Manuel Estrada, Glendora CA, Resident, Death – was the President of Guatemala from 1898 to 1920. A lawyer with no military background.
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he was a dictator who modernised the country’s industry and transportation infrastructure, but only via granting concessions to the American-owned United Fruit Company, whose influence on the government was deeply unpopular among the population. Estrada Cabrera used increasingly brutal methods to assert his authority, including armed strike-breaking, and he effectively controlled the general elections.
He retained power for 22 years through controlled elections in 1904, 1910, and 1916, and was eventually removed from office when the national assembly declared him mentally incompetent, and he was jailed for corruption. Estrada Cabrera was a lawyer.
He studied at the Universidad Nacional and thanks to his work he reached the position of “First Designated for the Presidency” when José María Reina Barrios was elected to his second term as president. He was also the Secretary of Interior for most of Reina Barrios regime. When the Reina Barrios cabinet members were announced in 1892, a newspaper article that accompanied the images said: “Manuel Estrada Cabrera, who is this gentleman?” By 1920, when Estrada Cabrera was finally deposed, the writer got his answer.
After the assassination of Reina Barrios on February 8, 1898, the Guatemalan cabinet called an emergency meeting to appoint a new successor, but declined to invite Estrada Cabrera to the meeting, even though he was the First Designated to the Presidency. There are two versions on how he was able to get the Presidency: (a) Estrada Cabrera entered “with pistol drawn” to assert his entitlement to the presidency  and (b) Estrada Cabrera showed up to the meeting and demanded to be given the presidency as he was the First Designated”.
The first Guatemalan head of state from civilian life in over 50 years, Estrada Cabrera overcame resistance to his regime by August 1898 and called for September elections, which he won handily. At that time, Estrada Cabrera was 44 years old; he was stocky, of medium height, and broad-shouldered. The mustache gave him a plebeian appearance.
Black and dark eyes, metallic sounding voice and was rather sullen and brooding. At the same time, he already showed his courage and character. This was demonstrated on the night of the death of Reina Barrios when he stood in front of the ministers meeting in the government palace to choose a successor, and said: “Gentlemen, let me please sign this decree.
As First Designated, you must hand me the Presidency”. His first decree was a general amnesty and the second was to reopen all the elementary schools closed by Reyna Barrios, both administrative and political measures aimed at winning over public opinion. Estrada Cabrera was almost unknown in the political circles of the capital and one could not foresee the features of his government or his intentions.