between various guerrilla groups. He was arrested shortly before the fall of dictator Fulgencio Batista in January 1959 , and was able to flee to Mexico .

Castro returned to Cuba when he formed his first government , in which he participated as Minister of Justice. Its primary mission was to give legal form to the revolutionary decrees of Fidel Castro.

His funeral took place this morning

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Osvaldo Dorticos y Torrado, Presidente de Cuba's Timeline

April 17, 1919
Cienfuegos, Cienfuegos, Cienfuegos, Cuba
June 23, 1983
Age 64
Havana, Havana, Cuba