Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y Quesada (August 12 1871, New York City, New York, United States – March 28 1939, Vedado, Havana, Cuba) was a Cuban writer, politician, diplomat, and President of Cuba.
He was the son of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and Ana Maria de Quesada y Loinaz. He was also a distant cousin of Perucho Figueredo. In 1915, he married Laura Bertini y Alessandri, an Italian, first in Rome and then later again at City Hall in New York City by Mayor John Purroy Mitchel. They had two children, Carlos Manuel and Alba de Céspedes y Bertini.
He was educated first in New York City until 1885, when his mother took him and his twin sister to Germany. He later earned degrees in international law and diplomacy from the Instituto Stanislas in Paris, France.
In 1895, he returned to Cuba and from 1895 to 1898 he fought in the War of Independence, becoming a teniente coronel (lieutenant colonel) and the revolutionary post of governor of the Province of Santiago de Cuba.
Former Cuban embassy and residence of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y Quesada in Washington, D.C.
He later entered Cuban politics and from 1902 to 1908, was vice president of the Cuban House of Representatives. Then in 1909, he joined the Cuban diplomatic service and represented his country as minister to Italy, and to Argentina, and as a special envoy to Greece. In 1914, he was Cuban Ambassador to the United States.
He returned to Cuba in 1922, to become Foreign Minister under Gerardo Machado but resigned after a year. President Machado then named him Ambassador to Mexico but Céspedes delayed his departure for reasons of ill health.
Thereafter he was active in trying to overthrow Machado. In August 1933, Machado left Cuba and Céspedes was offered the position of president. He took office on August 12, 1933 on his sixty second birthday. On September 6, 1933, the sergeants’ revolution took place and Fulgencio Batista demanded and received his resignation. He then returned to the foreign service and became the Cuban Ambassador to Spain. In 1935, he returned to Cuba and wrote several books including: Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, Las Banderas de Yara y de Bayamo, and Manuel de Quesada y Loynáz.
He received numerous honors and awards including the Grand Cross of the Order of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes of Cuba, the Grand Cross of Belgium, the Grand Cross of Italy, the Grand Cross of Peru, the Grand Cross of the Spanish Republic, the Grand Ribbon of the Order of the Liberator of Venezuela, Order of Merit of Chile, Commander of the Order of the Legion of Honor of France, and of the Order of St. Lazaro and St. Maurice of Italy.
He died on March 28, 1939, in Vedado, Havana of a heart attack and is buried at Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón in Havana.